Mike Vallangeon's enjoyment of cross country has continued to grow since his children got involved with the sport a few years ago.
After assisting last fall, Vallangeon is getting to devote even more time to the sport as the Worthington Christian High School boys and girls coach.
He took over for Rod Zody, who stepped down after one season.
"I kind of picked up running recreationally about five years ago and have become more and more interested in it," Vallangeon said. "Last year, I had some flexibility in my schedule and said I'd do whatever I could to help the program."
Vallangeon's son, senior Taylor Vallangeon, is the top returnee.
Last season, both he and 2018 graduate Jake Bertelsen became the boys program's first representatives at state since 2002. Bertelsen finished 20th (16 minutes, 28.3 seconds) in the Division III state meet and Taylor Vallangeon was 25th (16:31.7) as the Warriors had an all-Ohio runner for the first time since 1986.
Taylor's brother, Nathan Vallangeon, who missed most of last season with an injury, and Noah Denorme are other senior returnees. Juniors Turner Burns, Harrison Godorhazy, Alex Harrison and Peter Tsibouris, sophomores Donnie Kahaian, Mackay Lykens and Caleb Postlewait and freshmen Jonathan Sanders and Samuel Spires also are looking to contribute.
Junior Maddie Skidmore, who was among Upper Arlington's top runners in 2016, is a newcomer who is among the girls team's top runners.
Junior Maddie Patrick played volleyball last fall but is out for the girls team as well.
Other key runners include senior Hannah Smilges, juniors Reagan Bowen, Joy Pitzer and Katherine Todd and freshmen Zoe Chen, Morgan Lawrence and Jessica Vallangeon.
In the McGowan Invitational on Sept. 8 at Watkins Memorial, the boys were 13th (312) of 19 teams in the Division III race behind champion Columbus Academy (60) and the girls placed 11th (243) of 15 teams in Division III behind champion Centerburg (82).
Denorme finished 29th (19:27.6) to lead the boys team and Skidmore led the girls with a 23rd-place finish (23:17.7).
"I'm just excited about the growth in numbers into what I think is a great sport," coach Vallangeon said.
Football team hits challenging stretch
The football team has gone a combined 10-3 in MSL-Cardinal Division contests the past two seasons, with two of those losses coming to Harvest Prep.
Worthington Christian will get another shot at the opponent with the same nickname Friday, Sept. 14, at home in a rematch of a contest it lost 52-3 last season.
"We're in the right conference and we have a chance of winning it," coach Jeff Hartings said. "Harvest Prep (is) very well-coached and executes very well."
On Sept. 7, Worthington Christian lost 40-0 to Marion Pleasant, a Division V program that has made the playoffs the past two seasons.
Harvest Prep is a Division VII program that has made four consecutive playoff appearances, and it is 3-0 with wins over Division IV Bexley (32-21 on Aug. 24) and two Division II programs in Franklin Heights (20-0 on Aug. 31) and Mifflin (52-14 on Sept. 7).
Da'Quan Owens-Johnson rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns against Mifflin for Harvest Prep, which amassed 340 yards rushing in the game.
Worthington Christian running back Michael Hartings was held to 3 yards rushing against Pleasant but has 217 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries on the season and has a receiving touchdown. He also is among the team's leading tacklers as a linebacker and serves as the punter.
Quarterback Lucas Hartings, who along with Michael is a son of coach Hartings, is 26-for-59 passing for 365 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
"(Marion Pleasant) is very well-established," coach Hartings said. "It just gives us an opportunity to see where we want to be, and from that perspective ... I'm thankful we have them on the schedule."
Boys golfers set for final league round
The boys golf team will compete in the final round of the MSL-Ohio tournament Monday, Sept. 17, at Denison Golf Club.
On Aug. 25 in the MSL-Ohio midseason tournament at Turnberry, the Warriors shot a 305 to finish first, ahead of Bexley (315), Columbus Academy (320) and Grandview (421).
Worthington Christian finished third in the opening round Aug. 7 at Westchester and is tied with Bexley and Academy in the league standings at 4-2 heading into the final round.
Aug. 25 -- Baron Blast at Buckeye Valley
Sept. 1 -- Westerville North Classic
Sept. 8 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 15 -- Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park
Sept. 22 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Oct. 6 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 13 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Grandview
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Christian boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 15 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 17 -- MSL-Ohio postseason at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 18 -- MSL-Ohio postseason at Airport
Sept. 18 -- At Licking Heights
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Whitehall
Sept. 15 -- At Johnstown
Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Licking Heights
*Sept. 19 -- At Whitehall
*Sept. 13 -- At Bexley
Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Watkins Mem-orial
*Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Whitehall
*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Whitehall
Sept. 18 -- At Fairfield Christian