The accomplishments just keep piling up for the Westerville high school boys cross country programs.

The accomplishments just keep piling up for the Westerville high school boys cross country programs.

One week after North won its first league title in nearly three decades, last Saturday at Watkins Memorial the Warriors endured muddy conditions to win the first district title in school history. Not to be out-done, Central's boys finished fourth in its section and advanced to regional for the first time.

Toss in the South's boys team placing fourth in its section of the district, and Saturday's Division I regional at Pickerington North is set to be a coronation for Westerville distance running.

"It was a red letter day for Westerville," North coach Dave Weaner said after the first time all three Westerville schools have qualified for the regional.

North finished with 68 points in section 2, edging runner-up Dublin Coffman by five points. The Warriors were led by twins Jeff and Brian Hannaford, who earned the top two spots in the race with times of 16:39 and 16:54, respectively.

Brian Hannaford passed four runners in the final half-mile to finish runner-up.

"(Brian) turned in a phenomenal race," Weaner said. "With Coffman just five behind us, you can attribute three or four spots directly to him."

With the victory, North reaches the regional as a team for the first time since 2004. The program has not been to state as a team since 1996.

Central was fourth in Section 1 with 92 points. The Warhawks were just three points behind third-place Dublin Jerome and 70 points ahead of fifth-place Watkins Memorial.

"At this point, it's all about moving on," coach Jason Loughman said. "We had some positives and some things we need to work on, but we're excited about the way we performed."

Central had three all-district finishers -- Brandon Shirey (seventh), Dan Steigerwald (ninth) and Josh Edens (18th).

South came in fourth (97) behind North in Section 2. The finish marks the first time since 2001 an entire South team will compete at regional.

"This is my fourth year, and for four years we've been talking about getting to regionals," coach Jimmy Gaul said. "I'm so proud of the guys and how hard they've worked all season. For them to go out and compete the way they did in unbelievable conditions was a special thing."

All three coaches agreed that the regional race will be a tight battle for the four spots which earn a trip to state. The consensus was that Pickerington North and Dublin Coffman would be the teams to beat, with Reynoldsburg a favorite for the third spot.

That means as many as seven teams realistically could finish in that coveted fourth position.

"It's going to be an interesting race," Weaner said. "I think we can be anywhere from second to fifth or sixth."

Loughman pointed to New Albany, Upper Arlington, Olentangy Liberty and Darby as teams that will be in the mix with the Westerville programs.

"We've beaten all of them at one point during the season, but they've also beaten us at some point," Loughman said. "There's six or seven teams that could be third or fourth on any given day."

Central junior Sara O'Brien will be the city's only representative at the DI girls regional race.

O'Brien finished 13th in Section 2 with a time of 21:13. Individuals not on a qualifying team who finish in the top 16 advanced to the regional meet.

"I thought I ran pretty well," said O'Brien, whose team came in fifth, one spot and 10 points shy of reaching regionals as a team. "It was bittersweet."

South's girls placed 10th in section 3, while North came in11th.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Westerville Central, North and South boys and girls cross country teams:


Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished 5th (92) behind champion Pickerington North (38) in Section 1 of the Division I Central District meet at Watkins Memorial. Brandon Shirey (17:24) was seventh, followed by Dan Steigerwald (ninth, 17:27) and Josh Edens (18th, 17:12); Girls: Finished fifth (137) behind champion Dublin Scioto (23) in section 2 of the Central District Championship meet. Sarah O'Brien was 13th (21:13), followed by Megan Jahn (29th, 21:58), Natalie Pinney (30th, 21:59) and Catherine Ubry (31st, 22:02).

Saturday -- The boys team will run in the Division I regional race (2:50 p.m.) at Pickerington North. O'Brien will run in the DI girls race (12:35 p.m.) at North.


Last Saturday -- Boys: Won (68) section 2 of the Central District championships ahead of runner-up Dublin Coffman (73). Jeff Hannaford (16:39) won the race, followed by Brian Hannaford (second, 16:54), Jacob Dumford (14th, 17:46) and Ryan Weldon (22nd, 18:04); Girls: Finished 11th (253) behind champion Canal Winchester (59) in section 3 of the Central District Championship. Madison West (22:10) finished 34th.

Saturday -- The boys team will run in the Division I regional race at Pickerington North.


Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished fourth (97) behind champion North in section 2 of the Central District Championships. Adam Kendrick (17:33) was 12th, followed by Hasso Opitz (15th, 17:48) and Amir Askari (21st, 18:02; Girls: Finished 10th (252) in section 2 of the Central District Championship. Leah Coleman (21:44) finished 26th.

Saturday -- The boys team will run in the Division I regional race at Pickerington North.