The Olentangy Orange High School cross country teams again are expected to make their marks on central Ohio courses.
The girls won both of their first two meets and the boys have a formidable 1-2 punch that will lead the way while the remainder of the lineup becomes seasoned.
The girls won the Panther Division of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 25 at Pickerington North, scoring 70 points to edge runner-up Liberty (78).
"This year we have a lot of depth on our varsity team," said fifth-year coach Rae Schuh, whose team finished second (56) in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet last season behind Liberty (36). "If we can stay healthy, I can see us continuing to do well."
Allie Guagenti is back for her senior season after battling plantar fasciitis in her right foot last fall and during track and field season. She finished 49th (19 minutes, 3.5 seconds) in the Division I state meet as a junior after placing second (17:35.7) as a sophomore and seventh (18:13.9) as a freshman.
"Right now our whole varsity team is healthy," said Schuh, whose team was 17th (375) of 20 teams at state last fall behind champion Centerville (122). "Allie took some time off after track and is ready to have a great senior season."
Guagenti finished fourth (19:14.59) at North to lead Orange, followed by senior Lindsay Ott (ninth, 20:04.96), freshman Corrine Hazel (12th, 20:19.63), junior Paige Benecke (19th, 20:44.71), freshman Abby Schroff (26th, 21:04.84), senior Grace Frye (47th, 21:41.7) and sophomore Medha Patria (55th, 21:58.19).
On Sept. 1 in the Dual at the DeWine's, the Pioneers won the title on sixth-runner tiebreaker after Orange and Cincinnati Ursuline both scored 28 points.
Others with a chance to run varsity are juniors Ally Clifford, Olivia Dieckmann, Izzy Marcelo and Alyssa Wallace and freshmen Bella Homorody and Monica Paredes.
Senior Andrew Schroff and junior Alex Kenish are the top runners for the boys team, which finished third (92) in the opener behind Gahanna (85) and host North (87).
"Gahanna and Pickerington North are supposed to be two of the best teams in central Ohio, so it was good to run right with them in our first race," said sixth-year coach Adam Walters, whose team finished second (46) in the OCC-Buckeye last fall behind Liberty (31). "We have another good top two runners. Last year we had (2018 graduate) Tommy Wintering and Andrew Schroff, and this year we have Andrew and Alex."
Schroff was fourth (16:17.19) and Kenish was eighth (16:36.15) at North, followed by sophomores Jake Etheridge (24th, 17:24.83), Lincoln Weber (25th, 17:26.66) and Cole Benishek (31st, 17:32.47), senior Aidan Emhuff (35th, 17:34.84) and junior Cody Moore (40th, 17:42.15).
Also looking to contribute are senior Merek Helmer, juniors Joseangel Fernandez and Jay Shin and sophomore Justin Nichols.
"The guys have had a really good summer and they are dedicated and ready to get things going," Walters said.
Strong nucleus fuels field hockey team
The field hockey team is unbeaten and has not surrendered a goal through four games.
The Pioneers have eight starters back from a team that finished 8-8-1 overall last season and tied Dublin Jerome for fifth (2-4-1) in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West behind champion Thomas Worthington (7-0). They play the defending state champion Cardinals on Monday, Sept. 10.
"We're really excited because we think this could be our best year yet," said fourth-year coach Anna Karousis, whose team is 3-0-1 overall and 2-0 in the league. "Our girls have worked hard in the offseason and they are ready to make a statement in the league."
The top returning scorers are sophomore forward Sydney Lowry (3 goals, 53 steals, 46 interceptions), junior midfielder Hannah Brown (2 goals, 3 assists, 97 steals, 145 interceptions) and junior forward Averie Ogden (1 goal, 2 assists, 14 steals, 17 interceptions).
Junior Josie Vance has moved from midfielder to forward and has four goals this season.
Returning starters on defense are seniors Josie Carcamo (27 steals, 33 interceptions) and Abby Stedman (31 steals, 106 interceptions) and juniors Taylor DiSabato (57 steals, 47 interceptions) and Mia Jakubowski (20 steals, 68 interceptions).
The lone blemish for the Pioneers is a scoreless tie against New Albany on Aug. 27.
They opened with a 3-0 win over Bexley on Aug. 20 before defeating Olentangy 2-0 on Aug. 22 and Berlin 3-0 on Aug. 29 in a pair of league games.
Sophomore goalkeeper Chloe Fuller has made seven saves in the four shutouts.
"The strengths of this team are the depth of our starters and the hustle and determination that they bring to every game," Karousis said. "The only weakness is that they are in uncharted territory in relation to the high goals and expectations that they have set for themselves."
Girls look to clinch third OCC golf title
The girls golf team hopes to earn a third consecutive league title in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Buckeye tournament Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Cooks Creek.
The Pioneers are 15-0 and Liberty is second at 13-2. Senior Ashley Au leads the league with a 70.7 average.
Orange finished first in the third round Aug. 29 at Royal American, shooting 329 as the Patriots were second (360). Au (73) was first and Riley Dean (79) was second. Also scoring were Natalia Sompolvorachai (82) and Sydney Krupp (95).
Cabungcal leading boys golf team in league
Through three rounds of OCC-Buckeye play, senior Alex Cabungcal of the boys golf team is tied for third in league average at 75.67.
The Pioneers are second (7-5) behind first-place Liberty (10-2). The final round is Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Darby Creek.
In the third round Aug. 28 at Denison Golf Club, Orange finished first (318) ahead of runner-up Westerville Central (319) as Nathan Brown and Cabungcal were co-medalists (73). Also competing were Corbin Bentley (85), Brendan Cabungcal (87) and Jake Smith (95).
Aug. 25 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Sept. 1 -- Dual at the DeWine's in Cedarville
Sept. 8 -- Tiffin Carnival
Sept. 15 -- Otterbein Invitational
Sept. 22 -- Centerville Night Lights
Sept. 29 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at Hilliard Bradley
Oct. 6 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 13 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Davidson
Aug. 20 -- at Bexley
*Aug. 22 -- at Olentangy
Aug. 27 -- vs. New Albany
*Aug. 29 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
*Sept. 10 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 12 -- at Hartley
Sept. 15 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 17 -- at Dublin Jerome
*Sept. 19 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 22 -- vs. Dayton Oakwood
*Sept. 24 -- vs. Upper Arlington
*Oct. 1 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
Oct. 4 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Oct. 6 -- vs. Kettering Fairmont
*Oct. 8 -- at Dublin Scioto
Oct. 10 -- vs. Granville
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 6 -- Berlin at Bent Tree
Sept. 8 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Buckeye at Darby Creek
Sept. 6 -- Dublin Coffman and New Albany at Blackhawk
Sept. 8 -- Eagle/Panther Invitational at Cooks Creek
Sept. 10 -- Kettering Alter Invitational at NCR
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Buckeye at Cooks Creek
Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Beechcroft
Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Big Walnut
Sept. 8 -- Home vs. Watterson
*Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Westerville North
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown
Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
Sept. 11 -- At Columbus School for Girls
Sept. 12 -- At Watterson
*Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
Sept. 8 -- Home vs. Hartley
Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Pickerington North