Groveport Madison boys cross country runner Illyaas Haji enters the postseason on a high note, coming off a first-place finish at the OCC-Capital Division meet Oct. 12 at Lancaster.

Haji won in 16 minutes, 29.45 seconds, holding off runner-up Victor Orsinelli of New Albany by 3.74 seconds to earn his third victory of the season. Haji also won the Westerville Classic on Aug. 31 at Westerville North in 16:54.88 and ran a 17:12 to take first place in the Rick Mettle Invitational on Sept. 25 at Walnut Ridge.

As a team, the Cruisers scored 103 points in the league meet to finish fourth behind New Albany (23), Canal Winchester (60) and Newark (67) and ahead of Big Walnut (134). Orsinelli led four Eagles runners who finished between second and fifth, and all seven New Albany participants placed in the top 14.

Also scoring for Groveport were Kaleb Wilson (12th, 18:00.84), Rafael Soler (39th, 19:08.54), David Neal (43rd, 19:27.89) and Eli Jackson (47th, 19:37.83).

Brianna Chan's 31st-place finish (23:34.2) led the girls team to 145 points and last place out of five teams, behind New Albany (36), Big Walnut (38), Canal Winchester (63) and Newark (99).

Chan was followed by Alexiz Golden (44th, 24:25), Grace White (46th, 24:34.6), Nijah Montgomery (72nd, 26:40) and Crystal Russell (91st, 29:42.3).

New Albany won its fourth consecutive OCC-Capital championship and swept the league meet for the second year in a row.

Both the boys and girls teams will participate in Division I district meets Saturday, Oct. 19, at Hilliard Darby.

The boys are in district 2, from which the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North. The girls are in district 3, from which the top six teams and top 24 individuals qualify for regional.

Boys soccer team

preps for tourney

After clinching the program's first outright OCC-Capital championship Oct. 10 with a 3-1 win at Big Walnut, the boys soccer team had seven days to prepare for its first Division I district tournament game.

Seeded 15th of 52 teams, Groveport will play host to 25th-seeded Chillicothe or 37th-seeded Whitehall in a second-round game Thursday, Oct. 17. The winner plays third-seeded St. Charles, 33rd-seeded Lancaster or 41st-seeded Logan in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the home of the better seed.

The district final is Oct. 26.

The Cruisers defeated Whitehall 3-1 on Sept. 19 as Austin Snyder scored three times in the final 15 minutes.

Groveport is 13-2-1 overall and finished 5-0 in the OCC-Capital, one game ahead of runner-up New Albany (4-1).

Volleyball team

falls to Hawks

The girls volleyball team's season came to an end Oct. 14 with a 25-5, 25-8, 25-8 loss at eighth-seeded Hartley in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

Groveport, which was seeded 43rd of 49 teams, finished 3-20 overall and lost its final eight matches.

The Cruisers had been seeking their first victory since a 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 win over Franklin Heights in OCC-Capital play Sept. 19.

Groveport finished 2-8 in the league.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

Schedule

Below is the coming schedule for the Groveport Madison girls soccer team:

Oct. 15 -- Played 16th-seeded Gahanna in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays seventh-seeded Dublin Jerome in second round Oct. 19. Second-round winner plays 14th-seeded Canal Winchester, 17th-seeded Upper Arlington or 34th-seeded Licking Heights in district semifinal Oct. 23. The Cruisers are seeded 39th.