The Pickerington High School Central girls cross country team was excited to make the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
It loses only two seniors who competed in either the league meet or postseason in Julia Filby and Danielle Trunzo.
In Hunter Nichols' first season as coach, the Tigers advanced to the Division I regional for the first time since 2002 -- the year before Pickerington's split into two schools.
"We were hoping to get into the top 10 (at regional) but some people had a rough day," Nichols said.
"It's just good that we got (to regional). Since the school split we haven't been here as a team. In 2002 they made it, so this is big time for us. We've got big ambition for the future."
In the OCC-Ohio Division meet Oct. 13 at Lancaster, the Tigers were third (77) behind Gahanna (40) and North (59) as junior Elizabeth Weed led with a fourth-place finish (19 minutes, 59.3 seconds) and sophomore Madison Cheyunski was ninth in 20:28.4.
Central placed fifth (135) in the district 2 meet Oct. 20 at Watkins Memorial behind champion Hilliard Davidson (35), as Weed was 13th (20:22.8) to lead the way.
The Tigers were 13th (305) at regional as Weed was 30th (20:09.26), followed by junior Stephanie Gase (49th, 20:33.66), Cheyunski (72nd, 21:04.83), Filby (89th, 21:28.75) and sophomore Jayla Doggette (93rd, 21:31.8).
Most of Central boys team should return
The only key runner the Central boys team will lose to graduation is Luke Forshey.
The Tigers placed fifth (142) in the league meet behind Pickerington North (47), Lancaster (52), Newark (53) and Gahanna (82) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (164) and Grove City (196).
Freshman Steven Bauers was the team's No. 1 runner much of the season. He led with a 26th-place finish (17:52.4) in the league meet, followed by sophomore Sean Phillips (27th, 17:53.1), juniors Maaz Shafi (30th, 17:57.2) and Terry Peppers (37th, 18:20), freshmen Robert Hoagland (41st, 18:27.9) and Hunter Denton (43rd, 18:44.1), junior Alex Forshey (44th, 18:54.2) and sophomore Evan Jaynes (46th, 18:58.4).
Central was fifth (152) in the district 1 meet behind champion Westerville North (45), as Bauers was 21st (17:49.23).
At regional, Central placed 15th (401) behind champion Westerville North (79). Bauers (71st, 17:31.34), Jaynes (85th, 17:40.62), Peppers (87th, 17:41.65), Shafi (105th, 18:06.46) and Hoagland (106th, 18:06.74) were the top five.
"Last year we were just happy to be (at regional as a team)," coach Andy Fischer said.
"We were hoping to go after St. Charles (at regional) or maybe a team like Gahanna that's been beating us all year."