The Hilliard Davidson High School girls cross country team will be using its regional finish as motivation when it competes in the Division I state meet Saturday, Nov. 7, at National Trail Raceway.

The Hilliard Davidson High School girls cross country team will be using its regional finish as motivation when it competes in the Division I state meet Saturday, Nov. 7, at National Trail Raceway.

The Wildcats hung on in the 16-team regional meet Oct. 31 at Pickerington North to earn the fourth and final state berth. They totaled 112 points to finish behind Granville (93), Olentangy Liberty (94) and Watkins Memorial (104) and just ahead of fifth-place Pickerington Central (121).

"I was watching and waiting for my teammates and was getting anxious and nervous," said junior India Johnson, who was the individual champion, finishing first of 121 runners in 17 minutes, 58.1 seconds. "But we made it and we'll use this for motivation just like we did last year when we were second in the regional and third at state.

"We're not happy at all with fourth place, but we're going to state with our heads high. We're thankful to make it and we'll be pumped up. We know one bad day is not a reflection of what we can do."

Davidson will be making its sixth consecutive state appearance.

Liberty's Emma Bower (18:08.6) was the regional runner-up. Also competing for the Wildcats were Jane Onders (18th, 19:19.9), Meghan Sculli (20th, 19:27.9), Sophie Lewis (38th, 19:52.3), Mia Zerkle (43rd, 20:01.3), Rachel McManamon (96th, 21:02.8) and Ellie Tighe (100th, 21:06.8).

"We need to improve our tactics," coach Nate King said. "We got a little strung out. We need to run smarter and finish better."

Bradley finished 10th (246) at regional but will be represented at state by senior Diedre Oliver, who finished 15th (19:09.6) as the top 16 individuals advanced.

Also competing for the Jaguars were Regan Corea (33rd, 19:50.1), Eliza Alpeter (73rd, 20:35.2), Clarimar Segarra-Ibanez (74th, 20:36.3), Grace Michel (83rd, 20:48.8), Jenna Trivette (114th, 22:06.2) and Lizzie Hofinger (120th, 23:33.5).

Darby had two individuals compete at regional. Junior Kayla Mayer finished 26th (19:37.9) and sophomore Abby Cannon was 30th (19:47.2).

Darby boys team advances to state

The Darby boys team followed coach Mark Tremayne's plan to earn a berth in the Division I state meet.

The Panthers finished third (149) at regional, four points ahead of fourth-place Dublin Coffman and six points ahead of fifth-place Liberty. Watkins Memorial (113) won the meet and Thomas Worthington (116) was second.

"In order for us to do this, we had to have at least one guy finish in the top 16 and win the battle of the (Nos.) 3-through-5 runners," Tremayne said. "The neatest thing about this is that we've done it with our top runner, senior Daniel Reynolds, battling injuries the past month. The team has rallied in support of him. He was 27th in the regional (16:31.7) after finishing sixth last year at regional and 16th at state."

Senior Spencer Strohm was up to the challenge, finishing 13th (16:03.3) of 123 runners to lead the Panthers. Junior Ellis Farson (40th, 16:42.5) was Darby's third finisher, followed by Jayson Shoemaker (46th, 16:46.2), Zach Farrell (47th, 16:46.6), Josh Baldridge (75th, 17:15) and Grant Akers (78th, 17:17).

"Spencer stepped up big for the team with his best performance," Tremayne said. "He beat guys he had never beaten before and it was an amazing effort on that course. Farson elevated his game and pulled the rest of the guys up along with him. I'm so proud of all of them."

Bradley was eighth (208) and Davidson finished 11th (241) at regional, and neither team had an individual state qualifier.

"Our regional had eight of the top 16 teams in Ohio," Tremayne said. "It's a real bear. I mean, Bradley won a district championship and then finished eighth at our regional. No other regional was even close to being this deep or difficult to advance from."

Senior Ahmed Hamed (20th, 16:22.6) led the Jaguars. He was followed by Rob McCabe (22nd, 16:24.6), Daniel Butchko (44th, 16:45.7), Drake Stephens (73rd, 17:14.7), Franklin Fiqueroa (85th, 17:24.1), Cullen Bober (109th, 18:12.2) and Alex Lewis (120th, 18:47.8).

Competing for the Wildcats were Andrew Tighe (42nd, 16:43.6), Matthew Rose (49th, 16:47.3), Adam Hoover (54th, 16:54.3), Christopher Egolf (67th, 17:07), Patrick Keck (74th, 17:15), Andrew Taylor (82nd, 17:21.4) and Max LeClair (90th, 17:27.7).