Pickerington Times-Sun

Girls Cross Country

Panthers seek to reap benefits of experience

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By the end of last season, the Pickerington High School North girls cross country team had five freshmen in its top seven as well as one sophomore and one junior among its key runners.

The experience they gained should prove valuable for the Panthers this fall.

North opened Aug. 23 at home by finishing eighth (200) in the 12-team Panther Race of the 24th annual Pickerington Classic behind champion Olentangy Liberty (52).

"We've got 48 girls this year," 12th-year coach Jim Langenderfer said. "Our senior class isn't a great big class, but their leadership is huge and our freshman and sophomore classes are large."

Sophomore Abby Grube was 25th in last year's Division I, district 1 meet in 20 minutes, 30.04 seconds to miss advancing to the regional by five spots.

The Panthers were seventh at district as the top five teams moved on. Also back after competing in that meet are sophomores Sierra Waite (30th, 20:47.85), Anna McSurley (35th, 21:10.29), Julia Westall (37th, 21:14.48) and Hannah Rickman (56th, 22:11.46).

Langenderfer said he has been impressed with the improvement of McSurley since the end of last season.

Also back after contributing last season are senior Leah Blankenship and junior Kat Lowe. Sophomore Allysin Marsico and freshmen Skylar Briggs and Maddy Radanof are others looking to become key runners.

Rounding out the senior class are Jayna Binkiewicz, Lauren Butler, Shelby Meyerrose, Rosa Rumora, Morgen Smith and Emma Southward.

"We're really working on just trying to run more as a pack this year," Langenderfer said. "I think we have about 12 girls who can make up that pack, and as long as five of them can be competitive, we'll do well."

Central building around Cheyunski

After losing his top two runners and three of his top five overall, third-year Central coach Hunter Nichols is relieved to have Madison Cheyunski back this fall.

Cheyunski moved to North Carolina during the past school year but has returned to Central for her senior season.

She was 21st (20:04.13) in the district 1 meet last fall as the Tigers placed fourth to advance to the 16-team regional, where Central was 12th (267) behind champion Gahanna (90) as the top four moved on to state.

Central was runner-up in the OCC-Ohio Division meet with 78 points, behind Gahanna (29) and ahead of Newark (91) and Pickerington North (95).

The Tigers opened Aug. 23 by finishing fifth (224) in the 21-team Bengal Race of the Pickerington Classic behind champion Upper Arlington (40).

"We know we're going to take our lumps because (of what) we graduated," Nichols said.

"Madison Cheyunski was able to move back and she had a pretty good summer."

Also back after competing in the postseason for the Tigers are juniors Madison Scrape and Rachael Sentivany and sophomore Elizabeth Fee.

Fee was 28th (20:39.33) at district and 84th (21:18.84) at regional to be Central's No. 4 runner in both meets.

Also looking to contribute are seniors Tamera Carter and Anastasiya Pilipchuk and sophomore Olivia Chapman.

Central's top two runners a year ago were 2014 graduates Stephanie Gase and Elizabeth Weed, who finished 24th (19:56.11) and 36th (20:10.68), respectively, at regional.

Another 2014 graduate, Morgan Richardson, also was a key runner.

The Tigers have yet to advance to state as a team or have an individual move on to state since the Pickerington district split for the 2003-04 school year.

"As always we want to get back to the regional, and we're 2-for-2 for that," Nichols said. "We've yet to get a runner to the state meet since the split and that's what Madison has down on her (list of goals)."

SCHEDULES

CENTRAL

Aug. 23 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North

Aug. 30 -- Asics Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson

Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 13 -- Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park

Sept. 20 -- Tiger Invitational at home

Sept. 27 -- Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club

Oct. 4 -- Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Ohio meet at TBA

NORTH

Aug. 23 -- Pickerington Classic at home

Aug. 30 -- Asics Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson

Sept. 6 -- Mason Invitational

Sept. 13 -- Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park

Sept. 20 -- Tiger Invitational at Pickerington Central

Sept. 27 -- Panther Invitational at home

Oct. 4 -- Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Ohio meet at TBA

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