Senior Colbi Borland of the Big Walnut girls cross country team didn't run her best time in her final high school race, but she finishes as the most accomplished runner in school history.
Borland placed 33rd (18 minutes, 57.9 seconds) of 183 runners in her third appearance in the Division I state meet held Nov. 2 at National Trails Raceway, behind champion Taylor Ewert (17:22.5) of Beavercreek.
Borland finished 59th (19:14.5) of 173 runners at state in 2017 and 48th (19:39.9) of 176 runners last season.
"My goal was top 20 at state," Borland said. "I didn't get that, but it was my highest finish. Obviously, Ohio has a lot of fast runners.
In addition to being a three-time state qualifier, Borland finished her prep career as a four-time OCC-Capital Division champion and a four-time regional qualifier.
"It's exciting, but I still have a lot more that I want to accomplish," said Borland, who will run at Lipscomb University. "I feel like this was a starting point for me, but I'm definitely glad I got to do it at Big Walnut. It makes me excited for the future."
Borland was the only Big Walnut runner to reach state after she placing seventh (18:49.2) of 130 runners in the regional meet Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Big Walnut finished 10th (258 points) of 17 teams at regional, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (36).
Also competing for the Golden Eagles were junior Julia Wiergowska (52nd, 20:22.7), senior Alina Pecci (55th, 20:27.1), sophomores Madi Yano (80th, 20:47.6) and Grace Grunewald (108th, 21:22) and freshmen Maddey Moroz (127th, 22:38.8) and Gianna Rose-Romosier (128th, 22:41.9).
The boys team's season ended at the Division I, district 3 meet Oct. 19 at Hilliard Darby, where it finished 14th (396) of 18 teams, behind champion Pickerington North (67).
Senior Jacob Krous led the Golden Eagles, finishing 37th (17:12.9) of 128 runners. Also scoring were senior Grady Hemingway (80th, 18:26.9), sophomore Ryan Cummins (90th, 18:41.7), senior Cole Matos (96th, 18:48) and sophomore Austin McGrath (97th, 18:49.1).
Football team faced grueling schedule
With six opponents reaching the postseason, the football team's schedule provided plenty of challenges.
Big Walnut finished 4-6 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Capital after a 28-13 loss to visiting Canal Winchester on Nov. 1. The Golden Eagles ended the season on a three-game losing streak.
The Indians shared the league championship with Groveport and New Albany, as all three teams went 4-1. All three also reached the postseason.
Senior Tyler Crotinger rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown in the loss, and junior quarterback Jagger Barnett scored on a 23-yard run.
The Golden Eagles' other league losses came against New Albany (26-20 on Oct. 18) and Groveport (49-0 on Oct. 25).
"Some plays just didn't go our way, and that obviously changed some of our games," Barnett said, referring to the losses to New Albany and Canal Winchester. "Those one or two mess-ups we had were game-changers."
On the season, Barnett completed 97 of 195 passes for 1,168 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions and rushed for 311 yards and four touchdowns on 104 carries.
Crotinger was the team's leading rusher with 805 yards and eight touchdowns on 161 carries.
Senior Craig Norman had 18 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns and junior Zack Barnecut had 21 catches for 251 yards and a touchdown.
Senior linebacker Ryan Coletta and senior lineman Max Lenz led the defense.
Big Walnut expects to return a strong junior class next season that also includes Jacob Bales (DB), A.J. Leasure (TE/LB) and Caden Williams (RB). Sophomores Aiden Hernandez and Wyatt Lenz earned playing time on the lines.
The Golden Eagles haven't produced a winning season since 2014, when they went 7-3.
Barnett hopes his class is the one that will get the team back to the playoffs.
"We've been talking about that since freshman year," he said. "We went 9-1 our freshman year. We want to be that class to change the mindset."