Thomas Worthington High School girls cross country coach Andy Cox wasn't sure how his team would fare while competing in the Division I state meet for the first time since 2006, considering the Cardinals had trained to peak at regional the previous weekend.
On Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway, Thomas ended up 13th (292 points) of 16 teams behind champion Mason (76).
"We tried to peak for the regional meet because our goal was simply to make it here (to state)," Cox said. "But I was hoping we could hang on and run as well as we did at regional at one more meet, and I think we ran pretty well to beat one of the teams from our district in Upper Arlington (15th, 334) who had beat us at regional."
Competing for the Cardinals were freshman Christina Nash (53rd, 19 minutes, 27.05 seconds), senior Ariel Rittenhouse (92nd, 19:57.17), junior Laura Hill (105th, 20:09.5), sophomore Annie Steele (114th, 20:17.45), junior Holly Payne (119th, 20:18.49), freshman Hannah Moulton (120th, 20:18.75) and senior Ashley Forte (150th, 21:19.9).
"I thought our kids ran extremely well, especially Christina," Cox said. "Ariel broke 20 minutes again and I'm proud of her because she's come so far since she had a stress fracture in her hip as a sophomore."
The Cardinals advanced to state by earning the fourth (143) and final qualifying spot from the 16-team regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North behind Gahanna (90), UA (104) and Hilliard Davidson (118).
"The regional meet was a real highlight because our top five runners were only 27 seconds apart, and it was nice to have a breakthrough there to make it back to state for the first time in seven years," Cox said.
Thomas finished second (61) in the 11-team district 1 meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial behind champion Davidson (48). The Cardinals also were runners-up in the OCC-Central Division meet Oct. 12 at Hilliard Darby, as Nash finished fifth in 18:44.65. Thomas (51) placed behind UA (39) and ahead of Davidson (59), Olentangy Liberty (88), Dublin Coffman (119), Westland (203), Marysville (210) and Central Crossing (228).
"At the league meet, Christina ran a time that ranks in our top 10 all-time list here at Thomas Worthington," Cox said. "We're losing four good seniors, but we have some good athletes coming back, so I'm excited about our team's future."
Stoodley finishes 87th at state for Kilbourne
Competing as an individual in the Division I girls state meet, Kilbourne junior Emily Stoodley finished 87th in 19:52.15.
"Emily didn't run her best race, but she did OK at state," coach Melanie Williams said. "We didn't know what Emily was capable of when she moved here from England this summer, but she worked hard and did great."
Stoodley was Kilbourne's first state qualifier since the team advanced in 2007. She advanced by placing 13th (19:32.57) at regional as the Wolves finished ninth (225).
Also scoring at regional were senior Kaitlyn Napoli (40th, 20:21.87), freshman Camille Rider (41st, 20:22.5), senior Leanne Wegley (57th, 20:42.38) and freshman Beth Findell (104th, 22:03.44).
The Wolves also finished third (94) in the district 1 meet.
"It was nice to get our entire team through to regional and to see Emily make it to state," Williams said.
Kilbourne finished second (38) in the OCC-Capital meet Oct. 12 at Pickerington Central behind New Albany (29) and ahead of Olentangy (62), Delaware (113), Olentangy Orange (144), Big Walnut (173) and Mount Vernon (189).
"Second in the OCC-Capital is a big improvement over where we placed (seventh in the OCC-Cardinal meet) last year," Williams said. "We had three seniors who ran varsity for us this year, but we had a lot of young runners step up, too, so I feel good about the team we'll have next season."
Thomas boys had 'wonderful season'
Thomas' boys team concluded its season by finishing 11th (279) in the 16-team Division I regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North behind champion Dublin Jerome (66).
Scoring were junior Jonathan Kissell (33rd, 16:54.37), junior Jonathan Allen (50th, 17:13.32), senior Jack Dotts (66th, 17:24.03), sophomore Ian Hohlbein (75th, 17:33.05) and junior Andrew Craig (88th, 17:48.09).
Thomas placed third (94) in the 14-team district 1 race Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial behind champion Davidson (29).
"We had a wonderful season and accomplished our main goal by getting to the regional meet," assistant coach Bill Darling said. "We didn't run as well at regional as we ran at district, but we're happy with our season overall."
The Cardinals finished fourth (93) in the OCC-Central meet behind Davidson (34), Liberty (58) and Coffman (58) and ahead of Marysville (154), UA (167), Central Crossing (214) and Westland (215).
"I don't think we could have done better than fourth in our league meet this year because we ran great there," Darling said. "We're losing only one senior and the rest of our guys will be coming back, so our future looks bright."
Kilbourne boys had younger look
Kilbourne's boys team ended its season by finishing ninth (269) in the 14-team Division I, district 2 race Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial behind champion Jerome (23).
Sophomore Tanner Taylor (44th, 17:48.54), sophomore Ryan Baxter (52nd, 17:58.28), junior Dylan Roesch (57th, 18:17.61), sophomore Matt Kulling (62nd, 18:36.7) and sophomore Sam Zeid (64th, 18:48.46) scored.
Kilbourne finished fourth (123) in the OCC-Capital meet behind New Albany (27), Olentangy (48) and Orange (68) and ahead of Mount Vernon (141), Delaware (150), Big Walnut (197) and Franklin Heights (227).
"We lost four of our top seven runners from last season's team to graduation and we didn't have any seniors on this year's varsity team, so a lot of young guys had to step up for us," coach Dave Strausbaugh said. "... Now that our younger guys are used to this level of competition, I think they are going to work hard to improve in the offseason."