Dorrian Jaffe of the Upper Arlington High School girls cross country team sprinted to the finish line in the Division I regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North as if her team's season depended on it.
Passing two competitors in the final 75 yards, the senior finished fourth of 118 runners in 19 minutes, 4.13 seconds to pace the Golden Bears, who scored 113 points to place second and secure a berth in the state meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at National Trail Raceway.
Hilliard Davidson won the district title with 50 points and Dublin Coffman (115) and Dublin Scioto (129) placed third and fourth, respectively, as the top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced to state.
Reynoldsburg's Leah Wallace won the regional title in 18:44.9, with Westerville North's Heather Sandvik (18:51.73) and Davidson's Lauren Hoover (19:03.38) rounding out the top three finishers.
"Dorrian ran a great race and beat quite a few girls she hadn't beaten before," coach Dale Hartney said, mentioning Lancaster's Sammi Zishka (fifth, 19:05.24), Olentangy Orange's Hannah Hartzell (ninth, 19:15.51) and Coffman's Rachel Bosworth (10th, 19:16.74). "Dorrian got out well and she had a great finish. The best part is we're all running next week."
Sophomore Megan Brewer was the next UA runner to cross the finish line at regional, placing 19th in 19:36.71. Also competing were freshman Ann Heuerman (21st, 19:39.04), junior Sarah Heuerman (39th, 20:19.34), sophomore Erin Simko (43rd, 20:23.41), junior Karla Jeggle (62nd, 20:52.03) and sophomore Kristen Seely (28th, 21:03.71).
UA will be making its second consecutive state appearance as a team. The Bears will attempt to improve on last year's performance, when they finished 11th (300) of 16 teams behind champion Brunswick (113) in their first state appearance as a team since 2008. That season they finished fourth (142) behind champion Rocky River Magnificat (68).
"Mason might be the best team in the state," Hartney said, mentioning the Comets' 44-point performance to win the Troy regional meet Oct. 27 well ahead of runner-up Centerville (94). "Troy's a fast course and (Mason's) times were pretty close. Our girls are very excited to have a chance to run (this) weekend."
The boys team scored 433 points at regional to finish last of 16 teams behind champion Westerville North (79). In addition to Westerville North, Davidson (88), Olentangy Liberty (108) and New Albany (114) qualified for state.
Senior Stewart Silver led the Bears, finishing 79th (17:37.11) of 125 runners, followed by freshman Ian Hamilton (88th, 17:41.74), senior Jacob Fowler (99th, 17:51.46), freshman Nick Gill (112th, 18:14.51), sophomore Chengxiu Wang (113th, 18:14.71) and seniors Hunter Bloecher (115th, 18:16.79) and William Hamburger (124th, 18:52.4).
Westerville North's Jacob Dumford won the regional title in 15:51.81 and Watkins Memorial's Mikey McKean (16:16.27) secured the 16th and final state-qualifying spot.
Senior Nathan Perry, who began the season as the Bears' top runner but was sidelined in September with an ankle injury, was unable to compete at regional.
Football team finishes on winning streak
The football team spoiled Coffman's attempt at an undefeated season, scoring touchdowns early in each half to upset the host Shamrocks 23-14 on Oct. 26 and finish the season with its third consecutive win.
UA finished 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Central Division. Coffman dropped to 9-1 overall and finished 6-1 in the league.
Running back Gus Ackley ran for 205 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries to lead the Bears, and Coffman committed six turnovers.
The Shamrocks fumbled the opening kickoff and two plays later Ackley scored on a 29-yard touchdown run, helping the Bears take a 17-7 lead into halftime. He also scored on an 80-yard run on the first play of the second half to extend UA's lead to 23-7.
"We kept the momentum going. That's the best thing we could have done," Ackley said. "Everybody thought we'd come in here at 5-4 and just give up against a 9-0 team, but we didn't think that. We went all out no matter what and this team played one of the best games we've played all season."
Quarterback Kyle Kaparos threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Alex Husted and Robbie Baskent kicked a 22-yard field goal to put UA ahead 17-0 midway through the second quarter. Nick Milo and Husted intercepted Coffman quarterback James Walsh, with Husted's coming on the final play of the game.
"They have a lot of different weapons, but we wanted to keep the play in front of us and not give up any big plays," coach Mike Golden said. "That was really the goal all week."
Despite its strong finish to the season, UA did not qualify for the Division I, Region 3 playoffs for the second year in a row and the sixth time in the last eight seasons. The Bears finished 14th in the region, as the top eight teams in each region made the playoffs.