Jim Pappas again raced with the Olentangy Liberty High School boys cross country team in the Division I state meet, but this time the senior had an idea of what to expect.
On Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway, Pappas placed 12th in 15 minutes, 41.44 seconds to earn all-state honors for the second consecutive season. He bettered his time from last season (15:43.93) by more than two seconds and finished two places higher.
The top 25 runners earned all-state honors.
"I thought the course was a little slower than last year, so I was surprised (at my time)," Pappas said. "There's a sharp turn at the beginning, but after that it's a pretty good course. I was ready for that turn this year."
Also competing for Liberty were junior Andrew Johnston (35th, 15:57.9), junior Chatham Anderson (98th, 16:38.05), senior Zach Van Gundy (114th, 16:45.7), junior Brad Wiemels (127th, 16:56.33), sophomore Cameron Lackey (131st, 17:00.96) and senior Jack Schoettmer (134th, 17:07.4).
The Patriots finished 14th (264) of 16 teams, behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (71). Last year, Liberty was seventh.
"We gave it all we had," coach Jared Mills said. "Andrew Johnston had a side cramp that he had trouble working through, but we made it here for the second year in a row, so the trajectory is up for the program."
At regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North, the Patriots placed third (108) behind champion Westerville North (79). Johnston (sixth, 16:06.74) led Liberty.
"(Going to state) was a good reward for the hard work these kids have put in this year," Mills said. "They really have grown both as a team and as individuals, and it was great to get back here (to state)."
Liberty was third (55) in the 18-team district 3 meet Oct. 20 at Watkins Memorial, behind champion Dublin Jerome (51).
Johnston (third, 16:16.35) and Pappas (eighth, 16:32.32) led the Patriots.
Liberty finished second (39) in the OCC-Central Division meet Oct. 13 at Hilliard Darby, behind Hilliard Davidson (28) and ahead of Coffman (86), Thomas Worthington (128), Upper Arlington (141), Marys-ville (142), Central Crossing (210) and Westland (226).
Johnston (second, 15:26.7), Pappas (third, 15:39.22) and Van Gundy (seventh, 16:00.63) were first-team all-league.
The girls team was represented at state by sophomore Claire Wiles, who finished 53rd (19:03.22) in her first state appearance.
Liberty finished eighth (218) of 16 teams at regional behind champion Davidson (50). Dublin Scioto (129) earned the fourth and final state berth.
Wiles (13th, 19:22.83) led the Patriots, followed by senior Kylie Spring (34th, 20:13.18), freshman Claire Linn (42nd, 20:23.39), senior Sarah Miller (74th, 21:05.9), senior Hannah Wishart (78th, 21:11.28), sophomore Autumn Lowder (79th, 21:13.93) and sophomore Mhairi Johnston (98th, 21:39.32).
The Patriots finished fifth (111) in the 15-team district 1 race to earn the final regional-qualifying position. Coffman (31) won the district title.
Wiles (fourth, 19:11.82) led the Patriots.
Liberty finished fourth (102) in the OCC-Central meet, behind Coffman (43), Davidson (51) and UA (51) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (107), Marysville (188) and Central Crossing (196).
Wiles led the Patriots, finishing seventh (18:33.55) to make first-team all-league.
Hartzell competes at state for Orange girls
The Orange girls team was represented at state by senior Hannah Hartzell, who finished 64th in 19:09.09.
At regional, she was ninth (19:15.51) as the Pioneers were 14th (308). Also competing were sophomore Alana Stillion (70th, 21:04.04), freshman Skylar Tucker (73rd, 21:05.44), senior Brooke Pulkrabek (76th, 21:08.22), freshman Madison Clarkson (111th, 22:18.05), sophomore Anna Dove (114th, 22:46.77) and freshman Hannah Dieker (117th, 23:00.77).
The Pioneers finished sixth (176) in the 10-team district 3 meet as the top six teams advanced.
Hartzell (third, 19:30.5) led the Pioneers at district.
Orange finished second (65) in the OCC-Capital meet Oct. 13 at Lancaster, behind New Albany (33) and ahead of Olentangy (82), Watkins Memorial (84), Big Walnut (127), Delaware (140) and Mount Vernon (155).
Hartzell won the race in 18:50.4 to earn first-team all-league honors.