The Pickerington High School Central boys cross country team has been getting contributions from several runners as it continues on a quest to advance to the Division I regional meet for the third consecutive season.
On Sept. 21 in the varsity race of its Tiger Invitational, Central placed fourth (79) of nine teams in the varsity race behind champion Thomas Worthington (39) as its top five runners were separated by fewer than one minute.
Junior Sean Phillips led the Tigers by placing eighth in 17 minutes, 18.39 seconds.
Other key contributors are senior Terry Peppers, juniors Myles Harton and Jonathan Fee, sophomores Steven Bauers, Hunter Denton and Robert Hoagland and freshmen Jack Jaynes and Chris Siebert.
Central closes the regular season Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington. The Tigers then will play host to the OCC-Ohio Division meet on Oct. 12.
Last year, Central finished fifth (142) in the league meet behind champion Pickerington North (47), with Bauers (26th, 17:52.4) being their highest finisher.
North boys getting set for postseason
In preparation for the coming OCC-Ohio and postseason meets, North boys coach Tim Starkey recently rested his top runners.
The Panthers, who had a program-best 75 runners come out this season, did not compete in the varsity race of the Tiger Invitational on Sept. 21 but had 67 of the 147 competitors in the open race and finished first (32) of 10 teams. Sophomore Javier Pugh won the open race in 18:18.42.
North finished 21st (507) in its 31-team Panther Invitational on Sept. 28 behind champion Hilliard Davidson (43). Pugh was the Panthers' highest finisher, placing 39th (17:42.3) of 256 runners.
On Sept. 14, North placed 10th (316) in the 33-team Galion Invitational behind champion Davidson (94). The Panthers were led by junior Zach Zimmerman, who finished 13th (15:57.6), giving him one of the area's top times this fall.
Other key runners for North include seniors Brian Lanier, Nick Haghiri and Durkin Ross, juniors Ryan Kronk and Mitchell Curnutte and sophomore Kyle Howell.
Gase, Weed lead Central girls team
Seniors Stephanie Gase and Elizabeth Weed both have proven capable of being the front-runner for the Central girls.
In the large-school race of the Central Ohio Invitational on Sept. 14 at Three Creeks Metro Park, Weed placed 19th (19:54.87) and Gase finished 21st (20:01.22).
Then, in the varsity race of the Tiger Invitational, Gase and Weed placed sixth (20:19.67) and 11th (20:48.38), respectively, as Central placed third (86) of nine teams, behind Gahanna (27) and Thomas Worthington (61).
Other key contributors for Central include senior Morgan Richardson, junior Madison Cheyunski, sophomore Madison Scrape and freshmen Elizabeth Fee and Olivia Chapman.
The Tigers will be host to the OCC-Ohio meet Oct. 12. Central placed third (77) in the league meet last year behind Gahanna (40) and North (59).
Freshmen helping to lead North girls
Five of the top seven runners in the varsity race of the Tiger Invitational for the North girls team were freshmen.
Freshmen Abby Grube (28th, 21:51.1) and Sierra Waite (29th, 21:51.54) led the way for the Panthers, who finished sixth (171).
North finished 10th in its 31-team Panther Invitational on Sept. 28 behind champion Davidson (78). Waite paced the Panthers, finishing 42nd (21:08.1) of 259 runners.
Other key contributors for North include seniors Jordan Potts and Kelsey Waite, juniors Leah Blankenship and Rosa Rumora, sophomore Kat Lowe and freshmen Anna McSurley, Allysin Marsico and Julia Westall.