Liam Kerr changed his strategy en route to setting the program record for the Grandview Heights High School boys cross country team and winning a Division III district title.

The senior won the district 2 race in 15 minutes, 54.92 seconds on Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial, breaking the program record of 16:00.11 that 2014 graduate Luke Evans set in his senior season on the same course.

In addition, the boys and girls teams both qualified for the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 28, at Pickerington North, as the top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced. At regional, the top five teams and top 20 individuals move on to state Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway.

Worthington Christian's Jake Bertelsen (15:57.83) was runner-up after beating Kerr by 7.1 seconds in the MSL-Ohio Division race Oct. 14 at London.

"Usually I slow down on the second mile, but this time I didn't slow down at all," Kerr said. "I decided to keep going, and it was a pretty stressful race. I was leading and was passed (by Bertelsen) but then out-kicked him at the end.

"(Bertelsen) beat me last week, so that definitely was on my mind. I knew the people around me like (third-place finisher) Nick Robie (of Columbus Academy), so that helped, and the weather was perfect for running."

Coach Chris Szabo wasn't surprised by Kerr's performance.

"Liam ran a 16:04.1 (on Oct. 7) at Thomas Worthington, so we knew he had that potential," Szabo said. "Watkins (Memorial) was just a perfect course for that. It wasn't too hot and it was dry and it's a flat course for the most part. (The record) is something he's been wanting for a while."

The boys team finished second (84 points) behind Academy (42). Newark Catholic (104) and Marion Elgin (123) were the other regional qualifiers.

Chris Miller was seventh (16:35.41) for Grandview, followed by Derek Amicon (ninth, 16:45.48), Eli Hall (28th, 18:11.44), Quinn Tillett (39th, 18:44.41), Andrew Bergmann (48th, 19:12.34) and Luke Wallace (49th, 19:13.2).

The girls team was third (98) behind Fredericktown (46) and Centerburg (68). Fairfield Christian (105) was the final regional qualifier.

Nina Amicon was fifth (19:47.72) behind champion Shayla Pennington (19:08.77) of Berne Union.

Emmalyn Kukura (18th, 21:04.4), Sarah Marrone (20th, 21:12.96), Annie Volker (22nd, 21:27.19), Avani Kumar (33rd, 22:22.52) and Amelia Sturbois (40th, 23:09.37) also competed.

"Both teams actually ran well," Szabo said. "We thought the boys would make it if they just continued to run like they have been, but the girls were more of a question and they really stepped up.

"Nina's time put her in the top five for the girls program and she was really excited about that. I think we're setting up really well going into this week (at regional)."

Girls team returns to district semifinal

The top-seeded girls soccer team was 14-2-1 before playing sixth-seeded Johnstown on Oct. 25 in a Division III district semifinal.

It was the fourth year in a row that the Bobcats had reached that round.

The winner plays second-seeded Academy or fifth-seeded Worthington Christian in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a neutral site to be determined. In MSL-Ohio play, Grandview lost to the Vikings 5-4 on Oct. 7 and defeated the Warriors 2-1 on Aug. 30.

The district champion advances to a regional semifinal on a date and at a neutral site to be determined.

After a first-round bye, Grandview defeated ninth-seeded West Jefferson 5-0 on Oct. 19 in the second round. Maddie Arndt, Lindsey Bertani, Maddy James, Carlie Orr and Signe Slaughter all scored and goalkeeper Ruby Gentile had four saves.

"We lost to Wellington (2-1 on Oct. 2) and to Academy, but we have started to build momentum," James said. "I think those losses helped us refocus and made us ready to play."

Boys team reaches 10th district semi in a row

The top-seeded boys soccer team was 13-0-4 before playing 11th-seeded Tree of Life on Oct. 24 in a Division III district semifinal.

The Bobcats reached a district semifinal for the 10th consecutive season.

The winner plays second-seeded Grove City Christian or fifth-seeded Johnstown in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a neutral site to be determined.

The Bobcats have won three consecutive district titles.

The district champion advances to a regional semifinal on a date and at a neutral site to be determined.

The Bobcats had a first-round bye before defeating 19th-seeded Cristo Rey 8-0 on Oct. 18 in the second round. Wes Ryan scored four goals, and Manny Day, Ross Day, Sam Freeman and Indigo London also scored.

Girls volleyball team loses district opener

The 25th-seeded girls volleyball team lost at fifth-seeded Newark Catholic 25-8, 25-9, 25-10 on Oct. 18 in the first round of the Division III district tournament.

The Bobcats finished 2-20 overall and were sixth (1-9) in the MSL-Ohio behind London (10-0), Worthington Christian (8-2), Whitehall (6-4), Academy (3-7) and Bexley (2-8).

Grandview loses two seniors in setter Jayla Coplan and defensive specialist Isabel Girardi.

"Having Isabel and Jayla on the team was amazing," first-year coach Shelli Sanzo said. "They added a great sense of leadership. Isabel was constantly positive and trying to keep the team morale up, and Jayla was an integral part of the team as the setter because (setters) assist on every play."

Junior middle hitter Katherine Taylor was honorable mention all-league.

Also expected back are juniors Nina Burchfield (back row/outside hitter), Makenzie Bush (front row/back row) and Sydney Narcelles (defensive specialist), sophomores Jayme Coplan (outside hitter/setter), Leila Meyer (front row/back row), Linnea Milner (outside hitter) and Grace Rubin (middle hitter) and freshmen Kierstyn Beatty (middle hitter/outside hitter) and Hannah Yochem (front row/back row).

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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