Grace Michel has broken out of her shell with the Hilliard Bradley High School girls cross country team.
The senior has been the Jaguars' top runner all season and has overcome her shyness to become more of a vocal leader.
"I definitely think I have opened up," Michel said. "I am really a shy person and I don't talk a lot. My freshman year, I don't think I even talked to coach (Meghan) Cline. I definitely like to try to get the girls going and get the stretching going and working on core (fitness)."
Cline said Michel has blossomed into a leader that the coaching staff can depend upon at meets and practices.
"When Grace says she went from barely talking to stepping in this year with a 100 percent leadership role, she wasn't exaggerating," Cline said. "If I wasn't there, she could run practice. We have kind of relied on her when we have a staff meeting or things like that that make us a little late. She always has been one of our most valuable runners."
Michel ran her personal-best time of 19 minutes, 34.8 seconds as a sophomore in the Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington.
She led the Jaguars in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Oct. 13 at Davidson, placing 22nd in 21:04.6 as Bradley finished eighth (180 points) behind champion Thomas (29).
Isabella Brooks (32nd, 21:22.1) was next for the Jaguars, followed by Amber Figueroa (36th, 21:31.1), Kate Hittie (50th, 22:05.3), Ella Richardson (60th, 22:34.30), Sonja Maragos (62nd, 22:38.5) and Audrey Schmidt (68th, 23:22.5).
"This season I have been fast in my first mile and I have been trying to slow down," Michel said. "I have been trying to get myself to have more consistent splits."
Michel started running in the seventh grade, thanks to the urging of her father, Brian Michel, an assistant with the girls program.
"I played basketball and soccer through sixth grade, but I don't have the best hand-eye coordination," she said. "My dad got me going out for (cross country) and I love it.
"I like being with people on the runs and talking. I like to also run by myself, but it's nice to talk to people on the longer runs."
The Jaguars will compete in the Division I, district 2 race Saturday, Oct. 20, at Darby, from which the top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
Michel has a 4.35 GPA and plans to major in biochemistry or the forensic sciences, but has not made a college decision and does not plan to run at the next level.
"It has been cool to watch Grace come out of her shell and prepare for her future," Cline said. "It will be very weird without her next year."
The boys team finished sixth (145) in the league meet, behind champion Worthington Kilbourne (55).
Haydon Spaulding placed 12th (16:37.8) to lead the Jaguars, followed by Eli Schneider (20th, 17:01.4), Joshua George (32nd, 17:24.5), Dryden Sawchuk (39th, 17:37.3), Zeke Bennett (50th, 18:07.2), Caden Burkhart (51st, 18:10.6) and Max Lanum (52nd, 18:14.3).
Bradley competes in the Division I, district 1 race Oct. 20 at Darby. The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional.
Girls volleyball team sweeps Wildcats
The 17th-seeded girls volleyball team defeated 24th-seeded Davidson 25-13, 25-19, 25-19 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 to improve to 13-10.
Bradley advanced to play host to 41st-seeded Central Crossing in the second round Oct. 17.
That winner advanced to a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Franklin Heights, where it will face top-seeded Olentangy Liberty, 29th-seeded Groveport or 33rd-seeded Canal Winchester. The district final is Oct. 27.
The Jaguars lost to Liberty 25-10, 25-20 on Sept. 15 in the Kilbourne Tournament.
Girls soccer team routs Falcons
The 13th-seeded girls soccer team rolled past 41st-seeded Franklin Heights 13-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 to improve to 8-7-2.
Bradley advanced to a second-round game Thursday, Oct. 18, at sixth-seeded Davidson. The Jaguars lost to the Wildcats 2-1 on Aug. 17.
The second-round winner plays fifth-seeded Olentangy or 42nd-seeded Briggs in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed. The district final is Oct. 27.
Boys soccer team opens postseason
The 10th-seeded boys soccer team was 9-5-2 overall before playing 42nd-seeded Briggs in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17.
The winner plays 17th-seeded Gahanna in the second round Saturday, Oct. 20, at the home of the better seed. The Jaguars defeated the Lions 1-0 on Aug. 30.
The second-round winner faces eighth-seeded Westerville Central, 44th-seeded Newark or 47th-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed. The district final is Oct. 27.
Tennis season ends at district tourney
Senior Corinne Dixon and sophomore Nina Kisin of the girls tennis team lost their first-round doubles match in the Division I district tournament Oct. 11 at Reynoldsburg to conclude the season.
Dixon and Kisin lost 6-1, 6-0 to Olentangy Orange's Erin Storrer and Kortney Reed, who went on to place third to advance to the state tournament Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
The Jaguars finished 7-9 overall and placed sixth (3-4) in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion Jerome (7-0).