Notebook: Olentangy boys runners rely on pack mentality

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Aspen Carson and the Olentangy boys and girls cross country teams are getting ready for the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Saturday, Oct. 17, at Pickerington Central.

Olentangy boys cross country coach Ken Whalen anticipates that Berlin, Dublin Jerome and Thomas Worthington will be the favorites in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Saturday, Oct. 17, at Pickerington Central. 

Still, he likes his team’s chances to be competitive for one reason in particular. 

“We’re more of a pack mentality team this season,” Whalen said. “If we’re fourth at the league meet, I’ll be happy, but we’ll be competitive because we run well together. We have eight solid runners right now, so I’ll have a decision to make for the district meet (when each team has seven runners). It won’t be an easy decision because we have a lot of good runners and good, young runners at that.” 

The Braves’ top seven runners, led by Luke Galloway, were separated by 44.1 seconds in the Bear Den Dash on Oct. 3 at Berlin and the top six were 55.8 seconds apart seven days earlier in the Celtic Clash at Jerome. 

•The Liberty boys golf team’s first-place finish and second-place finishes from Liberty and Olentangy’s girls led area teams in Division I sectional tournaments Oct. 6. 

In a boys sectional at Turnberry, Andrew Blosser’s 73 led the Patriots to a team score of 297 and first place ahead of runner-up Pickerington North (also 297) on a fifth-score tiebreaker. Jack Snyder shot a 74 and Jack O’Donnell and Grant Smeltzer each carded a 75 for Liberty, which also got a 79 from Ben Armbruster. 

The top four teams advanced to district Oct. 13 at Apple Valley. 

In a girls sectional at Blacklick Woods, Olivia Drankwalter shot an 83 to lead Olentangy to second place (346) behind two-time defending state champion New Albany (286). Drankwalter was followed by Claudia Novak (85), Kimmy Archer (88) and Lauren Sommerfeld (90). 

The top three teams advanced to district Oct. 13 at New Albany Links. 

At Mentel Memorial, Gracie Baun’s 77 led Liberty to a score of 336 and second place behind Dublin Coffman (331). Also scoring for the Patriots were Taya Buxton (86), Juliana Renda (86) and Dakota Riley (87). 

Led by a 78 from junior Tyler Phillips, one shot shy of advancing to district as an individual, Olentangy’s boys finished 10th (350) at Darby Creek behind champion St. Charles (297). Also scoring were senior Ben Wilch (84), freshman Ben Stroud (93) and senior Luke Keevins (95). 

From both district tournaments, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 23 and 24. The boys state tournament is at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course, while the girls tournament is at OSU’s Gray Course. 

—Dave Purpura

•On Saturday, Oct. 17, the Liberty boys and girls cross country teams will compete in the OCC-Central meet at Westerville North.

They’ll follow that by opening the postseason Oct. 24 with Division I district competition at Hilliard Darby.

In one of the girls team’s final regular-season tune-ups, it placed fourth (164) in the 15-team Group B race in the Celtic Clash on Sept. 26 at Jerome behind champion Hilliard Davidson (57). 

Senior Audrey Piero led with a ninth-place finish (19 minutes, 24.4 seconds), followed by freshman Julia Bockenstette (29th, 20:26.7), senior Elizabeth Okonak (39th, 20:46.3) and juniors Allison Westfall (41st, 20:49.9) and Ashley Boettcher (46th, 20:58.1).

The boys were 12th (266) of 15 teams in the Celtic Clash Group B race behind champion Davidson (51). Senior R.J. LaRosa was 31st (16:40.9), followed by senior Tanner Sutton (53rd, 17:08.1), junior Zach Warrick (54th, 17:08.1) and sophomores Mitchell Martz (69th, 17:23.8) and Andrew Lee (73rd, 17:27.6).

—Jarrod Ulrey

•The Liberty girls tennis team beat Orange 3-2 on Oct. 5 to improve to 10-6 and advance to a Division I district final of the OTCA team tournament.

The Patriots will play Upper Arlington or Pickerington Central at a date to be announced for a berth in the state tournament, which will be held Oct. 25 at Reynoldsburg.

Against Orange, the Patriots got victories from Dani Schoenly (first singles), Cathy Zhu (third singles) and Megan Haddow and Charvi Thumati (second doubles).

“It’s a very close team and it’s extremely exciting to have a chance at the final four,” coach Will Thieman said.

Liberty also beat Orange 3-2 on Sept. 8 in an OCC-Central match but lost 5-0 to eventual league champion UA on Aug. 27. The Patriots finished third (3-2) in the league, behind Coffman (4-1) and UA (5-0).

—Jarrod Ulrey

•The Berlin boys golf team competed in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at Apple Valley.

The top two teams and the top two individuals not on those teams advanced to state Oct. 23 and 24 at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.

In a sectional Oct. 6 at Darby Creek, the Bears tied Upper Arlington with a 315 but lost a fifth-score tiebreaker to finish fourth, as Caleb Haaser’s 90 was one shot behind the score of UA’s Jack McLaughlin. 

St. Charles (297) and Grove City (313) were the other district qualifiers.

Brady Casto shot 75 to lead Berlin, ahead of Kyle Smetiouk (78), Bryce Reed (80) and Ethan Hegg (82).

—Scott Hennen

•Mia Raines represented the Berlin girls golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at New Albany Links.

The top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 23 and 24 at Ohio State’s Gray Course.

Raines was medalist by shooting 70 in a sectional Oct. 6 at Royal American. The Bears finished fifth as Jerome (322), UA (340) and Darby (371) qualified for district.

Delaware’s Hayley Dye (71) and Hartley’s Nicole Deline (83) were the other individual qualifiers.

Reagan Clifton (98), Paige Kellner (110), Michele Starner (113) and Izzy Borgstrom (137) also participated for Berlin.

—Scott Hennen

•The Orange boys golf team competed in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at Apple Valley.

The top two teams and the top two individuals not on those teams advanced to state Oct. 23 and 24 at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.

The Pioneers (306) were runners-up in a sectional tournament Oct. 7 at Denison Golf Club, behind Jerome (298) and ahead of fellow district-qualifiers Westerville Central (312) and New Albany (324).

Jonathan Green and Luke Johnson both shot 74 to lead Orange. Mitch Perdue (77), Corbin Bentley (81) and Nathan Brown (84) also participated.

—Scott Hennen

Natalie Au represented the Orange girls golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at New Albany Links. She advanced by shooting a 77 in a sectional Oct. 6 at Blacklick Woods.

•Natalie Au represented the Orange girls golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at New Albany Links.

The top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 23 and 24 at Ohio State’s Gray Course.

Au shot a 77 in a sectional Oct. 6 at Blacklick Woods. The Pioneers tied Westerville North with a 473 but had only four players, losing a fifth-score tiebreaker to finish 10th of 12 teams as New Albany (286), Olentangy (346) and Grove City (352) qualified for district.

Granville’s Ella Wigal (77) and Watkins Memorial’s Samantha Spach (81) were the other individual qualifiers.

Emma Wood (124), Leila Bass (132) and Megan Russell (140) also participated for Orange.

—Scott Hennen

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OLENTANGY BOYS GOLF 

OCC-Cardinal standings: Dublin Jerome (19-0), Berlin (15-4), Thomas Worthington (9-6), Marysville (8-11), Olentangy and Hilliard Darby (both 2-17) 

Seniors lost: Jack Hennegan, Luke Keevins and Ben Wilch 

Key returnees: Jack Hainrihar, Ben Stroud and Tyler Phillips 

Postseason: 10th (350) at sectional behind champion St. Charles (297)