Taylor Vallangeon will have an opportunity to earn all-state honors in boys cross country for the second consecutive season Saturday, Nov. 3, at National Trail Raceway.
The Worthington Christian High School senior, who took 25th at state last fall as he and 2018 graduate Jake Bertelsen became the program's first state representatives since 2002, heads into this year's Division III state meet as the program's lone qualifier.
After being the program's only regional qualifier, Vallangeon placed eighth (16 minutes, 50.6 seconds) of 131 runners in the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North as the top 20 moved on.
"I was just trying to run to qualify," Vallangeon said. "It was fun, of course. It was wet and cold, but you don't really feel it. I was trying to stay around the top 10 the entire race. When there was about 800 meters left, I was in sixth place and there was about 200 meters between me and the pack behind us."
Vallangeon, who was a district runner-up in 16:27.1, will compete at state at 11 a.m.
"It was a very smart race, saving himself for next week," said coach Mike Vallangeon, Taylor's father. "He ran exactly how I hoped he would. We were not worried about place one bit. (This) week, we're looking forward to seeing how he can compete at the state meet."
Girls soccer team falls to Bobcats
In a matchup of the district's top two teams, the top-seeded girls soccer team lost to second-seeded Grandview 2-0 in the Division III district final Oct. 27 at Dublin Jerome to finish 13-1-5 overall.
The Warriors had played the Bobcats to a scoreless tie Aug. 29. The teams shared the MSL-Ohio Division title at 4-0-2.
"We struggled to get things going offensively," coach Steve Raikes said. "Whenever you play Grandview, you know they're going to come at you and throw you off your game, and they're a gritty group. You're in for a game every time you play them. They haven't lost since the second game of the year. We knew it would be a battle."
Worthington Christian edged third-seeded Wellington 2-1 (4-3 in a shootout) Oct. 24 in a district semifinal to reach a district final for the first time since 2014.
The loss to Grandview marked the only time this season that the Warriors gave up more than one goal in a game.
"This year, they knew they could do something if we could get out of the district, that we could make a good run, but we knew it wouldn't be easy to get there," Raikes said. "We knew we were in for a battle."
The Warriors are losing seven seniors, led by midfielder Alanna Raikes, who was the MSL-Ohio Player of the Year; forward/defender Grace Todd, who also was first-team all-league; and defender Caroline Lawrence, who was honorable mention all-league.
Todd finished with 15 goals and seven assists and Alanna Raikes had 10 goals and 13 assists.
Junior forward Mianna Hartings (first-team all-league), junior midfielder Eliana Styer (second-team all-league), sophomore forward Riley Myers (second-team all-league) and junior midfielder Lillia Bishop (honorable mention all-league) should be the top returnees.
Others eligible to return include juniors Hannah Schuler (midfielder) and Maddie Skidmore (midfielder), sophomores Erin Davidson (midfielder), Maya Kurzenknabe (midfielder) and Alex Friedman (goalkeeper) and freshmen Blessing King (forward) and Paige Tomallo (midfielder).
"I'm looking forward to next year, but this one is going to sting for a while," coach Raikes said.
Season ends for boys soccer season
The fifth-seeded boys soccer team lost 1-0 to second-seeded Wellington in a Division III district final Oct. 27 at Westerville North to finish 9-8-2.
The Jaguars' Katz Kadlic scored with less than two minutes left in the contest, which was a rematch of a district final last season that Wellington lost by the same score.
Worthington Christian, which was a regional semifinalist a year ago, beat ninth-seeded Liberty Union 2-1 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 at home.
The Warriors are losing five seniors, led by center back Ian Davison, who was first-team all-MSL-Ohio, and midfielder/forward Andrew Rider, who was honorable mention all-league.
Sophomore forward Tyler Kindberg scored both goals against Liberty Union and was second-team all-league, along with junior defender David Rettstatt and sophomore goalie Ethan Kraynak.
Sophomore midfielder Levi Yoder was honorable mention all-league.
Others eligible to return include juniors Josh Burton (defender), Daniel Cardenas (forward), Bryce Lawrence (midfielder), Ben Place (defender), Brien Wall (forward) and Alex Williams (defender), sophomores Scott Ruane (defender), Zach Thomas (midfielder) and Trent Wenger (midfielder) and freshmen Tommy Anthony (forward), Caleb Denorme (goalie) and Kael Oosterbaan (midfielder).