Eric Acton has been around Bexley High School cross country for quite a while.

Eric Acton has been around Bexley High School cross country for quite a while.

He has coached the boys and girls teams for 29 seasons and graduated from the school in 1979, but he said the program had a significant first Oct. 29 when both teams qualified for the Division II state meet.

The boys and girls both finished sixth in their regional races at Pickerington North. The top six teams and top 24 individuals qualified for state Saturday, Nov. 5, at National Trail Raceway.

"We have gone to state separately as teams, but not both in the same season," Acton said. "It's exciting. Both teams ran smart races and stayed within themselves."

The boys advanced to state for the first time since 2004, totaling 217 points and finishing behind fellow state-qualifiers Heath (103), Eastmoor Academy (141), Thornville Sheridan (161), Granville (203) and Buckeye Valley (209).

Senior Peter Hayden led the Lions, finishing third (16 minutes, 18.64 seconds) behind Buckeye Valley's Zach Kreft (15:29.82) and Heath's Taylor Hopkins (16:13.22).

Hayden will be making his third state appearance after finishing 22nd (16:19.4) last fall and 60th (17:05.26) as a sophomore.

"It's going to be great to have all of the boys and girls training with me," he said. "It's always a pick-me-up to run with the guys and have them there other than just for support.

"It's not the same feeling, running (at state) as an individual. Cross country is kind of an individual sport, but it isn't exactly the same with the rest of the guys at the start with you."

Also competing at regional for the boys were Theo Snowdon (25th, 17:10.24), Miles Feinknopf (58th, 17:50.49), Sam Warner (84th, 18:11.95), Andrew Rogers (93rd, 18:27.76), Aaron Rothchild (109th, 18:44.8) and Eric Crane (133rd, 19:12.69).

"Theo had a surprising race and I think he surprised himself," Acton said. "He must have passed 25 guys in the last mile. Because he ran so well, the other guys chased him and they improved their times."

Molly Fagin (eighth, 19:36.03) and Julia Cohen (ninth, 19:39.86) led the girls. Fagin will be making her second consecutive state appearance after finishing 83rd (20:20.9) last season.

"When you have a 1-2 punch like Molly and Julia, you can have some space between the top three (runners)," Acton said. "Julia is healthy and has good form right now. Molly and Julia push each other in practice and make each other better."

The girls team will be making its first state appearance since 2010 after finishing with 178 points at regional. Carrollton had the same score, but was fifth because of a better time by its sixth runner.

Granville (82), Fairfield Union (123), Minerva (124) and Liberty Union (170) also advanced.

Also running for the girls were Claire Flora (60th, 21:37.65), Lindsay Berndt (65th, 21:46.68), Kayla Steinke (85th, 22:20.91) and Virginia Anderson (106th, 23:33.76).

Field hockey team doubles win total

The field hockey team finished 10-8 overall, doubling its wins from 2015 when it went 5-12.

The sixth-seeded Lions lost to third-seeded Olentangy Liberty 10-1 on Oct. 25 in a district semifinal. Senior goalkeeper Ali Ford had 44 saves and senior forward Amber Grubb scored.

The Lions had a first-round bye before defeating seventh-seeded New Albany 4-0 on Oct. 19 in the second round.

Bexley finished sixth (2-5) in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division, behind Columbus Academy (7-0), Watterson (6-1), Worthington Kilbourne (5-2), New Albany (4-3) and Granville (3-4) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (1-6) and Hartley (0-7).

"Overall, I'm proud of the improvement shown over last season," said coach Kara Whitlach, who completed her 14th season. "A huge area of improvement was scoring. Last year we only scored a total of 16 goals, but this year we had 51."

Junior midfielder/forward Ellie Palmer (second-team all-league) led the Lions in scoring with 21 goals and six assists, followed by senior forward Emily Cammeyer (honorable mention all-league; 10 goals, 11 assists), Grubb (10 goals, 1 assist) and senior midfielder Han Ta (first-team all-league; 5 goals, 11 assists). Ford (honorable mention all-league) had 144 saves.

Also expected back are sophomores Bea Anderson (forward/midfielder), Tess Baker (midfielder/forward), Mackenzie Cory (defender), Emma Easley (defender), Meredith Eddy (forward), Margaux Harding (midfielder), Evie Lewis (defender), Ailbhe McCann (defender), Ellie Rupp (midfielder/forward), Zoe Touris (defender/midfielder), Maddy Vincent (forward), Annie Walker (midfielder) and Elizabeth White (goalie).

Top boys golfers expected to return

The boys golf team did not defend its Division II state title, but sophomore Trevor Binau was medalist in the state tournament Oct. 14 and 15 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

Add to that, the Lions lose only one senior in Josh Meyer, leaving 14th-year coach Jimmy Ryan optimistic his team also will be a state power next fall.

"As good as we were this year, we have a chance to be even better next year," Ryan said. "Trevor played well for us and we'll have three more (who played at state) back."

At state, the Lions were fourth (654) of 12 teams behind Cincinnati McNicholas (627), Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (643) and Piketon (651).

Binau shot a 144 for medalist honors as 72 golfers competed.

Meyer shot a 161 (tied for 22nd), followed by junior Zander Kauffman (174, tied for 49th), sophomore Aaron Meyer (175, tied for 51st) and junior Will Hoyer (184, tied for 66th).

The Lions won their second consecutive district title Oct. 5 at Apple Valley with a 299. Binau shot 72, followed by Kauffman (73), Josh Meyer (76), Hoyer (78) and Aaron Meyer (87).

In a sectional Sept. 27 at The Players Club at Foxfire, Binau was medalist with a 73 as Bexley won with a 325.

The Lions finished second (13-2) in the MSL-Ohio behind Academy (14-1) and ahead of Worthington Christian (9-6), Grandview (6-9), West Jefferson (3-12) and London (0-15).

Binau was MSL-Ohio Player of the Year, averaging 70.3 in the three rounds of league play. Josh Meyer also was first-team all-league, while Hoyer and Kauffman were second-team all-league and Aaron Meyer was honorable mention.

Junior Michael Johnson, sophomore Vinnie Pernotto and freshman Tyler Roberts also are expected to return.

Girls soccer team falls to Big Walnut

The girls soccer team lost at third-seeded Big Walnut 3-1 on Oct. 26 in a Division II district semifinal.

Senior goalkeeper Renata Russo had seven saves and senior forward Emmy Huefner scored for the seventh-seeded Lions, who finished 7-7-4.