Westerville News & Public Opinion

Girls Cross Country

North coach concerned about team's depth

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Westerville North High School girls cross country coach Johnny Jackson won't complain about his team having speed, as long as it's the right kind.

Three-time Division I state-qualifier Heather Sandvik again is expected to lead the Warriors, with twin sister Haley as the team's second runner, but Jackson's concern lies with the spots behind them.

"Right now, our third runner (senior Jocelyn Sharpe) is one of my top sprinters on the track team, so anytime you have someone in your top five who is a sprinter, you'll be a little bit in trouble," said Jackson, who is in his fifth season. "That should be solid distance runners. We already know that when we come to a meet, we'll not necessarily be a top team because a lot of them have a solid (group of) five (distance) runners. But we know that usually, we can get inside the top five or top 10 if it's a good, big meet."

That's exactly how North performed Aug. 23 in the season-opening Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North. Heather Sandvik was second in 19 minutes, 58.5 seconds, and the Warriors scored 148 points to finish fourth in the 21-team Bengal Division behind champion Upper Arlington (40).

Sandvik was even with UA's Ann Heuerman for the first two miles, but Heuerman won in 19:02.1.

Haley Sandvik was 17th in 21:19.4, followed by Sharpe (34th, 22:50.1), seniors Mary Swatzell (51st, 23:50.1), Anna Kocak (54th, 24:00) and Teresa Chatel (59th, 24:12.3), freshman Mackie Mantenieks (68th, 24:28.9) and junior Megan Mobley (72nd, 24:34.8).

According to Jackson, sophomore Claire Wetta also might join the top seven at some point.

"We need somebody to fill in the gap (between the second and third runners)," Jackson said. "Right now, I think we are a team that can qualify for regionals, but not necessarily for state. We just have to shore up some spots."

Heather and Haley Sandvik advanced to state as individuals last year, finishing 16th and 75th, respectively. They also were first and second, respectively, in the 2,000-meter steeplechase in the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics in July in Humble, Texas.

Haley Sandvik is a two-time state qualifier.

Jackson acknowledged Heather Sandvik, a Division I recruit, already is adjusting her routine in the hopes that she will run in college.

"I am trying to make sure (Heather) still has her legs for college," Jackson said. "I don't want her to be the greatest high school runner ever to come out of North then do nothing in college. The goal is to keep her around 35 miles a week so she has something left in the tank for college. College coaches don't want to see somebody who has done 100 miles or 70 miles a week because they're all beat up."

Frank among returnees for South

Seventh-year coach Jimmy Gaul will lean this season on two seniors, Lauren Frank and Amanda Gesouras, who are in their fourth years with the program.

Frank, who also plays soccer, and Gesouras were among the Wildcats' top runners last year with 2014 graduates Jenna Fudale, Victoria Husain, Taylor Moore and Caryn Snide. South also returns sophomore Kathryn Gaunt, who finished in the team's top seven a total of seven times as a freshman.

"Judging from time trials and tempo runs so far, it looks like aside from a few girls at the top, the top seven could be a fluid thing from week to week," Gaul said. "A few freshmen might even be in there, too. I don't want to put any pressure on them yet, but they have been impressive in workouts and I think they have the chance to fit into the varsity at some point.

"We gained seven freshmen to replace the seven seniors we lost, but the amount of experience dropped considerably."

According to Gaul, the rest of the varsity roster will consist of juniors Tori Dorne, Samantha Knight, Lauren Mickley and Anne Parker and sophomores Amy Berher, Kylie Blovits and Alyssa Fogle.

No South runners advanced to regional last year.

The Wildcats' season begins Saturday, Aug. 30, in the Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion.

"Our experienced runners ... probably are ready to run in mid-August, but I don't want to set up my kids to struggle at the start," Gaul said. "I wanted to get them a solid month of preseason practice before we get going."

Osuobeni expected to lead Warhawks

Central returns five of its top seven runners from last year, when it finished fourth in Division I, district 2 and 15th at regional.

Senior Tarike Osuobeni likely will be the Warhawks' top runner, but seventh-year coach Ryan Borland expects her to be pushed by juniors Macy Leach and Kelsie Potts, sophomore Chauntress Like and freshman McKenna Fry.

"(Fry) is looking good so far and figures to be a top-five runner this year," said Borland, whose team opened Aug. 23 by finishing fourth (81) in the eight-team Mount Vernon Kiwanis Invitational behind champion Gahanna (57). "I am excited about our team as (a) whole this year and what I think could be a tight pack once we get into the season. ... Expectations are certainly higher than this time last year."

Osuobeni, who has been in Central's top seven since her freshman year, was fifth in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet and sixth at district last year.

The Warhawks' losses to graduation were Dana Roberts, who was third at district last year, and Gracie Boden.

At Mount Vernon, Osuobeni was third (20:17.1), Like was fifth (20:37.4) and Fry was sixth (20:38.7), followed by junior Maria Wisman (38th, 22:26.5) and sophomores Logan Kocka (40th, 22:29.2), Tory Kuchan (44th, 22:40) and Kelli Wozniak (52nd, 22:54.6).

Schedules

CENTRAL

Aug. 23 -- Mount Vernon Kiwanis Invitational

Aug. 30 -- Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion

Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 13 -- Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park

Sept. 20 -- Otterbein Invitational

Sept. 27 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North

Oct. 2 -- 2-mile meet at home

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Darby

NORTH

Aug. 23 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North

Aug. 30 -- Westerville Classic at home

Sept. 6 -- Mason Invitational

Sept. 20 -- Bob Reall Classic at Lancaster

Sept. 27 -- Cincinnati St. Xavier Invitational

Oct. 4 -- Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Darby

SOUTH

Aug. 30 -- Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion

Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 13 -- Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park

Sept. 20 -- Otterbein Invitational

Sept. 27 -- Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club

Oct. 4 -- Johnstown Invitational at Infirmary Mound Park

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Darby

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