Ever the numbers-crunching perfectionist, Hilliard Davidson High School boys cross country coach Pat Schlecht couldn't contain his satisfaction after the Division I, district 1 district meet Oct. 22 at Watkins Memorial.

Ever the numbers-crunching perfectionist, Hilliard Davidson High School boys cross country coach Pat Schlecht couldn't contain his satisfaction after the Division I, district 1 district meet Oct. 22 at Watkins Memorial.

After a two-year absence, the Wildcats were back in trophy territory. They used a strategy Schlecht wasn't sure would pay off - and still isn't completely sure of - to score 42 points, beating runner-up Dublin Jerome by 16 points.

Davidson took two extra weekends off during the regular season in hopes of saving energy for the postseason and cutting down on injuries. Ryan Caulley placed third (16 minutes, 11.69 seconds) in district 1 to lead the Wildcats, with Garrett Knapik (seventh, 16:49.53) and Collin Burdette (eighth, 16:52.76) also placing in the top 10.

"We haven't raced very much," Schlecht said. "We were running real well early (in the season) and wanted to train and save (for the postseason). We're not sure how this experiment is going to work out yet, but we've taken steps in the right direction two weeks in a row. We're getting better. We'll see what happens next week and the rest of the fall."

Davidson placed second (38) to Dublin Coffman (31) in the OCC-Central Division meet Oct. 15 at Westerville North.

The top five teams and top 20 individuals in districts 1 and 2 and the top six teams and top 24 individuals in district 3 advanced to the regional meet on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Pickerington North.

The top four teams and top 16 individuals at regional advance to the state meet Nov. 5 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

In addition to Davidson and Jerome, also advancing to regional in district 1 were Central Crossing (92), Reynoldsburg (101) and Pickerington Central (124).

New Albany won its third consecutive district title, scoring 64 points in district 2 to edge OCC-Capital rival Hilliard Bradley (72). Also advancing to regional from district 2 were Pickerington North (74), Westerville Central (80) and St. Charles (136).

In district 3, Coffman scored 58 points to hold off runner-up Olentangy Liberty (61) for the title, with Westerville North (118), Watkins Memorial (136), Lancaster (141) and Marietta (142) also advancing to regional.

Reynoldsburg senior Tsehaye Hiluf won his third consecutive district title, finishing the district 1 race in 15:53.95, almost 17 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Jerome's Jake Mandel (16:10.25). Hiluf, who placed 15th at state last year, admitted he simply hoped to get through the district race unscathed in preparation for the regional.

"(The course) was muddy for some of it," Hiluf said. "I just ran as hard as I could and hoped it was enough. I just wanted to prepare and stay healthy for next week. I thought I would win. I just took it easy for next week."

New Albany's top runners, Austin Bach and Sebastian Matt, were fourth (16:17.62) and fifth (16:29.65), respectively, in district 2, but Eagles coach Chad Olinger lauded the effort of his team's fifth runner, David Stanislav, who finished 24th (17:34.36), one place and .69 seconds ahead of Bradley's fifth runner, Richie Gopel (17:35.05).

"We don't do what we did (at district) without (Stanislav)," Olinger said. "It's a cumulative effort, but it's because David was where he was (at district) in the race."

Olentangy Orange's Danny Meyung finished first in district 2 in 16:01.26, with Westerville Central's Brandon Shirey (16:06.9) and Bradley's Troy Kelleher (16:13.33) rounding out the top three.

Coffman senior John Sotos ran a personal-best 15:53.63 to finish first in district 3 and lead the Shamrocks, who placed five runners in the top 21. Liberty's Andrew Johnston was runner-up (15:58.39) and Coffman's Adam Davidson was third (16:01.05).

"Our goal as a team was to go out fast with the mud (that was on the course)," Sotos said. "We figured it would be hard for other teams to catch up and I just kind of hung on and stuck in there. I felt good, so I just took off and went."

•The conventional wisdom throughout the girls high school cross country community heading into the Division I regional meet on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Pickerington North might best be described as "wide open."

Although Dublin Coffman appears to be a favorite to earn one of the four state-qualifying berths, as many as six teams could be in the mix for the other three spots. The top four teams and top 16 individuals at regional advance to the state meet Nov. 5 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

Coffman had little trouble winning the district 1 meet Oct. 22 at Watkins Memorial despite the absence of two of their top competitors, including No. 1 runner Rachel Bosworth.

Also capturing district titles were Dublin Scioto in district 2 and Hilliard Davidson in district 3. The next two finishers behind the Wildcats, Upper Arlington and New Albany, also seem to be in line to battle for a state berth, as could district 1 runner-up Olentangy Orange and district 2 runner-up Olentangy Liberty.

"I think it's probably five teams for four spots," Scioto coach Matt Suttle said. "You can't predict how it's going to go at the regional. We're hoping for one of those four spots and we're in a position if we run well."

After winning the OCC-Central Division title Oct. 15 in 19 minutes, 18.1 seconds, Bosworth didn't compete at district because of a calf strain. Also out was Mechelle DeNoble, who was the Shamrocks' No. 6 runner in the league meet.

The Shamrocks still managed to easily win the district 1 meet, scoring 43 points as Clarissa Bons led with a third-place finish (19:43.74). Anna Weber (seventh, 20:05.39) and Julia Fries (eighth, 20:20.27) also made the top 10.

It was the second consecutive district title for Coffman.

"I was pleased, especially because we didn't know we wouldn't have (DeNoble) until (the day before the district meet)," Shamrocks coach Jim Ferguson said. "The rest of the kids packed it in.

"Scioto has been solid all year long and Davidson is getting better every week. You can't count out Upper Arlington. The nice thing is that we don't have any Cincinnati teams coming up or Toledo teams coming down for (the regional) as has been the case the last few years."

Winning individual district championships were Canal Winchester senior Kayla Scott (18:54.25) in district 1, Reynoldsburg freshman Leah Wallace (19:22.85) in district 2 and Dublin Jerome junior Kaitlyn Willette (19:04.55) in district 3.

Keeping pace with Scott in the district 1 race was Olentangy Orange junior Hannah Hartzell, who ran 18:55.1 to finish as runner-up.

Scott struggled to a 36th-place finish at the regional last year but found out after the season that she had been battling mononucleosis. She doesn't plan to let anything stop her from making it to state this weekend.

"(Hartzell's) a great competitor for me," said Scott, an Ohio University recruit. "I felt really confident during my race and I'm excited for the regional. I'd like to just qualify individually this year."

Jerome coach Kenny Schuster, whose team finished fifth in district 3, couldn't have been more pleased with the performance of Willette.

"It was a really big thing for us," Schuster said. "She really hasn't been challenged too much this year. It's a tough call to know how to prepare her (for the regional) because the ultimate goal is to do well at the state meet. Having said that, she's comparable to the other two district champions and I'd definitely like to see her go for it. She's a gutsy runner."

Davidson survived a 15-team district 3 meet by having five of the top 12 finishers. Lauren Hoover led the Wildcats by placing sixth (19:42.05), followed by Caroline Hildebrand (seventh, 20:15.76) and Lilly Saniel-Banrey (20:20.1).

Pickerington North's Kristen Eisenhauer was runner-up (19:16.63) in district 3 and Upper Arlington's Olivia Menden (19:23.3) and Dorrian Jaffe (19:28.03) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

"We have a really solid pack this year," Hoover said. "We have a really strong top five that are really close. We'll probably taper a little bit since it's regional week, but mainly we just want to mentally stay focused for regionals and go after some of the main teams like Coffman, Scioto, UA and New Albany.

"I think I'm doing pretty well. I'm still not exactly where I want to be, but I think it'll come."

Wallace followed her run to an OCC-Ohio title Oct. 15 by winning the district 2 title in convincing fashion over the runner-up, Zanesville's Sarah Kaufman (19:40.53).

"It was actually good competition," Wallace said. "The Zanesville girl really pushed me. I'm not really concerned about time. It's more about getting into a good place in the race and staying there. I'm excited just to go out there and have fun."

Jessica Cronau (third, 19:50.82) and Rebecca Groh (fourth, 19:57.6) led Scioto in district 2. Senior twins Minori Minagawa (eighth, 20:12.9) and Sakiko Minagawa (ninth, 20:22.45) also made the top 10.

"They all ran pretty well," Suttle said. "Cronau and Groh really stepped up. It was not that (the Minagawa sisters) ran horrible, but they were not as sharp as we were hoping they'd be. To get six girls in the top 15, though, is pretty good."