Minutes after the Upper Arlington High School girls cross country team finished competing in the Division I state meet Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway, coach Dale Hartney noted the smiles on his runners' faces and attributed that partly to the fact that his top seven runners plan to return in 2013.
"The future is where we are right now," he said.
Hartney will get no argument from junior Dorrian Jaffe. Close to freshman Ann Heuerman for much of the race, she watched Heuerman pull away to lead the Golden Bears with a 45th-place finish in 18 minutes, 59.05 seconds.
Lebanon's Jacquelyn Crow won the state title in 17:39.31. The race consisted of 150 runners.
"I picked out three people I'd run with (in the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North) and they were helpful just to gauge myself, but they all got away from me," Jaffe said. "Then I found Ann and I tried to stick with her, but she was just on fire."
Jaffe finished 67th in 19:11.17 for UA, which scored 291 points to finish 13th of 16 teams behind champion Mason (42). Also competing were sophomore Megan Brewer (109th, 19:54.37), junior Sarah Heuerman (116th, 19:59.11), sophomore Erin Simko (120th, 20:05.04), junior Karla Jeggle (129th, 20:19.99) and sophomore Kristen Seely (141st, 20:48.11).
"In the beginning, the first mile, I was behind Dori," Ann Heuerman said. "When we were in a little crowd there, I was running with her side-by-side. Then I started to pull away a little bit. I thought she was close. I kept on pushing myself. I just gave it all I had."
Before the meet, Hartney told his runners not to be concerned about where they would finish during the race.
"It's huge, the whole thing. There's no way you know where you are during the race," he said. "I told them (not to) let your position make you think you're not running well. They responded well. This course is really fast."
The Bears won their first three meets of the season and seven of eight meets during the regular season. In addition, they scored 51 points in the OCC-Central Division meet Oct. 13 at Hilliard Darby to tie Hilliard Davidson for second, behind Dublin Coffman (43) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (102), Thomas Worthington (107), Marysville (188) and Central Crossing (196). Westland did not have a team score.
UA then won the 10-team Division I, district 3 meet Oct. 20 at Watkins Memorial to clinch a regional berth. Led by Ann Heuerman's sixth-place finish (19:39.43), the Bears scored 49 points to finish ahead of runner-up Dublin Scioto (61).
Jaffe finished fourth (19:04.13) of 118 runners in the regional meet to lead UA, which scored 113 points to place second of 16 teams behind Davidson (50), as the top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced to state.
Reynoldsburg's Leah Wallace won the regional title in 18:44.9.
The Bears' results at district and regional and the expected return of their top seven runners helped them temper any disappointment they felt as they left National Trail Raceway.
"When we don't accomplish our goals, it is a disappointment," Jaffe said. "But in the end, just being here and being one of the top 16 teams in Ohio is just an honor."
Boys team losing five of top eight runners
The boys team's season ended in the Division I regional meet.
Senior Stewart Silver led the Bears, finishing 79th (17:37.11) of 125 runners. Also competing were 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.
UA scored 433 points in the 16-team regional to finish last, behind champion Westerville North (79). Also qualifying for state were Davidson (88), Liberty (108) and New Albany (114).
Senior Nathan Perry, who began the season as the Bears' top runner, suffered an ankle injury in September and wasn't able to compete in the postseason.
UA finished fifth (141) in the OCC-Central meet, behind Davidson (28), Liberty (39), Coffman (86) and Thomas (128) and ahead of Marysville (142), Central Crossing (210) and Westland (226).
In the 18-team district 3 meet, the Bears earned the final regional berth by finishing sixth (183) behind champion Dublin Jerome (51).
UA loses five seniors, including four who competed in the postseason in Bloecher, Fowler, Hamburger and Silver.