Sophomore Audrey Bannister of the Dublin Scioto High School girls cross country team earned a return trip to the Division I state meet with a strong showing at regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
Despite battling illness, Bannister finished eighth of 133 runners in 19 minutes, 9.5 seconds.
"Audrey ran OK," coach Matt Suttle said. "She was still not back to full-go after being sick all last week, but still got eighth. Getting out was the main goal this week, so she did what she needed to."
Last season at state, Bannister placed 37th of 173 runners in 18:51.4.
Scioto finished 14th (352 points) of 17 teams at regional, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (38), as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to state.
Also at regional, Lauren Chapman was 67th (21:09.3), followed by Molly Sarver (99th, 21:51.3), Ashley Carr (110th, 22:06.5), Ally Thornbloom (126th, 23:00.3) and Avery Samms (132nd, 23:35.).
"The team finished great," Suttle said. "We were not supposed to make it out of district, so we were the lowest-seeded team by far at regionals. Beating Jerome, along with two other teams, was a nice way to finish the year."
Scioto finished ahead of New Albany (15th, 373), Westerville North (16th, 297) and Jerome (17th, 402).
Sam Thomas of the boys team also qualified for state, finishing 11th of 127 runners in 16:21.
The junior will be competing at state for the first time.
"Sam ran a tough and gritty race by putting himself in position early in the race to qualify for state," coach Kevin Foley said. "In championship races, you have to take risks -- smart risks -- and that is what Sam did."
Scioto finished ninth (234) of 16 teams, behind champion Davidson (95).
Trevor Page was 27th (16:57.6), followed by Ali Latif (36th, 17:08.3), Spencer McClellan (90th, 17:47.7), Jackson Jordan (112th, 18:29.1), Dylan Walsh (119th, 18:53.1) and Justin Ward (121st, 18:55.2).
"We could not have possibly done any better than that," Foley said of his team's ninth-place finish. "We finished ahead of a few teams that we have not beaten and we had not come close to beating during the season. This is a great way to end our season, by establishing a building block for next season."
Boys soccer team falls in district final
The boys soccer team capped a strong season under first-year coach Erik Ekis by reaching a Division I district final.
The 20th-seeded Irish lost 2-0 to third-seeded St. Charles on Oct. 27 at Hartley to finish 10-6-4 overall.
Goalkeeper Ben Bolyard, who was one of six seniors, had six saves.
Scioto, which finished 2-15 last season, defeated seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 2-1 in a district semifinal Oct. 24. With the win, the Irish avenged a 5-1 loss to the Wolves in an OCC-Cardinal Division contest Sept. 20.
Freshman midfielder Jayden Lunsford scored the game-winning goal in the rematch with 1:34 remaining. Senior midfielder Joonhwan Yoo opened the scoring in the first half.
"The boys have been an inspiration to all of us all season," Ekis said. "We do the best we can to inspire and organize. When push comes to shove, the players take the field, the players win their individual battles, the players play as a team. They have to decide that they want to compete and this year the boys really rose to that occasion. We're so lucky to be coaching these guys."
Scioto went 4-2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Jerome for second behind champion Kilbourne (6-1). The Irish defeated the Celtics 2-0 on Oct. 9.
Junior defender/midfielder Zack McQuade was named first-team all-district and all-league and junior defender/midfielder Gavin Wigg was first-team all-league and third-team all-district.
Bolyard and juniors Marshall Smilonich (forward) and Jayden Tharp (midfielder/forward) were second-team all-league, Lunsford was special mention all-league and Yoo was honorable mention all-league.
Other players eligible to return include juniors Aidan Bunner (midfielder), Max Cebada (midfielder/forward), Declan Farrell (goalie) and Collin McKenzie (defender) and sophomores Shea Adesso (defender/midfielder), Jesus Arellano (midfielder) and Braden Cunningham (midfielder/forward).
Girls volleyball team posts winning season
The ninth-seeded girls volleyball team lost to 11th-seeded DeSales 25-20, 25-23, 25-20 in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 23 to finish 18-7 overall.
"I'm really proud of my kids and the season we put together," said coach Jackie Wilson, whose team went 12-13 last season. "These girls really understand what it means to be a team -- to be happy and excited for each other, to care about each other and push each other to get better."
The Irish finished second in the OCC-Cardinal at 12-2, behind Kilbourne (13-1).
Senior outside hitter Natalie Hutras was first-team all-district and all-league and sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Karleigh Rothe was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Junior outside hitter Lauren Erickson was second-team all-league and freshman outside hitter/defensive specialist Ayva Leon was honorable mention all-league.
Other players eligible to return include juniors Lucia Adams (middle blocker), Lena Beasley (middle blocker) and Marlae Davis (outside hitter) and sophomores Abby Leonard (setter) and Ashleigh Rothe (setter/opposite hitter).