A year ago, Shelly Navarre simply was thrilled to run in the Division I state meet.

A year ago, Shelly Navarre simply was thrilled to run in the Division I state meet.

As a freshman, Navarre was the only runner from Upper Arlington High School -- boys or girls -- to compete at state. She finished 28th in 19 minutes, 1.84 seconds.

Navarre will run at state again this year Saturday at Scioto Downs, and she'll have plenty of company as the girls team advanced, too. UA finished third (79) at the regional last Saturday at Pickerington North behind Cincinnati Oak Hills (61) and Kings Mills Kings (72).

The top four teams and 16 individuals advanced.

"That is really cool," said Navarre, who was 16th (19:41.76) last Saturday. "Last year, I was really lonely. It's just not the same without your team being there. I'm really looking forward to going out there and compete alongside them."

Michelle Thomas of Cincinnati Glen Este won individually in 17:59.89, ahead of runner-up Brooklyne Ridder of Oak Hills in 18:00.83.

Katie Rutherford led UA in ninth (19:18), with Allison Magee 13th (19:36). Also running for UA were Allison Gilbert (26th, 20:11), Sarah Griffith (36th, 20:20), Hannah Craig (49th, 20:34) and Sarah Hobbs (90th, 21:34).

"We really excited for the state meet," Navarre said. "We think we can do better."

"We didn't run poorly," coach Dale Hartney said. "It's not like it was absolutely horrible. We were just a little off from the week before. The regional is the toughest race you have to win. There is a lot of pressure.

"The nicest thing anybody said to me after the race was (Griffith) said, 'That wasn't us today. We'll be better next week.' I'll take her word."

Navarre isn't the only UA runner to have state meet experience. Rutherford ran last year in the Division II race for DeSales and finished 15th (19:06.48). Also, Griffith and Magee competed in 2006 when the Bears finished 14th of 16 teams.

The team was scheduled to have their walkthrough and run a little at Scioto Downs last Wednesday.

"We'll run it lightly and some segments we'll run harder," Hartney said last Monday. "This is not a hard week anyhow. Right now, the biggest things are resting and getting yourself mentally ready. I think we can be in the top four. That would be a great finish. In our world we seem to focus on the team that won and forget the others."

•The boys team finished 14th (315) of 16 teams at the Division I regional as Hilliard Davidson (76) won.

Individually, Davidson's Yoshi Shimizu was first (16:05). For UA, Andrew Giljahn was 45th (17:08), followed by Spencer Gardner (58th, 17:19), Joey Mikac (92nd, 17:48.60), Wes Ewing (93rd, 17:48.60), Chris Navarre (97th, 17:50), Brandon Sega (98th, 17:53) and Jack Tiberi (127th, 18:52).

UA's Sarah Hobbs leads a pack of runners last Saturday at the Division I regional cross country meet at Pickerington North. The girls squad finished third to advance to state.

Jack Tiberi and the boys team placed 14th in the 16-team regional.