Offseason training already is paying dividends for the Olentangy Liberty High School girls cross country team.

Offseason training already is paying dividends for the Olentangy Liberty High School girls cross country team.

The Patriots' top runner, sophomore Claire Wiles, finished fourth (19 minutes, 1.8 seconds) in the OHSAA Preseason Invitational on Aug. 18 at National Trail Raceway. Then she finished third (19:35) in the Panther race of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 25 at Pickerington North.

"We've been conditioning since July and the kids have had good summer mileage," said coach Kaitlin Raver, who is in her third season leading the program. "Claire Wiles ran a 19:01 at the preseason meet and she should be the 18s soon."

Liberty finished second (64) at Pickerington North behind Dublin Coffman (42). Senior Kylie Spring (11th, 21:04.4) was next for the Patriots followed by senior Sarah Miller (12th, 21:06.1), senior Hannah Wishart (23rd, 21:38.8), sophomore Autumn Lowder (24th, 21:39) and sophomore Mhairi Johnston (21:53.3).

"We're working on camaraderie and the girls are all challenging each other in practice," Raver said. "We're off to a great start. We have 76 girls out, which is our most ever, and everyone is excited."

In the Division I regional at Pickerington North last season, the Patriots finished fifth (179), missing the state meet by one place. State qualifiers were Hilliard Davidson (74), Coffman (82), Dublin Scioto (100) and Upper Arlington (130).

In the 15-team district 2 race at Watkins Memorial, the Patriots finished second (80) behind Scioto (29) and ahead of fellow regional-qualifiers Gahanna (102), Marietta (107) and Thomas Worthington (114).

The Patriots finished second (78) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet last season behind champion Scioto (34) and ahead of Westerville North (99), Dublin Jerome (100), Westerville Central (125), Marysville (127), Olentangy (160) and Westerville South (218).

Liberty and Marysville have moved to the OCC-Central to join Central Crossing, Coffman, Davidson, Thomas, UA and Westland.

Braves search for lineup

Olentangy finished fourth (110) of eight teams in the Mount Vernon Kiwanis Invitational on Aug. 25 behind champion UA (33). The Braves were led by freshman Kendall Supinger, who was eighth in 21:27.9.

Sophomore Sara Pocius finished 20th (22:53.3) followed by junior Makenzie Freeman (25th, 23:06.2), sophomore Claire Hardesty (30th, 23:23.3), sophomore Elena Smith (35th. 23:33.3), freshman Emma Cook (37th, 23:36.6) and sophomore Lauren Lapid (38th, 23:37.5).

Other top runners include seniors Aubrey Gore and Angela Guidarelli and sophomores Logan Augustine, Ally Fomich and Cameron Householder. Other letterwinners include seniors Blair Bishop, Amy Harmon and Emily Watson, juniors Erin Hughes, Abby King and Katy Rodriguez and sophomore Sarah Paull.

Newcomers include sophomores Eliza Elliott and Elisabeth Fulton and freshman Sarah Speck.

"We have 41 total girls, which is a new high since we split with Orange," said coach Dwight Dewese, who is in his 10th season leading the program. "The girls are young and willing to work hard. We're still trying to find out exactly who our top runners are going to be."

The Braves finished eighth (220) in the Division I, district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial last season. They did not have any runners advance to regional at Pickerington North.

Olentangy was seventh (160) in the OCC-Cardinal meet behind champion Scioto (34).

The Braves have moved to the OCC-Capital to compete against Big Walnut, Delaware, Franklin Heights, Mount Vernon, New Albany, Orange and Watkins Memorial.

"I'm looking forward to how this team plays out over the course of the season. I think we will be much improved over last year," Dewese said. "Our inexperience is a concern. The kids who did not have much experience at 5K have struggled to find the pace and how to run that distance."

Orange takes sixth at Pickerington North

Orange finished sixth (114) of seven teams in the Panther race of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 25 at Pickerington North.

Senior Hannah Hartzell won the race in 19:12 to lead the Pioneers. She was followed by junior Alana Stillion (17th, 21:23.5), sophomore Anna Dove (29th, 21:52.3), sophomore Madison Clarkson (31st, 21:56.8), freshman Hannah Dieker (69th, 23:52.3), junior Allison Priest (87th, 24:45.4) and sophomore Lydia Brooks (103rd, 25:08.2).

Ingrid Simpson is in her fifth season as coach.

Last year, Hartzell qualified as an individual for the Division I state meet and finished 33rd in 18:59.49.

Orange placed eighth (238) at regional behind state-qualifiers Davidson (74), Coffman (82), Scioto (100) and UA (130).

Orange finished second (84) in the district 1 meet behind champion Coffman (41) and ahead of fellow regional-qualifiers Watkins Memorial (95), Hilliard Darby (102) and Westerville North (109).

The Pioneers placed third (79) in the OCC-Capital meet behind champion New Albany (34) and Watkins Memorial (54) and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (84), Delaware (103), Big Walnut (172) and Mount Vernon (191).