Audrey Bannister of the Dublin Scioto High School girls cross country team left the Division I state meet on Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway disappointed, but she's determined to return next season even stronger.

The freshman finished 37th of 173 runners in 18 minutes, 51.4 seconds.

"It's a good experience to have because I now know what to expect when I come here in the future, because that was really hard," Bannister said. "There were lots of girls in groups and sometimes I'd be ahead of a group. But in this race, I was in the middle of the group and it was hard to get around people.

"It's sad that the season is over, but I'll come back here next year and I'll know what to expect."

Coach Matt Suttle was pleased with Bannister's performance in her first state appearance.

"As a freshman, I thought she handled it pretty well," Suttle said. "She's not where she exactly wanted to be, but it's good. This is the first race where I think the nerves got to her a little bit. She felt a little bit overwhelmed where she looked like a freshman, and it happens. It will be a good experience for her for next year."

Bannister qualified for state by placing sixth (18:44.92) of 129 runners at regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North, as the top 20 individuals advanced. She finished fifth (18:39.8) of 116 runners in the district 2 race Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial, where the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.

Scioto finished eighth (223) of 16 teams at district, behind champion Granville (43).

Also competing for the Irish were senior Yosolajesu Olujide-Ajibade (36th, 21:01.61), sophomores Felicity Paez (60th, 21:48.16) and Ashley Carr (61st, 21:49.39), junior Lauren Chapman (64th, 22:08.62) and freshman Ally Thornbloom (71st, 22:27.28).

The Irish finished sixth (110) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Oct. 14 at Hilliard Darby, behind Thomas Worthington (47), Darby (74), Hilliard Bradley (88), Jerome (94) and Worthington Kilbourne (101) and ahead of Delaware (158).

Bannister placed second (18:48.85) of 67 runners.

With Olujide-Ajibade being the only senior in the starting lineup, Suttle expects a strong nucleus to return next season, led by Bannister.

"I'm thrilled with the team," Suttle said. "We had four freshmen on varsity throughout the year, so it was a young group. They learned a lot. We're going to come back next year with a whole different attitude and dedication. This year they're kind of not sure what to do. ... Next year they'll know what to do. They've been through it."

Faith Bylaw and Haley Park were the other freshmen in the lineup this season.

Arellano finishes 78th at state meet

Senior Cesar Arellano of the boys cross country team wasn't happy with his performance in the Division I state meet, but vowed to be stronger in the spring for track and field season.

Arellano finished 78th of 183 runners in 16:42.6.

"It stings," he said. "My expectations were higher and were not met. All I have left to do is bounce back like a true champion and be back for an incredible track season."

Last season, Arellano finished 21st (15:43.7) of 186 runners to earn all-state honors.

He earned a return trip to state by placing fifth (16:01.4) of 129 runners at the regional meet.

The Irish finished ninth (231) of 16 teams at regional, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (91), as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.

Also competing for Scioto were senior Tyler Mielke (31st, 16:46.05), freshman Trevor Page (58th, 17:10.63), senior Brian Briones (89th, 17:37.28), sophomore Sam Thomas (97th, 17:45.1), freshman Ali Latif (112th, 18:01.17) and senior Joel David (128th, 18:38.71).

The Irish finished fourth (87) of 17 teams in the district 2 meet, behind champion Pickerington North (56), as Arellano placed second (15:30.26) of 119 runners behind Pickerington Central's Matt Scrape (14:59.54).

Scioto placed fourth (83) in the OCC-Cardinal meet, behind Thomas (35), Jerome (61) and Darby (81) and ahead of Kilbourne (108), Bradley (143) and Delaware (224).

Arellano placed third (15:52.49) of 70 runners.

Sophomore Antonio Loor is another key runner eligible to return.

Field hockey coach proud of players

The field hockey team finished 1-14-1 overall in its first season under coach Megan Kinnison.

The Irish defeated Lancaster 1-0 on Sept. 6.

"I was proud of how our girls handled this season," Kinnison said. "They were not sure if there would be a field hockey team this year, and faced a great deal of adversity to step into the first game. In response to the odds, they showed up to their challenges, practiced hard and put all their effort into each game."

Scioto went 0-7 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division to finish eighth, behind Thomas (7-0), Olentangy Liberty (6-1), Upper Arlington (5-2), Olentangy (4-3), Jerome and Olentangy Orange (both 2-4-1) and Coffman (1-6).

The Irish are losing five seniors, including Kennedie Lomax, who played all three field positions.

"Kennedie is a strong player who we relied on all season," Kinnison said.

The other seniors were Harmeet Bhachu (forward), Osheen Oommen (defender), Merari Pablo Solano (defender) and Kerin Reyes (mid-fielder/defender).

Freshman Christina Redfox emerged as the starting goalkeeper.

Other key players eligible to return include juniors Komal Khan (forward), Cierra Meade (defender), Andrea Nieves-Diaz (defender), Emily Oetter (midfielder), Joy Olobatuyi (midfielder/forward), Emily Schmidt (midfielder) and Kailee Sikorski (midfielder).

"We have a very positive foundation to build upon in the coming years because of the effort these girls put into this season," Kinnison said.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

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