Sydney Smith of the Grove City High School girls cross country team got within shouting distance of a Division I state berth for the second consecutive year, only to come up short.

Sydney Smith of the Grove City High School girls cross country team got within shouting distance of a Division I state berth for the second consecutive year, only to come up short.

Smith, a junior, finished 51st (20 minutes, 8.5 seconds) in the regional meet Oct. 31 at Pickerington North as the top 16 individuals advanced to state Saturday, Nov. 7, at National Trail Raceway.

Smith was 45th at regional as a sophomore, but cut almost a minute off her time from a year ago, when she finished in 21:02.07.

That ended what coach Joe Dollins called "our most successful cross country season in over 10 years," given that eight runners between the boys and girls teams posted times that rank in the top 10 in program history.

Smith's time of 19:21 on Oct. 10 in the Hilliard Darby Dash is the fastest for a girl in school history.

Sophomore Maylene Renninger ranks fifth (20:43) and junior Savannah Rutherford is ninth (21:44).

For the boys team, whose season ended Oct. 24 in the district 1 meet at Watkins Memorial, senior Doug McIntire's time of 16:41 ranks third behind John Pacak's mark of 16:24 set in 1998.

Sophomore Evan Whitaker is fourth (17:06), followed by seniors Adam Glass (17:19, seventh), Jarrett Harding (17:25, ninth) and Troy Henricksen (17:28, 10th).

"For many girls, this was their first year running cross country and they exceeded expectations," Dollins said. "The boys team had their first team finish (ever) at (district), and many of those seniors ran their best race of their career. It's the most competitive race of the season. ...

"I am very proud of all 28 runners and all that they accomplished this season. They put in a lot of hard work and it paid off when we raced."

In the OCC-Ohio Division meet Oct. 17 at Pickerington Central, the girls finished fifth (137) behind Central (31), Gahanna (57), Lancaster (63) and Pickerington North (88) and ahead of Newark (161) and Reynoldsburg (194). The boys were sixth (159) behind Central (41), Lancaster (55), Gahanna (59), Newark (87) and North (144) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (180).

The boys team was eighth (184) of 16 teams in district 1 behind champion Thomas Worthington (46) as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional.

Smith was 12th (19:32.72) in district 3, and the girls placed 13th (330) of 18 teams behind champion Watkins Memorial (40). The top six teams and top 24 individuals qualified for regional.

Other expected returnees include junior Rachel Hitchcock and freshmen Alyssa Fuchs and Sumer McWilliams for the girls team, and junior Campbell Rahrig for the boys team.

Comets' Patrick falls short of state

Central Crossing sophomore C.J. Patrick finished 63rd (17:02.1) in his first regional appearance, falling short of a state berth.

He was the Comets' first representative at regional since 2012.

Patrick advanced by virtue of a 16th-place finish (16:34.44) in the district 2 meet Oct. 24 at Watkins Memorial. The boys finished ninth (217) of 15 teams behind champion Hilliard Bradley (49) as the top five teams and top 20 individuals qualified for regional.

The girls team's season ended in the district 2 meet. The Comets had only three runners in juniors Kylee Risinger-O'Malley and Daetona Stasheen and sophomore Diamond Cook, and did not record a team score.

In the OCC-Central meet Oct. 17 at Darby, the boys team finished sixth (165) behind Dublin Coffman (39), Thomas (43), Olentangy Liberty (72), Hilliard Davidson (88) and Marysville (142) and ahead of Upper Arlington (193).

The girls were eighth (246) behind Davidson (40), Liberty (42), Thomas (66), UA (96), Coffman (104), Marysville (192) and Westland (205).

Most Central Crossing runners are expected to return in 2016. Projected boys returnees include juniors Ryan Bachman, Jake Ferenchak and Zach Ferenchak and sophomore Greg Patrick.

For the girls team, which had only six runners, other expected returnees include sophomores Briana Arriaga and Melissa Myers and freshman Mallory Lalonde.