Participation numbers are up for the Westerville North boys and girls cross country teams, and the Warriors hope the added depth leads to success.
The boys have 36 runners and the girls have 42, pleasing both coaches.
"We have about four boys more than we had last season," 17th-year coach Dave Weaner said. "Our largest class by far is our juniors with 13, and our top runner Isaiah (Hutcherson) is a junior.
"I'm also impressed with our freshmen and sophomores. They have the desire to compete with each other, and they are pulling others into that competition. I'm happy with how this group is coming together."
Hutcherson led the boys in their season-opening meet, the Westerville North Classic, on Aug. 31. He placed 14th in 16 minutes, 52.72 seconds as the Warriors finished 11th (271 points) of 13 teams behind champion Olentangy Orange (42).
Senior Dillon Lauer (55th, 17:58.72) was next for North, followed by senior Corbin Paulicivic (74th, 18:32.25), freshman Andrew Bracken (77th, 18:36.54), sophomores Owen DeTemple (80th, 18:41.33) and Robert Houser (18:57.44) and freshman Carson Ebbrecht (18:58.14).
"We have been training Isaiah to wait and catch up," Weaner said. "He's staying as much as a minute and a half back, and then he takes off to catch up with the rest. He's developing a killer mentality to catch up and put runners behind him."
The girls team opened a week earlier in the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 24 at Pickerington North. The Warriors finished fourth (122) in the 24-team Bengal Division behind champion New Albany (79).
Sophomore Paige Miracle (15th, 21:16.1) and senior Audrey Smith (17th, 21:33.7) led the Warriors, followed by freshman Amanda Cooper (26th, 22:01.7), seniors Grace Blanchong (34th, 22:25.0) and Emma Fury (35th, 22:26.8), freshman Colleen Lynch (44th, 22:43.9) and sophomore Emily Widman (55th, 23:03.8).
"We probably finished as well as we have in about six years at Pickerington (North) because we ran as a pack," 10th-year coach Johnny Jackson said. "Paige led the way, but she wasn't too far out. They could all see each other and that was good."
In the home meet, North finished eighth (173) of 11 teams behind champion Lancaster (75) as Smith (20th, 20:51.08), Miracle (27th, 21:09.1) and Cooper (30th, 21:13.26) were the top runners.
"This is the biggest team that we have had in a while, and we have good depth," Jackson said. "They are very dedicated and work extremely hard. ... We also have good senior leaders, and they are pretty much running the team. It's their team and the coaches are there just to start the workouts."
Golfers wrap up OCC-Buckeye play
Entering the fourth and final round of the OCC-Buckeye Division tournament Sept. 4 at Royal American, the girls golf team was fourth (3-12) behind first-place Olentangy Liberty (15-0). In the third round Aug. 28 at Blacklick Woods, the Warriors finished fourth (489) behind the first-place Patriots (353) as Alexyss Smith led with a 116.
The boys team is fifth (2-13) in the league behind first-place Liberty (15-0) with the final round set for Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Darby Creek. In the third round Aug. 27 at Denison Golf Club, North finished sixth (392) behind the first-place Patriots (312) as Rocco Thomas led with an 83.
Below are the coming schedules for the North cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 7 -- Wooster Invitational
Sept. 5 -- Big Walnut and Dublin Scioto at Darby Creek
Sept. 9 -- Scioto at Royal American
Sept. 10 -- Westerville Central and Westerville South at Medallion
Sept. 11 -- OCC-Buckeye at Darby Creek
Sept. 9 -- Hilliard Darby at Royal American
Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Central Crossing
*Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
Sept. 5 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 10 -- At Central
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 9 -- At Delaware
Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Marysville
*Sept. 5 -- At Olentangy
Sept. 7 -- At Licking Heights with Reynoldsburg
*Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty