In each of the past two seasons in the Division I state girls cross country meet, Reynoldsburg High School's Leah Wallace turned in the third-best finish among central Ohio competitors and earned all-state honors by placing in the top 25.
Physically, the junior believes she is up to the challenge of equaling those finishes in this year's state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
Whether Wallace does so, though, might be dictated by her psyche.
"Right now, it's just mental," she said. "It's going to be competitive. I know that physically, I'm ready. I just haven't been racing very well. I love National Trail and I just like the atmosphere. Right now, I need to focus."
In the regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North, Wallace finished eighth in 19 minutes, 7.19 seconds as the top 16 advanced to state.
Wallace was 13th at state as a freshman in 18:35.76 and 16th a year ago in 18:24.28. She won the regional championship in 18:44.9 last season.
In this year's regional, Gahanna junior Kelsey Sandlin was first in 18:47.77, but Wallace finished less than 11 seconds behind runner-up Heather Sandvik of Westerville North (18:56.22).
"My season races haven't been close to what I've wanted, but I've been doing (personal-best times) in my workouts," Wallace said. "It comes to a point where it's like, 'Yeah, you better run hard and just place.'"
Football team set for season finale
The football team will look to secure a .500 season when it plays host to Groveport on Friday, Nov. 1.
On Oct. 25, the Raiders beat Newark 43-13 as senior running back Zack Mehan rushed 29 times for 155 yards and three touchdowns and the defense caused four turnovers.
Reynoldsburg, which is 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division, will try to use a similar formula against a struggling Cruisers team.
"We've just got to work to make sure we have another great week of preparation," coach Buddy White said. "Our motto this year was 'Finish,' and I'm excited to see that they want to finish on a solid note."
Groveport is 1-8 overall and 1-5 in the league, with its only win coming Oct. 11 at Newark (52-35). The Cruisers lost to Pickerington Central 41-14 on Oct. 25.
Groveport trailed 21-0 at halftime against Central before Tyren Jackson scored on a 16-yard run and added a 7-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Austin Newman.
Volleyball coach excited for future
First-year girls volleyball coach Caitlin Harper believes her team should take steps forward next season.
The Raiders, who went 3-17 overall, snapped a 30-game OCC-Ohio losing streak when they beat Pickerington Central 18-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-25, 15-7 on Sept. 24.
Grove City won the league at 14-0, followed by Lancaster (12-2), Pickerington North (10-4), Gahanna (8-6), Newark (6-8), Central (3-11), Groveport (2-12) and the Raiders (1-13).
"That win (over Central) meant a lot to every Reynoldsburg athlete, parent, student and (the) staff," Harper said.
"If the girls put in the work during the offseason, I can see us having an even more successful season next year."
Reynoldsburg loses six seniors, including middle hitter Nia Coleman and outside hitters Kaylin Davison and Cierra Jackson. Davison was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district, and led the team in digs and kills. Jackson led in serving aces and Coleman was among the leading blockers.
Among the top returnees should be junior setter Alexa Jeffers, who was honorable mention all-league, and sophomore middle hitter Kennedy Hawkins, who was among the team leaders in blocks.
The Raiders were seeded 35th for the Division I district tournament and lost to seventh-seeded Lancaster 25-15, 25-6, 25-18 in the second round Oct. 17.
Boys soccer team to return young roster
After having 10 seniors, the boys soccer team is expecting to field a younger squad next year.
The Raiders lost to 34th-seeded Briggs 3-2 on Oct. 16 in the first round of the Division I district tournament to finish 6-8-3 overall.
Reynoldsburg, which was the 28th seed, finished fourth (4-3) in the OCC-Ohio behind Gahanna (7-0), Grove City (5-1-1) and Pickerington North (4-1-2) and ahead of Lancaster (3-4), Pickerington Central (1-4-2), Groveport (0-5-2) and Newark (0-6-1).
"I think the overall team chemistry, led by our senior class, has created a very positive culture for our players next year," first-year coach Thomie Timmons said.
"We will be young next year, but may surprise some people."
Seniors Isaac Kolevski (midfielder) and Antonio Nocevski (forward) were first-team all-league, senior Nahom Abayneh (defender) was special mention and senior Nah Doan (midfielder) was honorable mention.
Sophomore Kasey Law (forward) made second-team all-league. Juniors John Wallake (goalkeeper) and Andy Timmons (defender) and sophomore Viktor Boskovski (defender) also should return.
Girls soccer team losing 10 seniors
The girls soccer team also should have a younger look next season after it loses 10 seniors.
Seniors Katie Broehm (midfielder), Alex Thorn (forward/midfielder), Catherine Gundelfinger (goalkeeper) and Kelsey Johnson (defender) were among the key players.
The Raiders went 6-9-2 overall and placed fifth (3-3-1) in the OCC-Ohio behind Pickerington North (7-0), Pickerington Central (5-2), Grove City (5-2) and Gahanna (4-2-1) and ahead of Lancaster (2-5), Newark (1-6) and Groveport (0-7).
"It was a tougher schedule this year," first-year coach Tim Mathias said. "I was very proud of these young ladies. I was very impressed with what they did all year."
Reynoldsburg lost to ninth-seeded Thomas Worthington 4-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17.
Among those eligible to return are junior midfielders Emily Vogelgesang, C.J. Rock and Paige VanHorn, junior midfielder/forward Asmara Abraham, sophomore midfielder Ceri Goff, sophomore defender Asjah Soza, freshman midfielder Sam Buck and freshman defender Lacey Johnson.