Worthington Kilbourne High School boys cross country coach Justin Riffle likes where his team is at the midpoint of the regular season.
The Wolves totaled 221 points to place sixth of 32 teams, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (93), in the Division I race in the McGowan Invitational on Sept. 9 at Watkins Memorial.
Kilbourne then finished second (28) in the five-team Division I race of the Central Ohio Invitational on Sept. 16 at Three Creeks Metro Park, behind Pickerington Central (27).
"We had a huge day at Watkins," Riffle said. "A lot of our kids had huge (personal records), some by as much as two minutes. Our freshmen have been developing nicely, which is promising for the future, and I believe it will help us continue to be successful for the next few years, at least.
"I was very pleased with how we finished. Our goal was a top-5 finish and we missed by just 10 points, but we ran really well as a team."
Junior Jack Begley and sophomore Tanner Williams finished among the top 21 in the McGowan Invitational to lead the Wolves. Begley placed 17th of 218 runners in 16 minutes, 24.9 seconds and Williams was 21st (16:36.7).
"Jack has been our No. 1 runner and very consistent all year," Riffle said. "I know he was hoping to be under 16 minutes by now, so we've been working on making some adjustments as far as workouts and race strategy to get him there within the next few meets. I believe he's more than capable of doing it, so it's only a matter of time before he accomplishes it.
"Tanner has been making some huge jumps in time since our first meet. He's also starting to become a smarter runner after each meet, understanding the things he did well and things he could have done better. He takes all of his racing experiences, good or bad, and uses them to help improve each week, and his times have definitely shown that."
Sophomore Gabe Knuth finished 53rd (17:06.6) in the McGowan Invitational, followed by sophomore John Cuozzo (60th, 17:13.6), senior Chris Valade (75th, 17:24.9), junior Max Shafran (77th, 17:26.4) and senior Caleb Martin (78th, 17:26.5).
"John is running well in his first year running cross country and has quickly contributed to the team," Riffle said. "He has dropped his time by 40 seconds since our first meet, and I can see him dropping at least another 30 to 40 by the end of the season."
In the Central Ohio Invitational, Begley (16:54.89) and Williams (17:00.1) placed second and third, respectively, and Cuozzo was fifth (17:20.11).
"At the beginning of the season, our team expectation at this point was to have our team average under 17 minutes," Riffle said. "We achieved that with a 16:56 average (in the McGowan Invitational), so we're right where we want to be."
leading girls runners
The girls cross country team did not finish as high as coach Melanie Williams would have liked in the Division I race at the McGowan Invitational.
The Wolves placed 10th (280) of 28 teams, behind champion Liberty (80).
"We had a lot of personal-best and season-best times, but we did not finish as high as I would've liked," Williams said. "So we will continue to practice harder and get better."
Senior Keira Smith and sophomore Sasha Bomser led the way for the Wolves. Smith was 21st (19:36.8) of 186 runners and Bomser placed 31st (19:58.4).
Caroline Watson was 67th (21:06.6) for Kilbourne, followed by Madeline Allen (69th, 21:06.6), Chloe Emberton (97th, 21:43.3), Sydney Shannon (115th, 22:05.2) and Marisa Long (157th, 23:41.9).
Kilbourne finished first (26) ahead of runner-up Westerville North (44) in the five-team Division I race in the Central Ohio Invitational, as Bomser (20:25.62), Smith (21:22.83) and Allen (21:24.68) placed second, third and fourth, respectively.
Boys golfers take
fourth in league
The boys golf team shot a 331 in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament Sept. 13 at Clover Valley to place fourth, behind Dublin Scioto (291), Dublin Jerome (293) and Thomas (310) and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (336), Hilliard Darby (345) and Delaware (373).
The Wolves finished fourth (11-13) in the league, behind Jerome (23-1), Thomas (19-5) and Scioto (18-6) and ahead of Bradley (9-15), Darby (5-19) and Delaware (0-24).
Carson Daugherty led the Wolves in the final round with an 80, followed by Evan Fisher (81), John Catanzarite (82), Mark Towns (88) and Garrett Meeks (89).
Catanzarite averaged 81.5 in league play, followed by Dougherty (83), Fisher (84.8) and Meeks (88.8).
Girls golfers place
fifth in league
The girls golf team shot a 489 in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Sept. 12 at Cooks Creek to place fifth, behind Jerome (317).
The Wolves, who did not have two regulars in their lineup in Madalyn Hopkins and Jenna Mains, went 7-17 in the league to place fifth, behind Jerome (24-0), Delaware (19-5), Bradley (17-7) and Scioto (10-14) and ahead of Darby (4-20) and Thomas (3-21).
Hopkins (93.3) and Trixie Abbott (98) had the team's top league averages and competed in three rounds.