Keeping busy this past summer has made all the difference this fall for senior Gabby Bobadilla of the Pickerington High School North girls cross country team.

Keeping busy this past summer has made all the difference this fall for senior Gabby Bobadilla of the Pickerington High School North girls cross country team.

Believing she might not be competing for the team last fall, she did little in the area of training and ended up not cracking the Panthers' top seven.

North has been without junior Kristen Eisenhauer this season except for one race, but Bobadilla's performance has provided a boost to a lineup that also is led by seniors Meg Moledor and Alexa Strejeck, junior Fayth Greegor and sophomore Jordan Potts.

"Before my junior year, my dad had a job in California and we were planning to move there, but he ended up moving back," Bobadilla said. "Last summer I didn't run at all, so I wasn't that great.

"This year I worked really hard because I wanted to do well my senior year. I just tried to do a distance run five days a week and I ended up running 140 miles. At the beginning of the season, it helped me a lot because I was already in shape."

Bobadilla's personal-best entering this season came when she ran 21 minutes, 10 seconds as a freshman.

Moledor has been the Panthers' No. 1 runner all season, with her best run coming Sept. 17 in the Alliance Running Invitational at Clayton Northmont when she ran 20:21.

Also in that meet, Bobadilla surpassed her previous personal-best by running 21:07.

In the Tiger Race of the Tiger Invitational at Pickerington Central on Sept. 24, Moledor ran 21:10.77 to finish 10th, followed by Bobadilla (14th, 21:42.5), Strejeck (17th, 22:07.06), Greegor (18th, 22:08.12) and Potts (19th, 22:10.51).

Eisenhauer, according to coach Jim Langenderfer, could return to complement the group by the postseason. Others who have contributed include sophomore Emily Lisa and freshman Rosa Rumora.

"We've had a lot of (personal-bests) the last two weeks," Langenderfer said. "I saw (Bobadilla) over the summer and she told me she tried to run almost every day. She's been a surprise. I didn't see it coming, but she's really worked hard. A lot of seniors see this as their last time and end up working harder."

•The Central boys team has been getting standout performances from seniors Michael Gase, Brennan McCotter and Mason Prater, according to coach Andy Fischer.

McCotter ran 16:23.71 on Sept. 17 in the large-school race of the Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park to finish ninth and crack the program's top 20 overall.

"It's an achievement to know that I ran that," McCotter said. "I think we have the makings of a great team."

McCotter was sixth (17:12.91) in the Tiger Race of the Tiger Invitational, followed by Gase (15th, 17:49.18) and Prater (18th, 17:59.92).

Luke Forshey has been the team's No. 4 runner most of the season, while Alex Forshey, Kyle Gambert, Evan Jaynes, Maaz Shafi and Jonathan Taranto also have contributed.

"We're doing all right," Fischer said. "Our (junior varsity) guys are pushing the lower end of the varsity. Our conference is really tough this year, and at this point I'm more concerned to get guys on to the regional and get there as a team."

•The North boys team has been building depth throughout the season.

In the Central Ohio Invitational large-school race, junior Brent Pritchard took sixth (16:16.27), followed by freshman Zach Zimmerman (11th, 16:38.24), junior Sean Saffle (14th, 16:41.49), senior Austin Kilgore (17th, 16:45.52), junior Adam Honaker (22nd, 17:02.37) and senior Jay Huffman (31st, 17:19.02).

Senior Paul Hintz, juniors John Huff and Nick Newman, sophomore Nick Haghiri and Brian Lanier and freshman Ryan Kronk all ran faster than 17:30 in the open race of the Central Ohio Invitational.

"We're running pretty well right now," coach Tim Starkey said. "Our top five guys are all running under 17 minutes, and on the j.v. we just have a lot of depth. Maybe for the first time on j.v. we have a kid run under 17 minutes and still be on j.v.

"For us with the regular season, we want to finish with strong racing performances and if we run (personal-bests), it's OK. We've got to play the numbers game and look for position the whole time during the postseason."

•Things are beginning to come together for the Central girls team.

Freshman Madison Cheyunski took sixth (20:19.03) in the Tiger Race of the Tiger Invitational, and sophomores Elizabeth Weed (13th, 21:41.71) and Stephanie Gase (27th, 22:44.23) also broke 23 minutes.

In the Central Ohio Invitational large-school race, Weed was 15th (20:00.21), Cheyunski took 19th (20:25.4) and sophomore Morgan Richardson placed 30th (21:28.3).

Senior Emily Sharrett, junior Danielle Trunzo, sophomore Aisha Sharif and freshman Cheyenne Bowman also have contributed.

•RUN FOR BROCK - After four high school and four junior high races were held during the Tiger Invitational, "Run and Rock for Brock" was held to raise support for the family of Brock Ritter.

A 16-year-old junior at Central who had been a runner for the Central boys team the last two seasons, Ritter was injured Aug. 16 during a swimming accident. He crushed a vertebrae and endured ligament and spinal cord damage.

The event included a two-mile run with a registration fee of $10, and T-shirts also were sold for $10 to commemorate the event.

According to Fischer, more than $3600 was raised.

Later in the evening, 30 percent of all sales from Rock Factory Art & Music Studios' showcase of local musical talent at Senor Patron's benefitted the Ritter family.

Additional information regarding donating to help the Ritter family can be obtained by emailing Jan Gase at jangase1@aol.com.