Colbi Borland's race-week routine comes with careful planning.
At the start of each week, the junior on the Big Walnut High School girls cross country team creates a "goal card" that includes the names of opposing runners and their times.
"I do a little bit of research, but not too much," she said.
The ritual, combined with hours of training, helped Borland capture her third consecutive OCC-Capital Division title Oct. 13 at Lancaster. She completed the league meet in exactly 20 minutes, finishing 31.1 seconds ahead of the runner-up, New Albany's Sammie Sika, and 53.8 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher, Canal Winchester's Allena Klamorick.
"She does all the little things that you really don't expect a 16-year-old to be thinking of," coach Kevin Lewis said of Borland. "She has set goals, and she's bound and determined to go after them."
Borland's performance helped the girls team place second (46 points) in the league meet, behind New Albany (26) and ahead of Canal Winchester (63) and Newark (118). Franklin Heights and Groveport did not record a team score.
Grace Grunewald was next for the Golden Eagles, placing sixth of 88 runners in 21:24.4. Also scoring were Sierra Sanders (15th, 22:22.6), Grace Unger (17th, 22:32.7) and Madi Yano (18th, 22:35.5).
On the Friday mornings before a Saturday race, Borland puts in several miles of running before school.
Her enthusiasm partly comes from growing up around the sport. Her father, Ryan, is in his 11th season as coach of the Westerville Central girls team and spent 10 seasons as coach of the Otterbein men's and women's teams.
"I love running, and racing is really exciting for me," said Borland, who reached the state meet for the first time last year, finishing 59th (19:14.5) of 173 runners after placing 18th (19:07.1) of 129 runners at regional. "I try and stay positive, and with that brings good things."
The boys team was fifth (124) in the OCC-Capital meet, behind New Albany (44), Canal Winchester (51), Groveport (62) and Newark (80). Franklin Heights did not record a team score.
Christopher Lee placed 14th (18:24.3) of 125 runners to lead the Golden Eagles, followed by Jacob Krous (23rd, 18:49.6), Grady Hemingway (27th, 18:52.8), Drew Armstrong (38th, 19:24.5), Austin Stewart (39th, 19:28.8) and Jatan Pokar (40th, 19:30).
Both teams competed in the Division I, district 3 meet Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby, where the top six teams and top 24 runners advanced to the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
At regional, the top five teams and top 20 runners advance to the state meet Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway.
Football team getting set to face Indians
The football team visits Canal Winchester on Friday, Oct. 26, to close the season.
Big Walnut was 3-5 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Capital before facing Groveport on Oct. 19. The Indians were 7-1 and 3-0 before playing Newark that same night.
The Golden Eagles lost to host New Albany 41-7 in an OCC-Capital contest Oct. 12.
Quarterback Jagger Barnett connected with Nathan Montgomery for an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage, but New Albany dominated the rest of the way.
The Eagles' Michiah Burton rushed for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns in helping New Albany outscore Big Walnut 27-0 in the second quarter.
Volleyball team preps to play Red Raider
The second-seeded girls volleyball team is preparing to play ninth-seeded London in a Division II district semifinal Thursday, Oct. 25, at Licking Heights.
The winner faces fourth-seeded Granville or fifth-seeded Hartley in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, with the district champion advancing to a regional semifinal Nov. 1.
The Golden Eagles improved to 19-4 overall by sweeping 15th-seeded Columbus East 25-5, 25-7, 25-9 in a second-round match Oct. 17 to open the postseason. Kassie Bowmar, Olivia Pollack and Kaley Rammelsberg each had four kills against the Tigers and Machaela Podraza had a team-best seven aces.
Big Walnut defeated Groveport 25-15, 25-17, 25-16 on Oct. 11 to finish 10-0 in the OCC-Capital. The Golden Eagles, who earned their 15th league championship in 19 seasons, won all 10 league matches in three games.
Girls soccer team wins tourney opener
The girls soccer team cruised to an 18-0 victory over 14th-seeded Heath on Oct. 15 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.
Second-seeded Big Walnut was 10-2-4 before playing ninth-seeded Licking Valley in a second-round game Oct. 18. The winner plays third-seeded Jonathan Alder or fourth-seeded Bloom-Carroll in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed.
That winner plays top-seeded Granville, sixth-seeded Buckeye Valley, seventh-seeded Olentangy Berlin or eighth-seeded Caledonia River Valley in the district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at a neutral site to be determined, with the district champion advancing to a regional semifinal Oct. 30.
Season ends for boys soccer team
The boys soccer team lost to sixth-seeded Olentangy 5-0 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament to finish 3-13-1 overall.
The Golden Eagles, who were seeded 43rd of 48 teams in the district, lost to Braves by the same score on Aug. 28.
Big Walnut went 2-2-1 in the OCC-Capital to tie Groveport for third behind champion New Albany (5-0).
The Golden Eagles struggled to score for much of the season, as they were shut out 10 times and totaled 22 goals in 17 games, with 14 of their goals coming in wins over Franklin Heights (8-2 on Oct. 8) and Newark (6-0 on Sept. 25).