The Upper Arlington High School cross country program's two Division I state qualifiers have taken different roads to the meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at National Trail Raceway.
Heidi Heuerman of the girls team will be participating in her third state meet. She finished 31st last year and 60th as a sophomore in 2016.
Meanwhile, Thomas Richter is in uncharted territory as the boys team's first state qualifier in nine years.
Heuerman finished fourth (18 minutes, 54.2 seconds) of 133 runners at regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North, easily earning a state berth as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.
About 2 1/2 hours earlier, Richter finished 18th (16:32.7) of 127 runners in the boys race, becoming the first boys runner for UA to make state since Brendan Long in 2009.
"I am really proud to be out there representing my team," Richter said. "I know I wish we would be out there (Nov. 3) as a team, but still, I will enjoy going out there and representing my friends and my school. I have so much thanks for (my teammates). Me being out there is a team effort. I appreciate all of them."
The boys scored 183 points and finished seventh of 16 teams at regional, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (95). Also scoring for the Bears, who were seeking their first state berth as a team since 2004, were Daniel Owens (38th, 17:09.4), Charlie Nowinski (48th, 17:13.7), Jack Amling (49th, 17:14) and Nathaniel Swords (71st, 17:27.4).
"The goal was to make it as a team, but for what we've done recently here, I am extremely proud," boys coach Scott Meyers said. "One of the other coaches came up to me and said, 'Upper Arlington is back.'
"Thomas ran well. If he did what he was supposed to do, he'd be fine. We're still dancing. It's survive and advance at this point. I don't care if he got first or 20th, he's in (at state)."
The girls finished ninth (231) of 17 teams at regional, behind champion Davidson (38).
Heuerman was followed by Megan Kiehl (57th, 20:49.8), Eileen Dunn (62nd, 20:58.9), Mallory Sharp (72nd, 21:14.7) and Danika Ratnapradipa (75th, 21:18.5).
Heuerman said she abandoned her usual strategy, starting near the front of the pack and remaining there virtually the entire race on a course that was extremely muddy in many places because of several hours of rain.
"It's all about placement, so I'm pretty pleased with that and not worrying about times right now," Heuerman said. "I usually go out slower and then try to catch up in the last couple miles, but (at regional) I wanted to make sure I went out so I still had contact with the other racers and could place highly. I made sure I went out fast and stayed there."
Richter said he was as far back as 40th after the first mile but steadily improved, surviving some physical action in the process.
"It was a little rough," Richter said. "There was a lot of slipping around and people were shoving, which wasn't too fun, but we got through it."
Boys water polo team places third at state
The boys water polo team finished third in a high-scoring state tournament, going 2-1 and defeating fifth-seeded Cincinnati Princeton 16-15 in the third-place game Oct. 27 at Mason.
UA, which finished 25-9, averaged 14.3 goals per game in the tournament. They opened with a 14-11 win over sixth-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier in the second round Oct. 26 and fell to second-seeded Cincinnati Sycamore 15-13 in a semifinal Oct. 27.
Senior Alec Caswell had seven goals and junior Jake Meyer scored four in the final. They finished as the Bears' top two scorers this season with 108 and 76 goals, respectively.
Sophomore Avery Voss added 62 goals.
One of the Bears' top two goalkeepers is eligible to return in junior Trevor Westin, who made 149 saves on 270 shots (55.2 percent). Senior Ben Staton allowed 121 goals on 264 shots (54.2 percent).
Caswell also had 24 assists, second on the team to senior Reed Ray's 47.
Girls water polo team celebrates season
The girls water polo team learned not all state runner-up finishes are created equal.
UA finished second in the state tournament for the second consecutive season with an 11-8 loss to the top-seeded Cincinnati Mavericks on Oct. 22 at Cincinnati Princeton. The Bears played that game with only one starter back from the 2017 runner-up team in junior goalie Adrienne Wachtman and with just one senior in Grace McCarty.
"This was by far my least experienced team in the 16 years I've been at UA," coach Dan Peterkoski said. "None of them (other than Wachtman) were varsity contributors in the pool a year ago. From that standpoint, there was a tremendous amount of growth. They grew a lot during the course of the season. It's never happened since I've been here that I had that amount of first-year players, and even Adrienne really has only a season and a half under her belt. The majority of these girls have less than two years of experience, so to still finish this way is pretty special."
UA was seeking its fourth state championship in five years, seventh in nine years and 17th overall.
Sophomore Caroline Colombo led the Bears in goals with 120 and also had 33 assists. McCarty scored 48 goals and junior Abby Hendershot had 32 goals and 39 assists. Wachtman had 292 saves.
Other key players eligible to return include juniors Katie McKenzie and Erin Reardon and sophomore Lydia Muldoon.
Girls soccer team falls to Panthers
The girls soccer team completed its best season since winning a Division I district championship in 2015 with a 4-2 home loss to Hilliard Darby in a district semifinal Oct. 23.
Freshman forward Abby Reisz scored both goals for the ninth-seeded Bears, who finished 11-5-3 overall. The 12th-seeded Panthers led 2-0 at halftime before Reisz scored to make 2-1, but Darby added two unanswered goals to pull away.
"In the last 15 minutes, we put great pressure on Darby and earned an indirect free kick in the box and a penalty kick but failed to convert on either," coach Chris Merrick said. "Darby's goalkeeper (Emily Schneck) made three or four great saves that stopped sure goals, one on a direct free kick and another on a corner kick that we headed on goal.
"We played very well and I could not have asked for more out of the girls. We just couldn't make enough plays in the end."
Reisz finished with a team-high 19 goals and seven assists. Junior forward/defender Sydney Lape added 10 goals and seven assists and freshman forward Camryn Callaghan had seven goals and four assists.
UA went 2-1-2 in the OCC-Central to finish third behind champion Dublin Coffman (4-0-1).
Reisz was named first-team all-league and all-district. Junior goalie Carolyn Stehle (66 saves, 14 goals allowed) was first-team all-league and third-team all-district, Lape and junior defender Ellena Schildmeyer were second-team all-league, Callaghan was special mention all-league and senior midfielder Julia Corna was honorable mention all-league.
Boys soccer coach reflects on season
Boys soccer coach Kevin Donovan found himself still reeling from a sudden ending to the season several days later.
Seeded ninth in the Division I district tournament, UA lost to 21st-seeded Thomas Worthington 3-2 (5-4 in shootout) in a second-round game Oct. 20 at home.
"(The season) ended too soon," said Donovan, whose team went 8-5-4 overall and 3-0-2 in the OCC-Central, finishing second behind Coffman (4-0-1). "Last year, we went into the playoffs more hopeful rather than expectant. That (second-round) loss to (Pickerington) North, as tough as it was last year, did not compare to the feeling of the loss at home to Thomas this year. After the regular season we put together, we legitimately thought we could give any team a game on any night."
Senior forward Fernando Dapino finished with a team-high 17 goals and was named league Player of the Year. Sophomore forward Alex Woods added four goals and five more players scored two or three goals.
"We ... had a guy in Fernando that could get goals on any night," Donovan said. "I think we have found a style of play that suits us and we will need to continue to evolve and tweak that style."
Junior defender Joe Cannon also was first-team all-league. Seniors Brian Colgan (defender), Pete Edwards (goalie) and Tristan Moore (midfielder) were second-team all-league, senior forward Carson Ruscilli was special mention all-league and senior defender Richard Jinschek was honorable mention all-league.
Other contributors eligible to return include junior Anthony Reisman (mid-fielder/forward) and sophomores Perry Stevenson (forward/midfielder) and Alex Woods (forward).