A last-second change of heart set up one of the more inspirational moments of the season for the Columbus School for Girls cross country team.

A last-second change of heart set up one of the more inspirational moments of the season for the Columbus School for Girls cross country team.

Sophomore Emma Harris, who had been on crutches all week after sustaining an ankle injury while playing for the soccer team Oct. 17, came close to telling coach Lori Baldwin that she couldn't compete in the Division III, district 2 meet Oct. 22 at Watkins Memorial.

Deciding it would be better to run in pain than stand on the sidelines, Harris entered the race and turned in the team's third-best finish.

Harris, who typically is the Unicorns' No. 2 runner, even overcame a fall on the way to placing 18th in 22 minutes, 39.02 seconds.

Her performance helped CSG place third (72) behind Fisher Catholic (55) and Centerburg (62) and earn one of the four regional-qualifying berths.

The regional meet is 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at Pickerington North. The top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to state Nov. 5 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

"I was really nervous before I ran and was about to tell (Baldwin) that I wasn't going to run," Harris said. "This is the end of the season and district is what you work for, and I wasn't going to give it up for a limp. I love running and I knew my adrenaline would carry me. I wanted it bad enough."

During the first half of the Unicorns' 3-0 soccer loss to Fisher Catholic, Harris sustained an ankle injury that she said swelled immediately and was diagnosed by a doctor as a sprain.

She was close to her typical position during the race despite the pain when she stepped into a puddle and fell.

"I was kind of crawling through the mud, but then I just got up and kept running," Harris said. "I limped when I got up and had about six people pass me, but I got most of them at the end."

Sophie Chatas led CSG by placing fourth (20:18.94) at district. She was followed by Abigail Perrini (11th, 21:32.83), Harris, Erin Balasky (19th, 22:41.06), Alexis Jones (20th, 22:49.2), Julia Mackessay (34th, 24:05.2) and Margaret Keene (38th, 24:50.73).

Harris, who is a first-year cross country competitor, is planning to run in the regional. Last season, the Unicorns finished seventh (187) in the 16-team Division II regional as Chatas advanced to state individually by placing 15th (20:18).

"The girls ran very, very well," Baldwin said. "(Harris) was definitely the star of the meet."

•It was a short but memorable stay in the Division II state tennis tournament for the doubles team of senior Lauren Gerber and junior Tiffany Lau.

On Oct. 21 at Elysium Tennis Center in Plain City, Gerber and Lau lost to Shaker Heights Laurel's Alison Biltz and Danielle Buchinsky 6-4, 6-3 in their opening match.

Biltz and Buchinsky went on to finish second.

It marked the first time since 2007 that the Unicorns had a representative in the state tournament.

"It was fun having so many people come out to support us," Gerber said. "Most of our team was there, so that was nice. The other team was a bit more consistent than we were, but I thought we did a good job."

CSG had six representatives in the district tournament Oct. 14 and 15 on its home court. Junior Jenny Henderson and freshman Linda Yang each advanced to district in singles, as did the doubles team of freshmen Mary Anne Click and Paige Quinton, but only Gerber and Lau moved on to state.

Despite having just one senior among their top players, the Unicorns finished second at 3-1 in the CCL, behind Watterson (4-0) and ahead of DeSales (2-2), Hartley (1-3) and Ready (0-4).

•The soccer team lost to Fisher Catholic 3-0 on Oct. 17 in the first round of the Division III district tournament to finish 3-13 overall.

The Unicorns went 0-4 in the CCL, finishing behind DeSales (4-0), Watterson (3-1) and Ready and Hartley (1-2-1).

Under first-year coach Mindy Hammond, CSG earned victories over Columbus East (9-1 on Sept. 1), Circleville (3-2 on Sept. 24) and Groveport (1-0 on Oct. 1).

The Unicorns will lose seniors Maria Pompili (midfielder), Grace Roslovic (midfielder), Elenor Vorys (forward) and Audra York (defender).

There will be 18 players eligible to return, including six juniors. Among those expected to be back are sophomore midfielder Olivia Beeson (team-high seven goals) and sophomore sweeper Mo Ruff.

"It was a big growing year for us," Hammond said. "They learned their positions and learned a lot of fundamentals this year. We had the toughest schedule by far among the teams in Division III in our area. Our record doesn't show that we were very competitive, but we definitely learned from the experience."