A pack mentality may benefit the Central Crossing High School boys cross country team this fall.
The Comets started with their top five runners finishing within 30 seconds of each other, which should help them as they continue to drop time as the season progresses.
Central Crossing opened by finishing fifth (189) in the Bengal Division of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 26 at Pickerington North. Gahanna (38) won as 27 teams scored.
Senior C.J. Patrick led the way by finishing 31st in 17 minutes, 50.63 seconds. He was followed by his twin brother, senior Greg Patrick (35th, 17:57.66), juniors Avery Wright (37th, 17:59.82) and Michael Fry (46th, 18:13.21) and freshman Dominic Manson (54th, 18:20.49).
"It's good for us to be really close time-wise," said C.J. Patrick, who holds the boys program record of 16:16.77. "That helps us place high in meets as a team and it also helps us improve as individuals because we push each other."
Also competing at North were seniors Kyle Buerkle (83rd, 18:50.32) and Dylan Price (137th, 19:40.28).
"They have worked hard to come together as a unit," said coach Doug Boggs, who is in his eighth season. "This is the first time we spent considerable time over the summer to get fit with each other. We worked with being more competitive and they have come in ready to work on meet days. It's good to have the guys come in and be ready to get down to business."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Jeremy Dech and Austin Kehl, juniors Ross Harrison, Jarod Parsels and Jarod Shaw, sophomore Austin Vazquez and freshman Jake Archer.
C.J. Patrick said it was time for the seniors to step up as leaders.
"We're the ones that the younger runners look up to," he said. "We have to help get ready for practice and help them when we go to meets."
Small girls roster
has talented runners
The girls cross country team has only seven competitors, but Boggs likes what he sees.
"The girls pack has been as good as it has been in quite a while," he said. "Our top four are the best that we have had in years."
The Comets finished 25th (653) in the Bengal Division at North behind champion Mount Gilead (54) as 28 teams scored. However, they were without two of their better runners.
Two first-year participants, junior Kaylee Watson and sophomore Lilly Dimmerling, also play soccer. They missed the opening meet because the girls soccer team played Columbus Academy on Aug. 26, picking up a 2-0 victory.
"The soccer girls have come in and brought some nice competition," Boggs said. "They are good runners and they have brought in a competitive attitude."
Junior Zoey Calafatis (65th, 22:29.6) led the Comets at North, followed by sophomore Jennifer Pena-Zamora (99th, 23:09.74), junior Mallory Lalonde (214th, 26:00.53), sophomore Emma Thompson (337th, 29:55.54) and freshman Lav'Marra Barker (369th, 31:35.61).
"I think we're progressing really well and we're having a lot of (personal records) early on," Calafatis said. "We have a couple years of experience under our belts and we worked together over the summer. We're a really close team."
Davern remains top
Junior boys golfer Caleb Davern leads the OCC-Central Division with a 70.33 average entering the fourth and final round of league play Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Darby Creek.
Davern has been medalist in each of the first three rounds, including a third-round 65 on Aug. 30 at Clover Valley. He finished nine strokes better than runner-up Matthew Cramer of Upper Arlington, who has the second-best average (75.0).
In the opening round Aug. 8 at Apple Valley, Davern shared medalist honors with Hilliard Davidson's Jack Brown with a 74. He then shot 72 in the second round Aug. 14 at Turnberry.
The Comets are fifth in the league at 3-12, behind UA (14-1), Dublin Coffman (13-2), Davidson (9-6) and Marysville (6-9) and ahead of Westland (0-15).
In the third round, Central Crossing was fifth (381) behind first-place UA (309). Also competing were Cole Jamison (100), Brandon VonIns (101) and Jackson Phillips (115).
Aug. 26 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Sept. 2 -- Hoka One One Postal Nationals at Westland
Sept. 9 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 23 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 30 -- Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club
Oct. 7 -- Hilliard Darby Dash
Oct. 14 -- OCC-Central meet at Hilliard Davidson
Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 9 -- Hickory Hills Invitational at Hickory Hills
Sept. 13 -- OCC-Central at Darby Creek
*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Westerville South
Sept. 9 -- At Marion Pleasant
*Sept. 12 -- At UA
*Sept. 7 -- At Westland
Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Grandview
Sept. 12 -- At Franklin Heights
Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Ready