The Watterson High School boys and girls cross country program has had plenty to smile about thus far this season.

The Watterson High School boys and girls cross country program has had plenty to smile about thus far this season.

However, according to coach Matt McGowan, now is not the time for his runners to get comfortable.

"We've won a team trophy at every invitational so far, but we still have work to do before the end of the season to be competitive in the CCL (meet) and Division I (district meet)," McGowan said. "We lost five of our top seven girls from last year, but have had a number of seniors move up to varsity as well as a good group of underclass girls. On the boys side, we lost our top runner from last year, but our juniors have made vast improvements from last year and our seniors are starting to get in shape."

Senior Sam Mikula ran 19 minutes, 39 seconds on Sept. 10 to finish first in the Northland Invitational on Sept. 10 as the girls team scored 20 points to win the 15-team meet. Other key runners have included seniors Alessandra Cunningham, Ashley Samuelson and Anna Stinnet, sophomore Emily Latshaw and freshman Sarah Heink.

The boys team scored 44 points to win the 15-team Northland Invitational, with junior Nick Kuraly placing second (16:52). Other key runners have included seniors Grant Bonnell, Mike Grunenwald, Nick Haley and Ross Kuhn and juniors Shane Merklin, Patrick Monnin and Jim Ryan.

Football team set for Benedictine matchup

The football team's recent history against Cleveland Benedictine has featured a series of streaks.

After losing three in a row to the Bengals from 2002-04, the Eagles won five in a row from 2005-09.

They didn't face each other the next four years but resumed their series in 2014 with Benedictine winning 34-24 on its way to the Division III state championship.

Watterson lost to the Bengals 27-7 last season, when Benedictine made it to the third round of the Division III, Region 8 playoffs and the Eagles reached the second round of the Division III, Region 9 playoffs.

This season, Benedictine is in Division III, Region 10 and Watterson is in Division III, Region 11. The Eagles will play host to the Bengals on Friday, Sept. 23.

Watterson fell to 1-3 with a 10-7 loss to visiting St. Charles on Sept. 16 in its CCL-Silver Division opener. That same night, Benedictine lost to Erie (Pennsylvania) Cathedral Prep 42-35 to drop to 1-3.

The Bengals have a new coach in Carter Welo, a former Cleveland St. Ignatius and Notre Dame College assistant.

Watterson was hoping to build on its offensive performance in a 27-14 win over Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit on Sept. 9 against St. Charles. Instead, it was held to just 134 yards of offense.

The Eagles' offense has featured senior Adam Kasun and junior Nick DePalma at running back and junior Cole Andrews at quarterback.

Kasun rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown against St. Charles.

"Adam Kasun has run the ball really well," coach Dan Bjelac said.

Girls soccer team enduring close games

The girls soccer team has had a lot of close games this season.

The Eagles were 3-2-4 overall and 2-0 in the CCL before playing Ready on Sept. 20. Through nine games, three of their five contests that didn't end in a tie were decided by one goal.

Watterson beat Upper Arlington 3-2 on Aug. 27 and Columbus School for Girls 8-0 on Aug. 30 in its CCL opener before tying three of its next four opponents. It then defeated DeSales 2-1 in a league game Sept. 15 behind goals from senior forward Emily Ganz and freshman midfielder Isabella Ginnochi and seven saves by senior goalkeeper Christina Simmons before tying Olentangy at 1 on Sept. 17 behind a goal from junior forward Olivia Rotolo and five saves by Simmons.

Ganz and senior forward Priscilla Severance each scored to lead the offense in a 3-all tie with Perrysburg on Sept. 10 and senior defender Regina Severance scored the only goal in a 1-all tie with Marysville on Sept. 8.

Girls tennis squad having strong season

Before closing CCL action Sept. 20 at DeSales, the girls tennis team was 3-0 in the league after beating Hartley (Aug. 23) and Ready (Aug. 30) by 5-0 scores and Columbus School for Girls 4-1 on Sept. 13.

Watterson fell to 6-3 overall with a 3-2 loss to Pickerington North on Sept. 14.

Against CSG, Claire Ghidotti (first singles), Haley Rague (second singles), Bridget Fountain and Sami Morse (first doubles) and Abbey Giesler and Sarah Jonesco (second doubles) all were victorious.

Winning against North were Jenna Mar (third singles) and Rague and Gabby Kappel (first doubles).

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

Below are coming schedules for the Watterson cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 24 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster

FIELD HOCKEY

*Sept. 22 -- At Columbus Academy

Sept. 24 -- Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown and Shaker Heights at Thomas Worthington

Sept. 28 -- At Dublin Coffman

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 24 -- Watterson Invitational at Clover Valley

Sept. 25 -- CCL postseason tournament at Pinnacle

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 24 -- Watterson Invitational at Clover Valley

Sept. 25 -- CCL postseason tournament at Pinnacle

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 27 -- At Hartley

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 22 -- At Dublin Coffman

Sept. 24 -- At Olentangy Liberty

GIRLS TENNIS

Sept. 26 -- At Olentangy

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Hartley

*League contest