While the Reynoldsburg High School boys and girls cross country teams both have one runner looking for strong finishes in the league and postseason, the remaining athletes in the program have been focusing on improvement.
On Sept. 15 in the eight-team Hornet Invitational at Licking Heights, the boys were third (96) behind Fairfield Union (36) and Centerburg (53) in the two-mile race.
Senior Dominik Seitzer trained separately rather than running in the event, but it was the first meet for junior Donovan Kitchen, who responded by placing 10th in 11 minutes, 42.03 seconds.
Kitchen ran for Reynoldsburg's junior high team but attended Licking Heights as a freshman. He transferred to Reynoldsburg a year ago and joined the cross country program in early September.
"We got third as a (boys) team at Licking Heights, so that was pretty good for us," first-year coach Keith O'Neal said. "Some teams will take a Saturday off, but we wanted to concentrate on our second mile so that was good for that."
On Sept. 8 in the McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial, Seitzer was fifth in 16:51.74 followed by sophomores Christian Snyder (134th, 19:42.03) and Blake Campbell (156th, 20:43.38), senior Brian Albrecht (161st, 20:57.11), sophomores Mike Crider (163rd, 21:04.94) and James Welday (165th, 21:20.84) and junior Jimmie Harris (173rd, 24:12.95).
For the girls team, sophomore Leah Wallace also trained rather than compete at Licking Heights.
She began the season by placing second (18:51.04) behind Cincinnati Sycamore's Samantha Siler (18:33.72) in the Section A race of the OHSAA Preseason Invitational on Aug. 18 at National Trail Raceway. Wallace then won the New Albany Classic on Aug. 22 in 18:56 and was first in the Division I race of the McGowan Invitational in 19:12.36.
The Raiders' other competitors in the McGowan Invitational were seniors Kyrsty Rider (120th, 24:37.6) and Logan Baker (121st, 24:49.08), sophomore Mallory Bruggeman (140th, 26:25.94), senior Ellie Barclay (141st, 26:31.08), sophomore Kaily Lesline (144th, 26:49.45) and junior Kaitlyn Hill (145th, 27:14.37).
While Reynoldsburg will send most of its runners to the Panther Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Pickerington North, Seitzer and Wallace will compete in the Midwest Meet of Champions at Hilliard Bradley.
"Things have been going pretty well," O'Neal said."