Among those beaming with pride Oct. 26 as the Reynoldsburg cross country program celebrated having one boy and one girl advance from the regional at Pickerington North to the Division I state meet were the Raiders' previous two state qualifiers.
Leah Wallace, who was a three-time state qualifier and the previous girls representative in 2013, and Dominik Seitzer, who was the previous runner for the boys team to make it in 2012, both served as assistants this fall under coach Bill Crane.
On Nov. 2, junior Seth Davis of the boys team and junior Avril Moyer of the girls squad competed at state at National Trail Raceway.
"It's a real big deal for the kids in the program to take another step," Crane said.
Moyer finished 98th in 19 minutes, 47.5 seconds during the first race of the afternoon and a little more than two hours later, Davis also finished 98th in his race in 16:41.7.
There were 183 girls and 186 boys in those races.
"It was really cool seeing all of the really fast people here," Moyer said. "I didn't do so well. (The weather) was just about as perfect as it gets and the course was really flat with no mud or anything. I need to take it out faster and finish faster. I'm going to be doing indoor and outdoor track for the first time and up my mileage (before next season)."
Moyer followed a runner-up finish (19:39.5) in the OCC-Ohio Division meet Oct. 12 at Lancaster by finishing eighth (19:24.1) in the district 2 meet Oct. 19 at Hilliard Darby and 16th (19:10.4) at regional as the top 20 advanced to state.
It was Moyer's third consecutive season of making it to regional before she broke through with the state berth.
"I've been trying to mentally prepare, and we worked really hard all season to prepare for this," she said.
All of the other four girls who competed in the league and district meets, juniors Alyse Powell, Kristin Sheets and Macy Thompson and sophomore Abby Robinson, are eligible to return.
Davis emerged as the No. 1 runner for the boys as the season progressed. He finished eighth (16:49.7) in the league meet and followed with an 11th-place finish (16:19.1) in district 3 as Reynoldsburg finished sixth (183) of 18 teams to advance to regional as a team for the first time since 2011.
Davis then was 16th (16:25) at regional to advance to state for the first time.
"My team supported me," he said. "I surprised myself (during the postseason) but it's really exciting."
The only seniors in the boys team's lineup were Wendesen King, who finished 36th (16:51.3) at regional to miss advancing to state by less than 20 seconds, and Grant Boone.
Junior Mars Davis was the team's No. 3 runner all season. Juniors Mekhi DeJarnette and Dominic Sabo and sophomore Andy Potter also should be key returnees.
"We didn't really expect to be as good as we've been," DeJarnette said. "We've come together as a team, which has been really helpful. We've grown like a brotherhood."