Paula Wilson made a commitment to Whitehall-Yearling High School athletics as a freshman, and she's proud that she has remained dedicated.

While some of her girls cross country teammates missed the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic on Sept. 30 at London Country Club because of homecoming and other commitments, Wilson still competed and was 84th of 105 runners in 26 minutes, 29.4 seconds.

"I'm an athlete and since we have so few girls, I try to make it a habit to come to every meet unless it's urgent that I can't come," said Wilson, who also plays on the girls soccer team. "Homecoming is something afterwards. It's nothing serious, so I can do two things. I want to do both."

Wilson admits she's not the fastest runner on the team. However, she feels a responsibility as the lone senior on the squad to support her teammates and not waiver on her four-year commitment.

"I try to be a leader," Wilson said. "Even though I'm not the fastest on the team, I try to help the other girls. I try to get us to push each other (and) try to set goals."

Selamawit Alebachew led the Rams in the London meet, finishing 55th in 23:20.7. Shamya Wilson (70th, 24:32.5) and Yabesera Tadesse (86th, 26:40.4) also competed, but Whitehall did not have the necessary five runners for a team score.

Gahanna finished first (30 points) of 15 teams, ahead of runner-up Olentangy (55).

Coach Gabriela Ivoska expects to have a full team for the Rams' final regular-season meet, the Johnstown Harrier Showdown on Saturday, Oct. 7.

"We have a lot of potential with these girls, especially the sophomores," Ivoska said. "Paula is a senior, but she's a great leader for these girls and she's also a dual athlete."

The Rams are tuning up for the MSL-Ohio Division meet Oct. 14 at London High School. They then will compete in a Division I district meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial.

"These girls are strong athletes and hopefully by the league meet we'll be in shape to do well," Ivoska said. "We'll have a full team by then."

Charles leads boys
runners in London meet

Chris Charles continues to lead the boys cross country team, as he finished 58th (18:39.3) of 133 runners in the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic behind champion Liam Kerr (16:21.2) of Grandview.

Mikel Wilson was 74th (19:17) and Josiah Cambron finished 102nd (20:57.4).

Whitehall finished 17th (459) of 19 teams behind champion St. Charles (50).

"The kids that are here at today's meet, they're the ones that come to practice every day, they're the most committed, Ivoska said. "I know they're not all happy with their times, but it was a very tough course. I'm not worried about their times now."

Ivoska was filling in for boys coach for Robert Taylor, who is recovering from knee surgery. She said Taylor expects to return before the end of the season.

Football team
bounces back

The football team heads into its game Friday, Oct. 6, at Liberty Union looking to build on a 24-12 win over visiting Grandview on Sept. 29.

The Rams improved to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio.

Liberty Union, which is in its first season in the MSL-Ohio, fell to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the league with a 28-6 loss at London on Sept. 29.

After losing 31-14 at Columbus Academy on Sept. 22, in what coach Rod Lightfoot called a disappointing performance, Whitehall bounced back with a strong effort against the Bobcats.

"We had a good week of practice," Lightfoot said. "We talked about a lot of things as far as working together and trusting each other, and we got back to being what the Rams are capable of being."

Quarterback Raymell Byrd threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Rasheed Muhammad and added a 25-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. Byrd finished with 76 yards passing and 166 rushing.

"We're in a five-game season now and (Sept. 29) was our first step of trying to reach our goals as far as the league is concerned," Lightfoot said. "They overcame some of the issues we had and it was nice to see."

Lightfoot said efforts from Joachim Bailey at running back and Antonio Martinez on the offensive line were keys to the win.

For the season, Byrd has rushed for a team-high 836 yards and nine touchdowns on 117 carries, and Muhammad has 471 yards and five touchdowns on 90 carries.

Byrd has completed 38 of 89 passes for 613 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, and O.C. Wellman has 15 catches for 260 yards and one touchdown.

Liberty Union managed just 138 total yards against London. Cole Peardon scored on an 80-yard run in the second quarter.

"Liberty Union concerns me because they have tremendous size up front and they have really capable skill players, so we're going to have our hands full every week," Lightfoot said. "It's a five-week (league) schedule and we can't take anybody lightly. It's going to be a tough road to haul, but if we keep playing like we played (Sept. 29) and we don't regress, we can compete with anybody in the league."

Boys soccer team
earns first win

The boys soccer team earned its first win under first-year coach T.J. Mohammed, defeating Worthington Christian 3-2 on Sept. 30 at home as Bereket Woldeamanuel scored two goals.

The Rams, who are 1-3-2 overall and 1-2-1 in the league, tied Academy at 1 on Sept. 18 as Lauro Guijosa scored.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Oct. 7 -- Johnstown Harrier Showdown at Sportsman Club

BOYS SOCCER

Oct. 5 -- At Zanesville Rosecrans

*Oct. 6 -- Home vs. London

Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Mifflin

GIRLS SOCCER

Oct. 5 -- At Franklin Heights

*Oct. 7 -- At London

*Oct. 9 -- At Bexley

Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Johnstown

GIRLS TENNIS

Oct. 5, 7 -- Division I sectional at Upper Arlington. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 12 at Hilliard Bradley and Oct. 14 at UA.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Oct. 7 -- At Worthington Christian. The Rams lost to the Warriors 25-21, 25-15, 25-16 on Sept. 14.

Oct. 9 -- At Westland

*League contest