A week after advancing a team to the regional level for the first time in nearly a decade, the Reynoldsburg cross country program continued what has become a breakthrough season.
On Oct. 26 in the Division I regional at Pickerington North, junior Avril Moyer of the girls team and junior Seth Davis of the boys squad qualified for the state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
The last time the Raiders had a boys representative at state was in 2012, and their last girl at state was in 2013.
While Moyer was competing in the regional as an individual, Reynoldsburg had its boys team in the meet for the first time since 2011.
"It means everything," Moyer said. "I've been working for this for four years and it's finally here. (Making state) has been a big goal since I found out this is a thing."
Moyer, who finished eighth in the district 2 meet in 19 minutes, 24.1 seconds on Oct. 19 at Hilliard Darby, improved her time despite rainy conditions to finish 16th at regional in 19:10.4 as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.
She also turned in the second-fastest time of her prep career while coming in second among all OCC-Ohio Division runners.
Hilliard Darby's Danielle Santos won in 17:48.7.
"I was watching the time and I was pretty proud of it," Moyer said. "It went better than I hoped. I started out and saw where I was and I was like, 'I can't lose this,' and I didn't.
"I'm just going to go out and get some good runs in this week. I'm really excited to go down there and see what (state is like)."
Davis will compete at state after finishing 16th at regional in 16:25. The Raiders finished 15th (316) in the 16-team meet behind champion Gahanna (100).
Pickerington North's Matt Duvall won in 15:33.8.
"Throughout the first part I was in the top six and was running with two guys from Pickerington North," Davis said. "I was so confused because they're usually the top dogs and I didn't think I could run with them. That was crazy. In the second mile I was starting to find my place and in the last mile I had to really focus in and take it home."
Senior Wendesen King finished 36th in 16:51.3, followed by juniors Mars Davis (87th, 17:33.7), Dominic Sabo (106th, 18:00.8) and Makhi Dejarnette (121st, 18:45), senior Grant Boone (123rd, 19:21.3) and sophomore Andy Potter (124th, 19:44.1).
"In cross country, and especially in distance running, it's a big mental game," coach Bill Crane said.
"We've been laying off (King) the last couple weeks, so we didn't start his taper as early as we normally do. Our big focus was getting him to the state meet and (at district) he may have been a little burned out.
"Seth's peaking at the right time. We backed off of him at the midpoint of the season and he was fresh again, which has helped him in peaking at the right time. It's kind of like landing an airplane. You've got to make sure you don't overshoot it and at the same time don't pull back too quickly."