Junior Daniella Santos eased her way to victory during the home OCC-Cardinal Division meet Oct. 14 and helped lead the Hilliard Darby High School girls cross country team to a runner-up finish.

Santos won in 18 minutes, 28.33 seconds, finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Audrey Bannister of Dublin Scioto (18:48.85).

"The coaches wanted me to go out faster and take control so I wouldn't get in a tight race with (Thomas Worthington's Gia Napoleon) in the final 800 (meters) because she's a strong finisher," Santos said. "I gained the advantage from the beginning and (Bannister) was hanging in with me during the first mile, but then I started pushing out a little further. I'm very happy, but I wasn't thrilled with my time."

Napoleon was third in 19:05.1, as the times were down across the board on a hot, humid race day.

"Nobody ran great times, but cross country is about places and not times," coach Jon Agriesti said. "That's one of the things that makes Daniella so good. She just doesn't like to lose. It's a pretty simple thing for her. She's so competitive."

The Panthers totaled 74 points to finish behind Thomas (47) and ahead of Bradley (88), Dublin Jerome (94), Worthington Kilbourne (101), Dublin Scioto (110) and Delaware (158).

"Thomas Worthington is ranked 14th in the state, so it's not in the cards for us to beat them, especially in a small field under warm conditions," Agriesti said. "But I was happy with our girls' efforts."

Abby Cannon finished sixth (19:55.54) and was followed by Anita Perie (12th, 20:10), Madison Murphy (23rd, 21:28.42) and Erin Cowen (33rd, 22:07.04).

The top seven runners earned first-team all-league honors, while Nos. 8-14 were second-team honorees and Nos. 15-21 made third team.

"Abby is our most veteran runner as a senior and she's getting better and better each week," Agriesti said. "She keeps plugging away. She probably passed three girls in the final 1,000 meters. Anita didn't have her best day, but Erin ran well battling a bad back."

The Panthers will compete in the Division I, district 2 meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial. The top six teams and top 24 runners advance to the regional meet Oct. 28 at Pickerington North.

"If we can put it all together, we'll have a good chance to make it to regional as a team," Agriesti said. "On a good day, we can finish fourth. If not, we can drop off a bit, but still have a chance to make it to regional."

Boys runners place third in OCC meet

The boys cross country team finished third in the home OCC-Cardinal meet Oct. 14, with Dylan Newport (13th, 16:56.54) leading a balanced effort.

Sean Carney was 15th (17:04.94), followed by Belaji Kurapati (16th, 17:07.28), Owen Martin (18th, 17:19.19) and Eric Lowery (19th, 17:21.28).

Newport earned second-team all-league honors and the other four runners made third team.

The Panthers scored 81 points to finish behind Thomas (35) and Jerome (61) and ahead of Scioto (83), Kilbourne (108), Bradley (143) and Delaware (224).

"The boys competed hard and I'm happy with their effort," coach Matthew Fox said. "We don't have true frontrunners, which is why it's so important for us to score with a pack. If we can stay tight like that, we'll have a chance to get to regional (as a team)."

The Panthers will compete in the Division I, district 3 meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial. The top six teams and top 24 runners advance to the regional meet Oct. 28 at Pickerington North.

"There are four teams in our (district 3 race) who clearly should make it out," Fox said. "After that, it's about who runs well that day."

Girls volleyball team wins district opener

Seeded 12th of 50 teams, the girls volleyball team defeated 48th-seeded Walnut Ridge 25-4, 25-13, 25-6 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.

The Panthers improved to 14-8 overall and advanced to play 24th-seeded Newark in the second round Oct. 18. The winner faces ninth-seeded Pickerington Central or 27th-seeded Jerome in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Whitehall. The district final is Oct. 28 at Whitehall.

The Panthers closed the regular season by beating Bradley 25-17, 22-35, 25-20, 19-25, 15-12 in an OCC-Cardinal match Oct. 10 and losing to Olentangy 20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-20 on Oct. 12.

Darby finished 9-3 in the league to place second behind Kilbourne (12-0).

Girls soccer team set for postseason

The girls soccer team will open Division I district tournament play Thursday, Oct. 19, as host to 40th-seeded Westland in a second-round game.

The Panthers, who are 9-4-3 overall, are seeded seventh of 42 teams and had a first-round bye.

The winner will play 12th-seeded New Albany, 13th-seeded Upper Arlington or 30th-seeded Kilbourne in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the higher seed. The district final is Oct. 28.

Aaliyah Brletic scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Marysville in the regular-season finale Oct. 12. Emily Schneck made two saves and Gillian Tinney had one stop in goal.

Blair Cowan scored and Schneck made eight saves in a 1-0 win over Bradley on Oct. 10 as the Panthers finished 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to place second behind Jerome (5-0-1).

Boys soccer team begins postseason

Seeded 10th of 47 teams, the boys soccer team played 37th-seeded Columbus West in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18.

The winner will play 24th-seeded Big Walnut in the second round Saturday, Oct. 21, at the home of the higher seed. That winner faces fourth-seeded St. Charles, 26th-seeded Groveport or 28th-seeded Pickerington Central in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the home of the higher seed. The district final is Oct. 28.

The Panthers entered the postseason 6-4-6 overall after losing to Marysville 1-0 on Oct. 12. They finished 2-1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal after losing to Bradley 5-1 on Oct. 10.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek