"Steady" is a word that coach Jared Mills has used to describe the Olentangy Liberty High School boys cross country team this season.
The Patriots have one remaining regular-season meet Saturday, Oct. 6, when they run in the Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington before competing in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Oct. 13 at Hilliard Davidson and in the postseason a week after that.
Senior Joe Johnson III and junior Jack Humenay have led the way -- with Humenay recording a season-best 16 minutes, 16 seconds -- but a large group of runners has supported them.
"This group of young men is committed to each other, and the synergetic atmosphere they have created is an important part of our success," Mills said. "They (have proven) that they will be ready to compete at a high level in October and November."
Senior Drew Boggs, junior Caleb Ogle and sophomore R.J. LaRosa all have run faster than 17 minutes, according to Mills.
Others who have been battling for spots in the postseason lineup include seniors Adam Clark, Johnny Galloway, Ben Schwartz and Jack Zody, juniors Jacob Feldmaier, Matt Onate and Caleb Warrick and sophomores Judd Ogle and Tanner Sutton.
"Our focus this season has been to control the controllables," Mills said. "With weather and facing different teams each week, we're looking to maximize our performance daily. In the past, this has led to success on the regional and state levels, and we look to do the same this season."
Volleyball team staying focused
The girls volleyball team's perfect start isn't causing it to rest easy.
The Patriots, who were 10th in last week's Division I state poll, took a record of 15-0 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Buckeye into their match Oct. 2 against Westerville South.
Liberty beat Olentangy 25-20, 22-25, 11-25, 25-21, 15-9 on Sept. 25 to complete an undefeated first round of league play and defeated Orange 20-25, 25-19, 30-28, 25-20 on Sept. 27 to earn a season sweep of the Pioneers.
Last season, Liberty and Orange shared the league title at 9-1.
"We've gotten off to a great start with some good wins versus Orange, winning the (Worthington) Kilbourne tournament (Sept. 15), beating Big Walnut (on Sept. 18) and just beating Olentangy in five (games)," coach Jen Chapman said. "The girls have earned it, but we need to keep pushing and getting better."
If Liberty won Oct. 2, it can wrap up at least a share of the league title Thursday, Oct. 4, at Westerville North and can clinch it outright if it wins that match and beats Westerville Central on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at home.
According to Chapman, Claranne Fechter and Maile Steckelberg have provided consistency, Grace Clark, Taylor Karlo and Abby Erickson have been the biggest threats on offense and Logan Flaugh has provided strong serving and leadership.
Boys soccer team earns title share
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the boys soccer team hopes to wrap up the OCC-Buckeye title outright when it plays host to Olentangy.
The Patriots were 11-1 overall and had clinched at least a share of the league title at 4-0 after beating Westerville Central 2-0 on Oct. 1.
Olentangy was 2-1 in the league before playing Orange on Oct. 2. Central was 2-1-1 in the league after losing to the Patriots.
Liberty, which was fourth in last week's Division I state poll, will learn its postseason fate at the district tournament drawing Sunday, Oct. 7.
Nathan Rothert scored two goals in a 7-1 win over Westerville North on Sept. 25.
Golf teams begin postseason action
The boys and girls golf teams began the postseason Oct. 2 in Division I sectional tournaments.
The boys competed at Turnberry, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Apple Valley.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 on Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The girls played at Westchester, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Cooks Creek.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 on Ohio State's Gray Course.
In regular-season matches Saturday, Oct. 6, the boys will compete in the Wedgewood Showcase and the girls will play in the Pickerington North Fall Classic at Cooks Creek.
Tennis squad hits final stretch
The girls tennis team lost to Dublin Jerome 3-1 on Oct. 1 in a Division I district semifinal of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament.
Liberty, which also lost 4-1 to Columbus Academy on Sept. 26, was 11-6 after losing to the Celtics.
The Patriots' doubles team of sophomores Maddie Atway and Dani Schoenly will begin defense of their Division I state championship when they open the postseason Thursday, Oct. 4, in a sectional at Hilliard Bradley. The semifinals and finals will be held Saturday, Oct. 6.
Atway and Schoenly are the top seed, and the doubles team of seniors Lexie Brengartner and Ellie MacDowell is seeded second.
In singles, senior Anna Gardner is the third seed. Junior Ananya Dhati and sophomore Cathy Zhu also are competing.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 11 and 13 at Reynoldsburg.
Below are the coming schedules for the Liberty boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 6 -- At Mason
*Oct. 9 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Gahanna
*Oct. 9 -- At Olentangy
*Oct. 4 -- At Westerville North. The Patriots beat the Warriors 25-8, 25-12, 25-20 on Sept. 13.
Oct. 6 -- At Hilliard Darby with DeSales and Jonathan Alder
*Oct. 9 -- Home vs. Westerville Central. The Patriots beat the Warhawks 25-11, 25-11, 25-14 on Sept. 20.