Approaching the finish line in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Oct. 13 at Hilliard Davidson, Westerville South High School cross country runner Ellie Bouton glanced at the clock and quickly displayed a big smile.
The senior easily eclipsed her personal-best time, finishing in 20 minutes, 13.7 seconds to pace the girls team. Her previous best was 21:00.13 in the Division I district meet as a sophomore.
"I saw my time when I crossed the finish line. I'm pretty happy," Bouton said. "I've been working hard all season and our team as a whole has been working really hard. This course is really fast and we were really looking forward to it and it paid off."
Bouton finished 13th of 55 runners as the Wildcats were sixth (133 points) behind Olentangy Orange (38), Olentangy Liberty (44), Olentangy (93), Westerville Central (108) and Westerville North (109).
Bouton is hoping for similar results in the district 2 race Saturday, Oct. 20, at Hilliard Darby. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
"When I came in and grabbed her, I was getting weepy about it," coach Jimmy Gaul said. "I'm so happy for her. Ellie spent the summer in Germany, so when she came back she wasn't feeling real good about her confidence and her fitness. Our plan was to get her ready for the end of the season. These last few weeks are starting to come together for her."
Taylor Hughes finished 25th (20:54.3) in the league meet, followed by Emily Ellsworth (26th, 21:09.4), Karina Deere (35th, 21:35.9), Izzy Kotik (47th, 22:08.4), Marley Jackson (51st, 23:17.3) and Elise Bennett (52nd, 23:21.7).
The boys team finished fifth (130) behind Orange (34), Liberty (47), Olentangy (57) and Central (119) and ahead of North (168).
Cole Koehler was 11th (16:56.3) of 60 runners to lead the Wildcats. Donovan Slattery was 25th (17:28.9), followed by Isaac Combs (33rd, 17:58.4), Anthony Vilardo (42nd, 18:34.1), Liam Allbritton (45th, 18:35.2), Brandon Allbritton (49th, 18:51.7) and Connor Bushman (52nd, 19:07.4).
"That was a season-best (time) for nine of the 10 guys and a bunch of personal bests," Gaul said. "I told them in the huddle before the race, if we go out and leave it all on the course for each other and give our best efforts no matter what happens anywhere else, it's going to be successful day."
The boys will compete in the district 1 race. The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional.
Boys soccer team ready for postseason
In its postseason opener, the boys soccer team will play seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 36th-seeded Mifflin in the second round of the Division I district tournament Saturday, Oct. 20, at the home of the better seed.
The winner plays 13th-seeded Marysville, 20th-seeded Dublin Scioto or 32nd-seeded Logan in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the better seed. The Wildcats played Marysville to a scoreless tie Sept. 11.
South is seeded 15th and is 7-5-4.
Girls soccer team opens postseason
The 23rd-seeded girls soccer team opened the Division I district tournament with a 4-0 win over 29th-seeded Chillicothe on Oct. 15 at home.
South, which improved to 4-10-2, plays at 10th-seeded Orange in the second round Thursday, Oct. 18, with that winner playing fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman or 25th-seeded Thomas Worthington in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed. South lost to Orange 2-1 on Sept. 25.
Volleyball team loses postseason opener
The 39th-seeded girls volleyball team lost at eighth-seeded Watterson 25-12, 25-10, 25-8 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15.
The Wildcats finished 3-19.