ThisWeek Staff Writer

Pickerington High School North led a competitive field in the Division I regional boys cross country meet Saturday on its home course.

On a muddy and particularly slow track, the Panthers had all five runners finish in the top 40 and won the team title with 75 points. Reynoldsburg was second with 118 points, followed by New Albany (139) and Dublin Coffman (147).

"Like I was telling the guys, this is not finesse today," North coach Tim Starkey said. "You've got to put your head down, mudder through it and battle the next guy. It's like in elementary school, racing that style. I want to beat you more than you want to beat me."

Daniel Garleb of North won the individual title in 17 minutes, 4.64 seconds, followed by Jeff Hannaford of Westerville North (17:11.64) and Pickerington North's Nick Hissirch (17:12.72). Garleb said he started to make his move about a half-mile into the race, and with about a half-mile left, it started to sink in that he would win his first regional title.

"Once I went into the woods, I was like, 'I can push for about 500 meters, and then I'll be all good,'" Garleb said. "I looked back, and I didn't think anyone could catch me, so I just tried to soak in the moment the last little bit. It was pretty nice."

The state meet is Saturday at Scioto Downs.

New Albany was led by Blake Taneff in fifth (17:23.38), and Coffman was paced by Adam Davidson in 12th (17:36.68). For Reynoldsburg, it relied on a tight pack of three runners out front, led by Lamar Booker in 18th (17:53.11).

Other individual qualifiers were Luis Carbajal of Dublin Scioto (fourth, 17:22.69), Micah Armbrust of Big Walnut (sixth, 17:24.78), Jay McKenna of Hilliard Darby (seventh (17:32.17), Kenta Shimizu (eighth, 17:34.51), Brendan Long of Upper Arlington (10th, 17:37.14), Evan Schwartz of Whetstone (17:37.22), Nick Schneider of Dublin Jerome (13th, 17:40.16), Tyler Ross of Olentangy Liberty (14th, 17:43.35) and Nathan Moore of Davidson (15th, 17:43.95).

In the girls race, Dublin Scioto and Canal Winchester were able to advance to the state meet. Scioto scored 71 points to finish second, behind Sylvania Northview (61) and ahead of Toledo Notre Dame Academy and Canal Winchester (131).

Scioto was led by Sakiko Minegawa in eighth (20:32.68) as the Irish had three runners in the top 14. For Canal Winchester, Emily Pifer led the way with a fourth-place finish (20:07.62)
Jessica Hoover of Davidson led all area runners by finishing third (19:54.62), behind Meredith Wagner of Northview (19:22.57) and Allison Stillwell of Dresden Tri-Valley (19:48.39). The only other area qualifiers were Allison Magee of UA in 10th (20:34.39) and Megan Collins of Coffman in 16th (20:47.36).