After projecting what might take place in the Division I, district 1 meet, Delaware Hayes senior cross country runner Brian Frisch understood how much of an improvement he needed to show if he were to continue his season.
Frisch, who gradually has dropped time over the course of his first season with the Pacers' boys program, ended up placing eighth of 114 runners in 16 minutes, 27.9 seconds on Oct. 19 at Hilliard Darby to qualify for the regional meet Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals at regional advanced to the state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
"I just really like the course (at Darby) because it's nice and flat," Frisch said. "We had a pretty focused bus ride there. Leading up to the race, I was pretty focused, I was eating a bunch, drinking a bunch and was ready to run.
"Coach (Jim) Bibler had done an electronic race (before district) and I was ranked 27th (based on) my (personal-best time), so I went in thinking I'd have to be dropping about 30 seconds to be able to go (to regional), but I was willing to give it a shot. My grandpa was over the day before and he and my brother watched 'Chariots of Fire,' so that might have helped a bit."
Delaware's previous regional qualifier was Seth Kern, who placed 47th (17:13.61) at regional in 2016.
"When we started the (district) race, I was around 22nd at the beginning and I kept on going by people," Frisch said. "I decently surprised myself. My PR before was 16:46 and I dropped about 20 seconds and got to 16:27, which places me No. 8 on our Hayes cross country board. I really liked the result."
Led by Frisch, the boys team finished 11th (298) of 16 teams at district, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (39) as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional.
Frisch's brother, sophomore Blake Frisch, finished 49th (17:31.9), followed by junior Padraig Mumper (72nd, 18:14.7), sophomore Juan Tello (79th, 18:35.3), junior Eric Stewart (90th, 18:58.5), sophomore John Hinton (94th, 19:05.3) and freshman Luke Todt (102nd, 20:25.3).
"There has been some progress with the boys team," Bibler said. "Brian Frisch has been very consistent."
The girls team finished 10th (287) in the 14-team district 1 meet, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (63).
Sophomore Miranda Gemberling finished 45th (21:25.5) of 95 runners to lead the Pacers, followed by junior Brynn McGrail (50th, 21:35.8), freshmen Danica Davelli (59th, 22:06.6), Beth Atanosian (64th, 22:20.5) and Rowan Hering (69th, 22:30.5), sophomore Kailyn Smith (75th, 22:53.9) and junior Lauren English (77th, 23:06.6).
Football team preps for Jaguars
The football team will try to close out its season on a positive note when it plays host to Hilliard Bradley on Friday, Nov. 1.
The Pacers won the first two meetings in 2009 (49-7) and 2010 (28-24), but have lost the last four matchups with the Jaguars.
Delaware closed last season with a 49-0 loss to the Jaguars to finish 6-4.
This season, both teams have gone through ups and downs.
The Pacers seemed to take a big step forward Oct. 11 when they beat OCC-Cardinal Division title contender Dublin Jerome 28-7, but they then lost to Thomas Worthington 17-10 on Oct. 18 to fall to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the league before playing Darby on Oct. 25.
Bradley lost its first four games before blowing out Thomas 43-10 on Sept. 27. The Jaguars then fell to Dublin Scioto 38-36 on Oct. 4 before beating one of the league's other title contenders, Olentangy Berlin, 21-19 on Oct. 11.
Bradley lost to Jerome 43-14 on Oct. 18 and was 2-6 overall and 2-3 in the league before facing Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 25.
"From top to bottom, (the OCC-Cardinal) is really pretty even and anybody has an opportunity to beat any team on any given night," coach Scott Wetzel said. "The big thing (against Jerome) is that we finished finally."
Against Thomas, quarterback Blake Eiland threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Nabil Abdus-salaam in the second quarter and the game was tied at 10 until the Cardinals scored the game-winning points with 1 minute, 56 seconds left.
Bradley's top offensive weapons have been quarterback A.J. Mirgon, running back Evan Yee and wide receiver Tayshaun Mayfield. Through eight games, Mirgon had completed 92 of 169 passes for 1,036 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions and had rushed for 532 yards and five scores, Yee had rushed for 474 yards and three touchdowns and Mayfield had 36 receptions for 444 yards and four scores.
Girls soccer team to return large group
After losing to Bradley 1-0 on Sept. 17, the girls soccer team got another shot at the Jaguars in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
The 26th-seeded Pacers came up just short in the rematch, falling 2-1 in overtime to the 10th-seeded Jaguars to finish 6-9-3 overall.
Delaware closed the regular season with a 7-0 victory over Teays Valley on Oct. 12 and opened the postseason with a 9-0 win over 35th-seeded Mount Vernon on Oct. 16.
The Pacers are losing six seniors, including forwards Sydney McMillin and Payje Wilson, who were four-year letterwinners, and goalkeeper Abby Weller and defender Savanna Deibert, who were three-year letterwinners.
"We actually have a really good mix (of classes)," coach Bradd Smiley said. "We've got some really strong juniors and a strong freshman class. We're excited about this bunch."
The Pacers, who finished seventh in the OCC-Cardinal at 1-4-2 behind co-champions Jerome and Bradley (both 6-1), had a trio of freshmen starting at season's end in defender Rebekah Blair and midfielders Sara Dudley and Aubrey Griner.
Juniors Alyssa Griner (forward), McKenzie Hayes (midfielder) and Marissa Lovett (forward) and sophomore Hannah Halstead (defender) also were key players.
Others eligible to return include juniors Maddy Green (defender), Liza Ida (defender), K.J. Hudson (goalie) and Addie Salvador (defender) and sophomores Ava Bruns (midfielder), Hayli Marsch (def-ender) and Taylor McMillin (midfielder).