An injury-riddled season came to an end for Olentangy Orange High School girls cross country runner Allie Guagenti with a painful performance in the Division I state meet Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway.
The junior had been battling plantar fasciitis in her right foot throughout the season, but a left knee injury added to the discomfort. She finished 49th in 19 minutes, 3.5 seconds after taking second (17:35.7) last fall and seventh (18:13.9) as a freshman to earn all-state honors both seasons.
"I had a really rough race," said Guagenti, whose knee was wrapped in ice after the meet. "I have been struggling with injuries the whole season. I felt really good at regionals, but then this knee injury flared up and I couldn't run the whole week. I might have run a whole three miles this week.
"I am proud that I finished the race. I was glad to have my whole team with me."
The Pioneers finished 17th (375 points) of 20 teams behind champion Centerville (122).
Junior Lindsay Ott finished 56th (19:12.7).
"I started out in the first mile around the time I usually do, which is good, (and) then I came through the second mile and was able to finish strong and keep passing people," Ott said. "I had a lot of girls around me, and I think that really helped me. Having competition around me helped to push me."
Senior Zoe Bond (65th, 19:21.5) was next for Orange, followed by junior Grace Frye (151st, 20:53.4), sophomore Olivia Dieckmann (162nd, 21:26.3), senior Natalie Johnson (170th, 21:58.1) and sophomore Paige Benecke (171st, 22:08.5).
In the Division I boys race, senior Tommy Wintering was 68th in 16:39.9.
"Tommy ran a good first mile and moved up in the second mile and did well for his first time at state," fifth-year coach Adam Walters said. "He was happy to get there and he did everything I asked of him."
In the regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North, the girls team finished fifth (160) behind champion Granville (63) as Guagenti was runner-up (18:13.97) behind Liberty's Gracie Sprankle (18:04.25) and the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to state.
Wintering was 19th (16:25.73) at regional as the boys team was eighth (225) behind champion Hilliard Davidson (91).
Junior Andrew Schroff (37th, 16:50.18), senior Tyler King (68th, 17:20.74), sophomore Brant Yocum (71st, 17:22.1), senior Jackson Schiefelbein (80th, 17:28.92), sophomore Cody Moore (95th, 17:42.88) and freshman Cole Benishek (96th, 17:43.19) also competed.
Guagenti won the 18-team district 3 girls race Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial in 17:55.03, and the Pioneers were third (98) behind champion Davidson (25).
The boys were third (74) in the 17-team district 2 race behind champion Pickerington North (56) as Wintering (seventh, 15:57.2) and Schroff (eighth, 16:01.09) led the way.
Guagenti (third, 18:37.69) led runner-up Orange (56) behind Liberty (36) in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Oct. 14 at Hilliard Darby. Olentangy (62) was third, followed by Westerville Central (83), Westerville North (134) and Westerville South (174).
Wintering won the boys league race in 16:17.5 as Orange was second (46) behind Liberty (31) and ahead of South (84), Olentangy (103), Central (115) and North (172).
Volleyball program continues taking steps
The girls volleyball team won its second consecutive Division I district championship, but again lost in a regional semifinal.
The Pioneers finished 21-5 overall, losing to fifth-ranked Dublin Coffman 25-15, 26-24, 25-11 on Nov. 2 at Worthington Kilbourne.
"Coffman is an amazing, seasoned team and we had nothing to lose," said third-year coach Katie Duy, whose team lost to Gahanna 25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 25-12, 15-7 in a regional semifinal last fall. "We came in with a game plan and (our players) kind of wavered away from it when Coffman put down a couple of balls, but I think they gained some confidence and played better in the second set."
Fourth-seeded Orange won a district title Oct. 28 at Franklin Heights by defeating fifth-seeded Pickerington North 25-18, 25-20, 25-16. It also defeated 19th-seeded Lancaster 25-10, 25-14, 25-12 in a semifinal Oct. 24 at the same site.
After a first-round bye, the host Pioneers defeated 41st-seeded Westerville South 25-16, 25-10, 25-16 on Oct. 18 in a second-round match.
Orange won its third consecutive league title, tying Liberty at 9-1 in the OCC-Buckeye. Olentangy (6-4) was third, followed by Central (4-6), North (1-9) and South (1-9).
The three-player senior class was comprised of defensive specialists Sophie Dahn (honorable mention all-league; 349 digs, 40 aces) and Gabi Hinley (188 digs, 32 aces) and right-side hitter Sidney Reeder.
"We won our second consecutive district and won our third straight league title and we wanted to continue to take steps in the program," Duy said. "I think we kept taking those steps, gaining confidence and making progress. A lot of that has to do with those three (seniors)."
The Pioneers expect to return five starters, including junior setter Carrigan O'Reilly (team-high 780 assists, 231 digs, 144 kills, 89 blocks, 35 aces). She was first-team all-district and all-league.
Middle hitter Sidney Gossard (honorable mention all-league; 135 kills, team-high 118 blocks), libero Meghan McCollum (first-team all-district and all-league; team-high 450 digs, 34 aces) and outside hitter Taylor Metzler (second-team all-league; 184 kills, 34 blocks) are other junior starters expected to return.
Freshman outside hitter London Davis (honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league; team-high 233 kills, 73 blocks) also started.