The season gradually has come together for the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys and girls cross country teams.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, both teams will compete in the Division I regional meet at Pickerington North, with the top five teams and top 20 individuals advancing to state Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway.
While the boys team is coming off its second district championship in three seasons, the girls followed a district runner-up finish last fall with a third-place finish despite losing its No. 1 runner, Claire Steigerwald, to graduation.
"We want to keep getting better," girls coach Ernie Ziegler said. "All these girls are coming back next year, and we want to re-establish that hunger and pride."
Freshman Alyssa Shope, who according to Ziegler is "tough and coachable," finished 10th in 19 minutes, 29.2 seconds to lead the girls in the district 3 race Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby. She helped the Lions score 100 points to place behind Hilliard Davidson (25) and Lancaster (99) as 15 teams scored.
Shope, who missed time during the regular season because of injury, was followed by juniors Riley Dickson (18th, 19:51.7) and Tara Shope (22nd, 20:04.4), sophomore Elise Wunderlin (23rd, 20:04.5), seniors Ari Redmond (27th, 20:20.1) and Areli Ramos-Ochoa (32nd, 20:32.3) and junior Grace Morrica (73rd, 22:11.9).
The boys scored 63 points to win the district 1 race as 13 teams scored. Junior Riley Jackson was runner-up (15:58.7), followed by junior Ben Towler (fourth, 16:01.2), sophomores Steffano Molina (11th, 16:27.5) and Connor Hughes-Hemsoth (20th, 16:56.7), senior Mitchell Webb (26th, 17:17.6), junior Ryan Mehalic (29th, 17:20) and senior Evan Pfeifer (31st, 17:22.9).
"There were four OCC team champions in (district 1), and something we talked about was that five teams in our district have won an invitational this year," coach Ryan Beck said. "Our regional is so deep, so the biggest thing is getting our time compression down from our first through fifth score. Our five, six and seven guys have to show up and run with confidence, and I believe they will."
Girls soccer team makes district semi
The seventh-seeded girls soccer team played host to 20th-seeded Westerville North in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 23.
The winner plays top-seeded Watterson or 14th-seeded Marysville in a district final Saturday, Oct 27, at a neutral site. The district champion plays Dublin Jerome, Olentangy Liberty, Darby or Upper Arlington in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Jerome. The regional final is Nov. 3.
The Lions improved to 10-2-5 with a 7-0 win over 37th-seeded Licking Heights in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 18. Katie Stafford scored two goals against the Hornets.
Junior corps should return in volleyball
Although the girls volleyball team had a five-member senior class, a trio of juniors should return next season to lead the way.
Junior middle hitter Anna Nie led the Lions in kills with 207, junior middle hitter Lexie Tatum was second in kills with 163 and junior setter Kailey Mishler led in assists with 406.
Gahanna was the 16th seed and had its season end with a 23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16 loss to eighth-seeded Watterson on Oct. 17 in the second round of the Division I district tournament to finish 11-11.
The Lions are losing seniors Madison Martinez (libero), Helena Buccilla (defensive specialist), Grace Yaw (defensive specialist), Jewelee Pritchard (right-side hitter) and Arin Owens (middle hitter/outside hitter).
"We unfortunately were not as consistent as we needed to be," coach Molly Martin said. "We had five seniors, and they produced this year. We do have some juniors and sophomores that will be stepping into those roles."
Others eligible to return include junior Lacey Stringer (outside hitter/right-side hitter), sophomores Kortney Grimm (outside hitter/middle hitter) and Sophia Hill (outside hitter/right-side hitter) and freshman Kendall White (setter).
Boys soccer team falls to Bradley
The 17th-seeded boys soccer team had its season end with a 1-0 shootout loss to 10th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20.
The game was tied at the end of regulation and overtime, and the Jaguars won 4-3 in the shootout to advance to a district semifinal.
The Lions, who had a first-round bye, finished 5-6-6.
Gahanna is losing 12 seniors, led by Tareeq Chambers (midfielder/forward), Bachir Diane (forward) and Logan McDonald (defender).
Juniors Alex Baker (midfielder), Noah Erick (defender), Josh Gates (midfielder/forward), Jarrett Lukacsko (midfielder), Payton Smith (goalkeeper) and Dominic Spradlin (defender), sophomore Jimmy-Luka Dragich (midfielder/forward) and freshman Niko Kokales (midfielder) are among the expected returnees.