For Westerville South High School senior Ellie Bouton, her dedication to the girls cross country program has paid off with a trip to the Division I regional meet Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
Joining Bouton in the race will be promising freshman teammate Emily Ellsworth.
Bouton and Ellsworth earned their regional berths in the district 2 meet Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced.
Ellsworth finished 20th of 113 runners in 20 minutes, 19.4 seconds to lead the Wildcats.
"Emily is really good swimmer, so she's in the transition period between two seasons, trying to figure it out," coach Jimmy Gaul said. "She's a freshman at the end of her first high school season, but what I've learned about her this season is she doesn't say much, but she's a very tough competitor."
Bouton was 23rd in 20:24.
"This is four years of hard work and training and a lot of effort from (Bouton)," Gaul said. "From where our girls program has been the last handful of years, trying to find our way out of a rut back into a competitive place as a team, Ellie has been on her own for a lot of that. I'm happy for her."
Bouton is looking forward to her first regional meet and plans on entering it with a basic goal.
"It's a chance to get (a personal record) again, so that's my goal," she said. "This is my senior year and it's amazing for me to make it to regional."
At regional, the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to state Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway.
"I was seeded 23rd coming into (district) and I finished 23rd, so I'm pretty happy with how things went," Bouton said. "I'm really excited. I'm just going to go into (regional) with a positive attitude and see how things turn out."
South finished ninth (227 points) in the 16-team district race behind champion Granville (34).
Taylor Hughes was 50th (21:21.3), followed by Karina Deere (60th, 21:40.1), Izzy Kotik (74th, 22:19.5), Emma Henderson (85th, 23:13.5) and Marley Jackson (94th, 24:06.3).
Season ends for boys runners
The boys cross country team's season came to a close when it finished 11th (267) in the 13-team district 1 race behind champion Gahanna (63).
The top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional.
Senior Cole Koehler just missed earning a regional berth, as he finished 22nd of 97 runners in 17:12.6.
Donovon Slattery was 42nd (17:50.3), followed by Isaac Combs (66th, 18:41.1), Anthony Vilardo (67th, 18:47.8), Brandon Allbritton (70th, 19:07.4), Liam Allbritton (71st, 19:09.6) and Ian Anderson (80th, 19:44.7).
Girls volleyball team finishes season
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 to finish 3-19 overall.
"Although we had a challenging season in regard to our record, these young ladies showed growth in many different ways," coach Veronica Brownlee said.
The Wildcats played their final four matches without junior outside hitter Anyssa Jones, who sprained her left ankle in a 25-18, 25-7, 25-11 loss at Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 2.
South will lose five players to graduation, including outside hitter Maria Hays and setter Peyton Guice.
"My seniors contributed a strong work ethic and overall sense of leadership," Brownlee said. "A special recognition to two of my seniors, Maria and Peyton, along with Anyssa, who literally carried this team on their backs every single game of every single match played."
Others eligible to return include juniors Josephine Appiah (middle hitter), Melanie Kowalski (right-side hitter) and Promise Winston (middle hitter).
South went 0-10 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish sixth behind champion Liberty (10-0).
Girls soccer team loses in second round
The girls soccer team saw its season end with a 1-0 loss at 10th-seeded Olentangy Orange in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18.
The 23rd-seeded Wildcats defeated 29th-seeded Chillicothe 4-0 in the first round Oct. 15.
"We played a tough schedule and were very competitive," said coach Mark Wise, whose team finished 5-11-1 overall.
South will lose nine players to graduation, including goalkeeper Jenna Villacres, who has committed to Murray State.
"They are great players, good students and all-around good kids," Wise said of the seniors. "I have had the privilege of having most of them on the varsity team for four years and I am not sure what we will do without them. They have set new standards for Westerville South girls soccer that will be hard to live up to."
Players eligible to return include juniors Ruthie Curry (midfielder), Kayla Kozik (midfielder), Mae Riggs (midfielder), Savannah Roush (defender), Emma Secrest (midfielder) and Samantha Varney (defender) and freshman Trinity Gonzalez (goalie).
The Wildcats went 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye Division to tie Westerville Central for fifth behind champion Olentangy (5-0).
Boys soccer team falls in second round
After a first-round bye, the 15th-seeded boys soccer team lost at seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 1-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20.
Goalie Russell Montemarano had eight saves for the Wildcats, who finished 7-6-4.