Coaches Meghan Cline and Ben Gadfield have seen an influx of youth into the Hilliard Bradley High School boys and girls cross country programs.
While Cline's girls team has 15 returnees, Gadfield has only a small number of upperclassmen and only two runners with varsity experience. Despite the youth, both teams have seen steady improvement.
"We have 15 girls back, but we have 19 girls who are new to the program, so this is by far the biggest team we have had here," said Cline, who is in her third season. "We got busy and recruited some girls from the track (and field) team, and sold them on the fact that it will help get them ready for spring."
The Jaguars have done well early in the season. After opening with a seventh-place finish in the Bengal Division of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 26 at Pickerington North, they were runners-up in the Westerville North Classic on Sept. 2.
Bradley had four runners place in the top 15 in the Division I race at Westerville and scored 78 points to finish behind Upper Arlington (39) as 13 teams scored.
Junior Isabella Brooks was eighth in 20 minutes, 33.1 seconds to lead the Jaguars. Junior Grace Michel (10th, 20:43.9) was next, followed by senior Laura Scheiderer (12th, 21:10.2), junior Sonja Maragos (15th, 21:13.6), senior Regan Corea (33rd, 22:07.7), freshmen Ella Richardson (47th, 22:34.9) and senior Lani Rohrer (60th, 23:16).
Brooks (21st, 20:20.68) and Michel (22nd, 20:21.96) also led Bradley at Pickerington North.
Other runners competing for a top seven spot are senior Josie Robinson, juniors Mikhayla Draper, Anna Schroeder and Jenn Trivette, sophomore Marin Casey and freshman Amber Figueroa.
"We have an interesting dynamic because a lot of our spots are up in the air," Cline said. "We have the most talented j.v. team that we have had and we have a whole new group of contenders who have never run before, so we don't know their full potential."
While Cline is unsure about many of her runners, Gadfield knows who will be heading the pack for the boys -- senior Rob McCabe.
In the first two meets, McCabe placed eighth (17:11.01) in the Bengal Division at Pickerington North and fifth (17:02.1) in the Miamisburg Invitational on Sept. 2.
"Rob McCabe is huge for us," said Gadfield, who is in his fourth season. "We have 32 kids out, but only four juniors and four seniors, so the upperclassmen are outnumbered by the younger runners. His leadership, along with the other seven, has been so important in helping the new kids adapt so well."
The Jaguars were ninth (287) at Pickerington North behind champion Gahanna (38) as 27 teams scored, and finished seventh (208) at Miamisburg behind the champion and host Vikings (69) as 24 team scored.
Sophomore Haydon Spaulding (37th, 18:10.3), the only other boys runner with previous varsity experience, was next for the Jaguars at Miamisburg, followed by junior Max Lanum (45th, 18:29.5), sophomore Chad Leugers (56th, 18:39.5), sophomore Zach Schroeder (86th, 19:10), senior Ben Wagner (88th, 19:13.8) and sophomore Eli Schneider (94th, 19:18.3).
"We have five new varsity runners and they have really made improvements over their times from last season," said Gadfield, whose team finished second (67) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet last season behind Thomas Worth-ington (27). "Eli Schneider was running 24:40 last fall and is down to 19:18 this year and Zach Schroder was at 19:41 last year and now he's going 19:10. You usually don't see kids get (personal records) this early in the season. It says a lot about this group of kids."
Freshman leading boys
golfers in league play
Freshman Tison Alexander is tied for ninth overall in average through three rounds of the OCC-Cardinal tournament.
Alexander and Worthington Kilbourne's Evan Fisher have an 86 average. Thomas' Aaron Zeller leads the league with a 72.33 average entering the fourth and final round Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Clover Valley.
The Jaguars are tied with Darby for fifth (5-13) in the league through three rounds, behind first-place Dublin Jerome (18-0).
Bradley placed sixth (352) in the third round Aug. 30 at Darby Creek. Dylan Hall (85) led the Jaguars, followed by Tyler Mordarski (86), Luke Lehman (89), Alexander (92) and Michael Chapman (94).
Girls golfers place
second in OCC round
The girls golf team placed second in the third round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 29 at Royal American.
The Jaguars shot a 404 to finish behind Jerome (313) and ahead of third-place Delaware (410). Claire Waggener (90) led Bradley, followed by Christy Hribar (103), Grace Christman (105), Emma Walls (106) and Haylee Lombardi (116).
Bradley is third (13-5) in the league through three rounds, behind Jerome (18-0) and Delaware (14-4) and ahead of fourth-place Scioto (7-11). The fourth and final round is Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Cooks Creek.
Aug. 26 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Sept. 2 -- Boys: Miamisburg Invitational; Girls: Westerville North Classic
Sept. 9 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 16 -- Galion Cross Country Festival at Amann's Reservior
Sept. 23 -- Tiger Invitational at Pickerington Central
Sept. 30 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at home
Oct. 7 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 14 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Davidson
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 10 -- Grove City Invitational at Hickory Hills
Sept. 13 -- OCC-Cardinal at Clover Valley
Sept. 11 -- Thomas Worthington at Mentel Memorial
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Cooks Creek
Sept. 7 -- At St. Charles
*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 7 -- At Westerville Central
*Sept. 12 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 7 -- At Darby
Sept. 9 -- Big Walnut Doubles Tournament
Sept. 12 -- At Olentangy
Sept. 13 -- At Pickerington Central
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Watterson
*Sept. 12 -- At Darby