One all-state runner graduated but another has returned for the Olentangy Orange High School cross country program.
The girls team will be led by two-time all-state performer Ally Guagenti, a junior who finished second (17 minutes, 35.7 seconds) in last year's Division I state meet behind Hilliard Davidson's India Johnson (17:28.6), a 2017 graduate.
The boys team lost Hunter Moore, who now is running at Eastern Michigan after finishing eighth (15:20.9) at state.
"Last year we depended on Hunter's low score as a true frontrunner, but this year we don't have a true frontrunner yet," fifth-year boys coach Adam Walters said. "I think one or more of our top three runners will emerge as our No. 1 by the end of the season."
Seniors Jackson Schiefelbein and Tyler King and junior Andrew Schroff are key runners back from last season. Schiefelbein (109th, 16:38.3) and King (172nd, 17:33.9) competed at state, while Schroff was in the lineup at regional but was injured and did not compete at state.
The boys started this season with a pair of runner-up finishes. They were second (39) in the Division I Panther Race of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 26 at Pickerington North behind Liberty (23), and on Sept. 2 they were second (48) to the Patriots (34) in the Division I race of the Westerville North Classic. In the latter race, Schroff was runner-up (16:42.02) behind Westerville Central's Austin Smith (16:41.35).
Senior Tommy Wintering was fourth (16:50.25), followed by Schiefelbein (sixth, 16:51.11), King (14th, 17:25.32), freshman Lincoln Weber (23rd, 17:46.36), freshman Cole Benishek (24th, 17:46.83) and sophomore Cody Moore (28th, 18:04.23).
"The strength of our team is going to be our top three -- Schroff, Wintering and Schiefelbein -- running together near the front," said Walters, whose team won its second consecutive OCC-Buckeye Division title last fall with 29 points, ahead of runner-up Liberty (35). "We're more focused on pack running and working together throughout a race."
Guagenti has been battling foot problems and sat out at Westerville North after finishing fifth (18:46.8) at Pickerington North. The Pioneers finished fifth (142) behind champion Liberty (52) in the opener.
Without Guagenti, they finished fourth (112) at Westerville North behind champion Upper Arlington (39) and were led by junior Lindsay Ott (fifth, 20:01.6). Junior Grace Frye (14th (21:12.6) was next, followed by sophomore Olivia Dieckmann (27th, 21:43.8), sophomore Paige Benecke (31st, 22:00.7), senior Natalie Johnson (35th, 22:09.0), freshman Medha Patria (36th, 22:09.9) and senior Kayelvizhi Pugazhenthi (45th, 22:28.0).
"Our varsity team is the deepest it has ever been and that is probably our best strength going in," fourth-year coach Rae Schuh said. "It hasn't been a concern yet, but a few of our varsity girls suffered some injuries at the end of summer and haven't fully recovered from them. We hope to have everyone healthy and back soon."
Seniors to lead
girls soccer team
The girls soccer team has a new coach in Tim Lawrence and 10 seniors to lead the program.
Lawrence coached the Westerville North girls program from 1989-2011 and replaced Jim Daugherty after three seasons.
"We have 10 seniors and all 10 contribute," Lawrence said. "We're definitely a senior-oriented team."
Leading the senior returnees is forward Delaney Earl, who was second-team all-state and first-team all-district and all-league last fall. Defender Cassidy Ryan (first-team all-league), midfielder Camryn Thompson (special mention all-league) and forward Taylor Foreman (honorable mention all-league) also are back.
Also returning are forward Camila Hall and defenders Megan Cochran, Avery Lichtenberg, Taylor Fenton and Sami Level.
The final senior, goalkeeper Sydney Monahan, is out with an injury and will be spelled by junior Linnea Milner and freshman Karson Hill.
"Everything we do is much different than they did last season," said Lawrence, whose team was 1-2 before playing Davidson on Sept. 5. "We play a 4-3-3, a 4-2-3-1 and a variety of different ways. We need to focus on how we defend. We need to focus on building from the back."
Rounding out the roster are juniors Mackenzie Blendick (forward), Aurelia Johnson (midfielder) and Grace Weidenhamer (midfielder), sophomores Keeley Galloway (defender), Payton Kaufman (forward) and Grace Poorbaugh (defender) and freshman Elizabeth Woo (defender).
The Pioneers went 5-10-4 overall last season and finished third (2-2-1) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Olentangy (4-0-1). They open league play Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Liberty.
Field hockey team
returns strong nucleus
Depth could play a role in the success of the field hockey team as it looks to improve on last year's 9-6-1 finish.
The Pioneers have six full-time starters back in seniors Izzy Altier (defender), Kendall Baehr (midfielder; 2 goals, 4 assists last season), Makenzie Cooper (forward; 7 goals, 4 assists), Nichole Khayat (midfielder; 4 goals) and Hannah Lower (midfielder; 5 goals) and sophomore Hannah Brown (midfielder; 4 goals, 2 assists). Junior midfielder Devyn Fischer and junior forward Emily Noble (4 goals, 1 assist) also started some games a year ago.
"This is the deepest team we've had in my three years at Orange," said coach Anna Karousis, whose team was 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West after losing to Liberty 5-0 on Sept. 2. "We have 18 varsity players who are skilled and conditioned to have a great season."
The Pioneers opened Aug. 23 by losing to Olentangy 1-0 as sophomore goalie Tatum Gibson had one save.
Lower scored in a 1-0 win over Dayton Oakwood on Aug. 26. On the same day, Cooper scored and Gibson had three saves in a 3-1 loss to Kettering Fairmont.
Girls golfers looking
to clinch league title
The girls golf team hopes to secure a second consecutive league title in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Buckeye tournament Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Westchester.
The Pioneers (14-1) hold a slim lead over Liberty (13-2). They took the lead in the third round Aug. 29 at Cooks Creek, shooting 287 with the Patriots (312) finishing second.
Ashley Au (70) was medalist and Riley Dean (71) was runner-up. Also competing were Natalia Sompolvorachai (72), Alyssa Kim (74) and Emily Fisher (90).
Green leading boys
golf team in league
Through three rounds of OCC-Buckeye play, Jonathan Green of the boys golf team is seventh in league average (76.67).
The Pioneers are fifth (3-12) behind first-place Liberty (15-0). The final round is Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Darby Creek.
In the third round, Orange (329) was fourth behind the first-place Patriots (295) as Green shot 76. Also competing were Connor Cummins (83), Sam English (84), Nate English (86) and Nathan Brown (90).
Aug. 26 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Sept. 2 -- Westerville North Classic
Sept. 9 -- Tiffin Carnival
Sept. 16 -- Boys: Otterbein Invitational; Girls: Louisville (Ky.) Trinity-Valkyrie Invitational
Sept. 23 -- Centerville Night Lights
Sept. 30 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at Hilliard Bradley
Oct. 7 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 14 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Davidson
*Aug. 23 -- vs. Olentangy
Aug. 26 -- at Dayton Oakwood with Kettering Fairmont
*Sept. 2 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 6 -- vs. Bexley
*Sept. 11 -- at Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 13 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
Sept. 16 -- at Granville
*Sept. 18 -- at Dublin Coffman
Sept. 23 -- vs. McMurray (Pa.) Peters Township
*Sept. 25 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
*Sept. 27 -- at Upper Arlington
Oct. 2 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Oct. 4 -- at Columbus Academy
Oct. 9 -- vs. Hilliard Lynx
Oct. 11 -- vs. Hartley
Aug. 22 -- at Dublin Jerome
Aug. 29 -- vs. Big Walnut
Aug. 31 -- at Grove City
Sept. 5 -- at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 7 -- vs. Marysville
Sept. 9 -- at DeSales
*Sept. 12 -- at Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 16 -- vs. New Albany
*Sept. 19 -- vs. Westerville Central
Sept. 21 -- at Canal Winchester
Sept. 23 -- vs. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit
*Sept. 26 -- at Westerville South
Sept. 30 -- vs. Watterson
*Oct. 3 -- at Olentangy
Oct. 5 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
*Oct. 10 -- vs. Westerville North
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 7 -- Marysville at Darby Creek
Sept. 9 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 13 -- OCC-Buckeye at Darby Creek
Sept. 7 -- Upper Arlington at Blackhawk
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Buckeye at Westchester
Sept. 9 -- At Medina
*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 7 -- At Westerville North
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 13 -- At Columbus Academy
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Marysville
Sept. 9 -- At DeSales
*Sept. 12 -- At Liberty