The Thomas Worthington High School girls cross country team anticipated winning its third consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division championship.
The Cardinals did that and more in the league meet Oct. 13 at Hilliard Davidson.
"We really wanted to work on some things and win the title," coach Andy Cox said. "We wanted to close the (time) gap from our No. 1 (runner) to our No. 5 and we did that significantly. To have six of the top 10 finishers is pretty exciting. It was fun just to watch them race.
"We finally got some good running weather. We went from 89 degrees in the (Les) Eisenhart (Invitational at home on Oct. 6) to 49 degrees (in the league meet)."
The Cardinals scored 29 points in the league meet to finish well ahead of runner-up Olentangy Berlin (99) as well as Dublin Jerome (109), Kilbourne (113), Dublin Scioto (118), Hilliard Darby (119), Delaware (154) and Hilliard Bradley (180).
Gia Napoleon finished third of 75 runners in 18 minutes, 25.8 seconds and was followed by Lydia Miller (fourth, 18:40.1), Carina Napoleon (fifth, 18:57.8), Tori Banks (eighth, 19:42), Morgan Edwards (ninth, 19:44.2), Michelina Guerra (10th, 19:50.1) and Naya Roebke (19th, 20:51).
"Having those three up front really makes a difference, but of the three, only Lydia had a (personal record)," Cox said. "The difference was the work of the rest of the girls. We got PRs from our fifth, sixth and seventh runners. They really went to work hard on fixing that gap.
"We had smiles all the way around. Michelina is a freshman who ran her best times in the mile, two-mile and 5K and she was grinning ear to ear she was so excited. I think we'll see even more PRs (this) week at district because that's when we're expecting to peak with the training schedule we've had."
Led by Zubin Jha and Nate Johnson, the boys team finished second (65) in the league meet, behind Kilbourne (55) and ahead of Darby (72), Jerome (90), Scioto (93), Bradley (145), Berlin (155) and Delaware (246).
Thomas had won the league title the past two years.
Jha was second (16:04.3) of 73 runners behind Jerome's Elliott Cook (16:00.4) and Johnson finished fifth (16:14.2). They were followed by Noah Silliman (15th, 16:42.3), Andres Mira (21st, 17:06.8), Jack Caine (22nd, 17:08.4), Wesley Horton (29th, 17:22.8) and Victor Nash (31st, 17:24.2).
Both teams will compete in the Division I, district 1 meet Saturday, Oct. 20, at Darby, where the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
Field hockey team opens postseason
The field hockey team closed the regular season Oct. 10 by beating Watterson 4-1 and took a 15-1 record into the district tournament.
The Cardinals are seeded second in the district and had a first-round bye before playing 17th-seeded Lancaster in the second round Oct. 16.
The winner plays eighth-seeded New Albany or 13th-seeded Olentangy in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at a site to be announced. This district final is Oct. 27 at Olentangy Liberty.
Against Watterson, Althea Chan scored two goals, Sarah Charley had a goal and two assists, Bella Avila had a goal and goalkeeper Isabelle Parese made seven saves.
Girls water polo team set for state
The girls water polo team will compete in the state tournament Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at Cincinnati Princeton.
The Cardinals, who finished the regular season 11-19, are seeded sixth of 10 teams and will open against third-seeded Upper Arlington.
The boys team, which finished the regular season 7-21-1, is off this weekend and will compete in the state tournament Oct. 26 and 27 at Mason and Princeton.
The Cardinals are seeded eighth of 13 teams and open against ninth-seeded Milford.
Boys soccer team opens postseason
The 21st-seeded boys soccer team lost its final two games of the regular season and was 4-10-2 before playing host to 33rd-seeded Northland in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17.
The winner plays at ninth-seeded Upper Arlington in the second round Saturday, Oct. 20. That winner likely will play at third-seeded St. Charles in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 24. The district final is Oct. 27.
Postseason begins for volleyball team
The 25th-seeded girls volleyball team was 8-14 overall before playing at 15th-seeded Delaware in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.
The winner plays host to 37th-seeded Mount Vernon in the second round Thursday, Oct. 18, with that winner advancing to a district semifinal Oct. 25 at Whitehall.
Thomas won three of its final five regular-season matches. The Cardinals defeated Darby 25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 25-13 on Oct. 9 and lost at Kilbourne 25-8, 25-17, 25-15 on Oct. 11 to finish 3-11 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Girls soccer team beats Stallions
The 25th-seeded girls soccer team defeated 26th-seeded DeSales 2-0 in the first round of Division I district tournament Oct. 15 to improve to 4-9-3.
The Cardinals play at fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman in the second round Thursday, Oct. 18. That winner faces 10th-seeded Olentangy Orange, 23rd-seeded Westerville South or 29th-seeded Chillicothe in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed. The district final is Oct. 27.
Thomas closed the regular season Oct. 11 with a 2-0 loss to Orange.
Zeller's golf season finishes at district
Senior Aaron Zeller represented the boys golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
Zeller, who was competing at district for the third time but first as an individual qualifier, shot an 80 to tie for 33rd of 72 golfers. He shot 41 on the front nine and 39 on the back.
"I started on the back and went par-par, but I had a bogey on No. 12," Zeller said. "Still, I had a 39 and thought I was still in good position to make a good run on the front. But then I unfortunately had a triple-bogey at No. 1. That was disappointing because I hit the fairway but had trouble around the green. I had a few bogeys from there and just could never recover from the triple(-bogey).
"But I enjoyed my time golfing for Thomas. It was a good experience and I've had a lot of fun playing the sport I love."
Zeller qualified for district by carding a 77 in a sectional Oct. 2 at Turnberry to earn the fourth and final individual qualifying berth.
The Cardinals placed fifth in the 13-team sectional with a 320, as Liberty (303), Gahanna (304), Pickerington Central (307) and Pickerington North (311) advanced.
Sophomore Noah Jackman carded a 78 to fall one stroke shy of forcing a playoff for a district berth. Also competing for the Cardinals were freshman Paari Kaviyarasu (80), sophomore Colin Corbett (85) and junior Josh Towns (88).
The Cardinals finished 6-22 in the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament to place seventh behind champion Jerome (28-0). Zeller had a 77.5 league average to be named first-team all-league.
Xie falls short in district tourney
Senior Sarina Xie of the girls tennis team capped her prep career in the Division I district tournament Oct. 11 at Reynoldsburg.
Xie, a four-time district qualifier, lost to Jerome's Katherine Wang 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.
Xie advanced to district by going 4-1 and placing second in a sectional Oct. 5 and 6 at Bradley. She lost 6-1, 7-5 to top-seeded Nicole Santoso of Scioto in the final.
Also in singles at sectional, senior Ellie Brown and junior Riley Dodson went 0-1. In doubles, juniors Sydney Cooke and Katie Haydel-Brown went 0-1, as did senior Anna Kravtsova and sophomore Winney McKahan.
The Cardinals finished 9-7 overall and went 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to share third place with Berlin, behind Jerome (7-0) and Scioto (6-1).