Despite being among the final few qualifiers for the Division I state cross country meet, Dublin Jerome High School boys runners Kellen Posacki and Elliott Cook each placed in the top 50 on Nov. 5 at National Trail Raceway.

Despite being among the final few qualifiers for the Division I state cross country meet, Dublin Jerome High School boys runners Kellen Posacki and Elliott Cook each placed in the top 50 on Nov. 5 at National Trail Raceway.

"I was super proud of both of them," coach Dave Wadenstierna said. "If you look at the rankings of where they were supposed to be, they far surpassed it."

Posacki, a junior, placed 33rd (15 minutes, 55.9 seconds) of 186 runners and Cook, a freshman, was 46th (16:07.5).

Posacki was 15th (16:21.8) at regional Oct. 29 at Pickerington North, where the top 20 individuals advanced.

"I was really excited with how I ran at states," Posacki said. "The race went out quickly and I was able to maintain a steady pace, finishing only a second slower than my (personal-best time). It was an incredible experience."

Cook finished 18th (16:21.88) at regional and dropped his time by 14 seconds at state.

"The first 400 meters were nerve-wracking because of the intensity of the start," Cook said. "Overall, I was exhausted at the finish of the race. I pushed myself to the limit during the race and left everything I had in me on the course.

"The experience was great. The atmosphere was insane. The finish of the race is the most unforgettable because of all the noise from the spectators lined up along the fence cheering for the runners. It was an honor to be able to run against the best runners in Ohio."

Jerome finished third (81) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Oct. 15 at Hilliard Bradley, behind Thomas Worthington (27) and the host Jaguars (67) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (99), Scioto (111), Worthington Kilbourne (137) and Delaware (159).

At the district 3 meet Oct. 22 at Watkins Memorial, Jerome placed fourth (104) behind champion Gahanna (67). The Celtics then finished 13th (260) at regional behind champion Thomas (71).

The only seniors among Jerome's competitors in the league meet were Ryan Gartner, Brenden Grace and Shashank Sawant.

Also eligible to return are juniors Jeremy Coad, Andrew Reese and Jake Siddiqui and freshmen Arjun Dhankani and Derek Sanders.

"We've got a very bright future," Wadenstierna said.

Girls soccer team set to return nucleus

Although it is losing eight players to graduation, the girls soccer team is eligible to return its top two scorers, its goalkeeper and other key players.

Jerome reached a Division I regional semifinal, where it lost 1-0 in overtime to Pickerington North on Nov. 1 at Gahanna to finish 14-4-2 overall.

"I'm very happy with the way the season went," coach Kelly Brothers said. "We faced injuries and ups and downs in our play throughout the regular season but pulled together in the tournament and stepped it up. I know the girls are disappointed by our loss in the regional semis. It was a heartbreaker, but I was very happy with how they played."

The Celtics won the OCC-Cardinal title, going 6-0 to finish ahead of Darby (4-1-1), Thomas (3-2-1), Bradley and Delaware (both 2-4) and Scioto and Kilbourne (both 1-4-1).

Senior Ryann Harris (defender), junior Madison Burrier (midfielder) and sophomore Emma Sears (midfielder) all were first-team all-league, juniors Rachel Butler (forward) and Jess Walsh (goalie) and senior Mya Howard (defender) made the second team, senior Erin Griffith (forward) was special mention and senior Deanna Prochko (midfielder/forward) was honorable mention.

Sears had 17 goals and Butler scored 10 to lead the offense, while Walsh finished with 178 saves.

Also eligible to return are junior Abbie Laufersweiler (defender) and freshman Riley Mullady (midfielder/forward).

Jerome was the fourth seed in the district tournament and beat 29th-seeded Westerville South 10-0 on Oct. 20 and 21st-seeded Olentangy Orange 1-0 on Oct. 25 before defeating eighth-seeded Watterson 3-0 in a district final Oct. 29 at Gahanna.

"The returners are excited to come back in 2017 and get after it again," Brothers said. "They're hungry for a state championship."

Boys soccer team again won titles

Despite having to overcome injuries to several members of its defense, the boys soccer team defended its league and district championships this fall.

The Celtics lost to Coffman 6-3 in a Division I regional semifinal Nov. 2 at Gahanna to finish 15-6 overall.

"It's just tough," coach Nate Maust said. "Coffman is a great team. Coming out in the second half, once they found ways to finish, it's really hard to come back from that."

Senior Ben Beuerlein, who was named OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year, led a six-member senior class that also included fellow first-team all-league selection Ben Sobotka (forward).

Also making the first team was junior Chris Dowling (midfielder).

Senior Sam Keener (goalie) and juniors Trevor Johnson (defender) and Carter Patchett (midfielder/forward) both were second team, senior Nikolas Shilo (defender) was special mention and senior Zack Kowatch (defender) was honorable mention.

Sobotka will play for Ohio Wesleyan and Keener has committed to Butler.

Beuerlein, Kowatch and junior Sean Lipps (defender) all were out because of injuries during the tournament loss.

Jerome went 5-1 to win the OCC-Cardinal, ahead of Bradley, Darby and Delaware (all 3-2-1) as well as Kilbourne (2-2-2), Thomas (2-3-1) and Scioto (0-6).

Seeded third in the district tournament, Jerome beat 24th-seeded Reynoldsburg 5-0 on Oct. 22, ninth-seeded Upper Arlington 3-1 on Oct. 26 and 17th-seeded Hilliard Davidson 3-2 on Oct. 29 to win a district title.

"Being OCC champs and winning a district title, it's bittersweet when you get to the regional semi like this and get a chance to play against your rival," Maust said. "(We've got a) good junior group coming back and a really good freshman group that will be sophomores."

Girls runners excited for future

Of the 10 girls cross country runners who competed in the OCC-Cardinal meet Oct. 15 at Bradley, only two were seniors.

The Celtics reached the regional Oct. 29 at Pickerington North despite their youth.

"For us, it was just a big deal to qualify (for regional)," coach Kenny Schuster said. "It was a fun and exciting thing. We could be a very exciting team over the next two to three years."

The only key seniors were Emily Chen, who was 94th (2:19.65) at regional, and Rachel Ferguson, who placed 99th (22:42.63).

The Celtics finished fourth (103) in the league, behind Thomas (34), Darby (68) and Kilbourne (92) and ahead of Scioto (118), Bradley (127) and Delaware (156).

Junior Kathryn Willette placed sixth (19:03.65) in the league meet and led the Celtics again in the Division I, district 2 meet Oct. 22 at Watkins Memorial with an eighth-place finish (19:30.62), as Jerome finished fifth (153) behind champion Olentangy Liberty (55) to earn the final regional berth.

At regional, the Celtics were 16th (403) behind champion Gahanna (97).

Other key competitors for the Celtics were juniors Halley Bentley and Jessica Blake, sophomores Sowbhagya Gosangi, Nicole Bowen and Larkin Thomas and freshman Madison Weigle.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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