Veteran runners returned for both the Canal Winchester boys and girls cross country teams, with one notable difference between the two squads.

While last year's core has held its own so far on the boys side, an infusion of talented freshmen earned their way into the girls' top seven.

Neither development surprises first-year coach Michelle Klamorick, who led the middle school teams for the past three seasons while also serving as a varsity assistant for former coach Jeff Kline, who stepped down last winter after six seasons.

"I saw there was a chance of (the younger girls making impacts) last year and they are a very coachable group of girls. They are workhorses. They just go out there and grind," Klamorick said. "You look at the boys, they battle back and forth and that is one thing that will really help us, that so many guys of the same caliber are pushing each other daily."

Klamorick's two children, senior Reece Klamorick of the boys team and junior Allena Klamorick of the girls squad, were the Indians' top runners in the season-opening Canal Winchester Invitational on Aug. 28.

Allena Klamorick placed fourth in the 20 minutes, 2.2 seconds, leading the girls to 111 points and fourth place of 14 teams as Bexley won (20). Also scoring were junior Bonnie Butler (eighth, 20:14.9) and freshmen Alyssa Weller (23rd, 21:27.6), Brooklyne Redmon (50th, 22:58.7) and Aly Kolonchuk (23:06.8).

Freshman Marissa Klamorick (53rd, 23:23.8) and junior Merideth McFarland (67th, 23:55.2) were the team's sixth and seventh finishers.

Allena Klamorick and Butler finished 64th and 104th, respectively, at last year's Division I regional meet.

"I think we will do very well, but our team is pretty young," Butler said. "The freshmen are really pulling their weight. This year and next year, we'll be very good. Looking at the middle school team last year, I expected they'd be good, but they are still surprising me. Based off the work they put in during the year, they are doing very well."

Senior Esthela Marquez, sophomore Kayla Fearing and freshman Alyssa Condrac also are expected to contend for spots in the top seven.

In the boys race, Reece Klamorick placed seventh (17:03.9) and senior Drew Kotwis was eighth (17:04.4) as Canal Winchester finished second of 20 teams with 67 points, behind first-place and defending OCC-Capital Division champion New Albany (40).

Also scoring were juniors Michael McKeon (13th, 17:25), Nate Hoffman (16th, 17:30.2) and Ian Lewis (23rd, 17:46.4).

"We need the pack mentality to get everybody going, especially since we don't have anyone who's really broken out away from everybody else yet," Kotwis said. "There are probably four people who could be our top guy on any given day if they run at their best."

Other runners who began the season in the team's top 10 were senior Scotty Garner, juniors Dominic Babusci and Brett Smithers and sophomores Will Keiser and Carson Reeb.

"We work in a pyramid. We start with the foundation and then add goals," coach Klamorick said. "We'd like to win the league. That's a big goal here. We weren't far behind New Albany (on Aug. 28). It'll be a fun season. We'll see them several times and that will make both teams strong."

Competition driving girls tennis team

As the girls tennis team hoped to gain some traction entering the second month of the season, coach Jason Snider has challenged all of his players to test their limits.

So far, that seems to have been the case. Canal Winchester was 3-4 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Capital before playing New Albany on Sept. 3, and Snider attributed that to contributions from all over a competitive lineup led by Erin Duckworth and Ellie Stedman at first and second singles, respectively.

"The lineup has been stable with Erin and Ellie, but after that everything has been pretty intermixed," Snider said. "Erin has done well at first singles and she's had some tough battles, but I remind her she's just a junior. She'll take the wins she gets this year and learn from them.

"I want all the girls to be comfortable being uncomfortable and be more aggressive. The more aggressive player wins. You can be more aggressive in doubles because there's always another person there, but it's more risky in singles."

The Indians defeated Westland 5-0 on Aug. 15 and beat Groveport 4-0 on Aug. 27 in a rain-shortened match and Franklin Heights 4-1 on Aug. 29 in league contests.

Canal Winchester lost to Teays Valley 5-0 on Aug. 12, Pickerington North 5-0 on Aug. 20, league foe Big Walnut 5-0 on Aug. 22 and Granville 5-0 on Aug. 28.

Aliana Runyon has played third singles in most matches, with Gabbie Barringer and Grace Terflinger at first doubles and Shannon Seymour and Lauren Snider at second doubles.

Golfers finishing league play

The boys golf team is in third place in the OCC-Capital entering the fourth and final round of the league tournament Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Apple Valley.

Noah Cox's round of 87 led the Indians to a team score of 368 in the third round Aug. 28 at Turnberry, as Canal Winchester placed third behind New Albany (313) and Big Walnut (316) and ahead of Newark (401) and Groveport (491).

Also scoring were Joshua Fair (93), Calvin Trigg (94) and Vincent Vatri (94).

The Indians are third in the league at 6-6, behind New Albany (12-0) and Big Walnut (9-3) and ahead of Newark (3-9) and Groveport (0-12).

The girls team looked to move up the OCC-Central standings in the final round of its league tournament Sept. 4 at Blacklick Woods.

Canal Winchester was sixth in the OCC-Central through three rounds with a 1-14 record, behind New Albany (15-0), Upper Arlington (12-3), Dublin Coffman (9-6), Marysville (6-9) and Hilliard Davidson (2-13).

The Indians shot a 419 in the third round Aug. 28 at Mentel Memorial to place sixth behind New Albany (294), UA (319), Coffman (328), Marysville (381) and Davidson (398). Scoring for Canal Winchester were Grace Beerman (91), Erin Booher (101), Sydney Dillon (108) and Amanda Gleadle (109).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 7 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 9 -- Newark at The Trout Club

Sept. 11 -- OCC-Capital at Apple Valley

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 9 -- Hartley at Westchester

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Pickerington North

*Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Big Walnut

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 10 -- At Big Walnut

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 5 -- At Newark

Sept. 9 -- Home vs. DeSales

Sept. 11 -- At Grove City

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 5 -- At Groveport

Sept. 9 -- At Berne Union

*Sept. 10 -- At Franklin Heights

*League contest