The Westerville North High School boys cross country team should be in contention for the Division I regional championship on Saturday at Pickerington North.

The Westerville North High School boys cross country team should be in contention for the Division I regional championship on Saturday at Pickerington North.

The Warriors captured their second consecutive district title for the first time in program history last Saturday at Watkins Memorial, scoring 52 points at the 18-team district 3 meet to finish well ahead of runner-up Pickerington North (118).

Brian Hannaford won the race in 15 minutes, 33 seconds. Jeff Hannaford finished second (15:38) and Jacob Dumford was seventh (16:20).

The Warriors' biggest challenger at regional likely will be Coffman, which was dominant in district 1, scoring 26 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Lancaster (77).

The top two teams in district 2 - New Albany (42) and Reynoldsburg (48) - also should challenge for the regional title. The top four teams and those individuals not on a qualifying team who finish in the top 16 advance to the state meet Nov. 6 at Scioto Downs.

North and Coffman competed against each other twice during the regular season, splitting those meetings.

Coffman placed second in the Panther Classic at Pickerington North on Aug. 28. The Warriors sat their top three runners in that meet and placed a distant ninth.

North scored 64 points to win the Bob Reall Invitational on Sept. 25 at Lancaster, with Coffman (81) placing second. In that meet, the Warriors sat No. 3 runner Jacob Dumford and Coffman's No. 2 runner, Grant Onken, was ill and ended up the Shamrocks' No. 7 runner.

While the Hannafords are favorites to finish 1-2 at regional, Coffman may have a stronger overall pack than North. Coffman's five scoring runners at district were all faster than North's No. 4 runner, Ryan Weldon, who finished in 16:43.

Based on the times at district, North coach Dave Weaner believes the Warriors and Shamrocks are virtually even.

"Everybody has to get it in their mind, 'If it's green, you run it down,'" Weaner said, referring to Coffman's school colors.

If the Hannafords do finish atop the podium, North's regional title chances could come down to runners like Weldon, who figures to be in a sea of runners at the end of the race.

"We understand Brian and Jeff have their work to do," Weldon said. "But it's just as important for us to run well. Every person we pass, the better we'll score. We understand that the last mile we have to pass as many people as we can."

Where North could have an edge is motivation. The Warriors never have won a regional team title, and just about every member of this year's team was part of last year's squad, which placed fifth at regional, one spot behind Coffman, which secured the final state-qualifying berth.

"We've all been there before and last year we fell short by one spot," Weldon said. "We have to get some revenge."

•The Central boys team finished seventh (195) at the district 3 meet, four points behind the sixth and final regional qualifier, Newark (191).

Junior Brandon Shirey placed third (16:06) to qualify for regional.

"It was hard," Shirey said. "I got third and I was going to regionals, but once I knew the team didn't do well, I couldn't really be happy."

Shirey is looking to become the first runner in program history to qualify for state.

"I'm going to give it my all and hope everything goes well," he said. "Since my freshman year, my goal has been to make it to the state meet."

•The only Westerville girls runner to advance to regional was North senior Meghan Maurer, who placed sixth (19:43) at the district 1 meet.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Central, North and South cross country teams:

CENTRAL

Last Saturday - Boys: Finished seventh (195) at the 18-team Division I district 3 meet at Watkins Memorial. Brandon Shirey placed third (16:06), followed by Craig Martin (36th, 17:13); Girls: Finished sixth (105) at 12-team district 1 meet, behind champion Dublin Coffman (26). Sara O'Brien placed 20th (20:36) and Natalie Pinney finished 22nd (20:42).

Saturday - Boys: Shirey at regional meet at Pickerington North

NORTH

Last Saturday - Boys: Finished first (52) at district 3 meet, ahead of runner-up Pickerington North (118). Brian Hannaford won the race in 15:33. Jeff Hannaford was second (15:38) and Jacob Dumford was seventh (16:20); Girls: Finished fifth (125) at district 1 meet, behind champion New Albany (34). Meghan Maurer finished sixth (19:43).

Saturday - Boys, girls: Regional meet at Pickerington North

SOUTH

Last Saturday - Boys: Finished 12th (304) at district 3 meet. Adam Kendrick finished 43rd (17:17), followed by Benson Jung (48th, 17:22); Girls: Finished 10th (288) at 12-team district 2 meet, behind champion Coffman (26). Lily Davenport finished 46th (21:47).