Hartley Roundup: Hawks cross country teams showing progress

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Hartley's Piper Minnich (left) and Watterson's Lucy Ragiel head to the finish in the CCL girls cross country meet Oct. 17 at St. Mathew Athletic Fields. Ragiel finished second and Minnich third behind DeSales' Mary McCallister.

As she was nearing the finish line in the CCL girls cross country meet Oct. 17 at the St. Matthew Athletic Fields, freshman Piper Minnich found herself battling two other freshmen for the title. 

DeSales’ Mary McCallister ended up first in 20 minutes, 21 seconds, with Minnich running side-by-side with Watterson’s Lucy Ragiel. 

It proved to be a character-building moment for Minnich, who had put herself in position to win the race but ended up third in 20:21.8 as Ragiel edged her in 20:21.7 for second. 

“I was trying to stay ahead of a couple girls behind me but it was kind of hard to tell because there wasn’t anybody in front of me, so I was just trying to keep up with my coach,” Minnich said. “I gave my all at the end. I’m a little disappointed that I got passed at the finish line.” 

Minnich has combined with junior Rebecca Tepper and sophomore Jackie Radous to give the Hawks a strong core of runners heading into the postseason as well as next season. 

Hartley opened the postseason by competing in the Division II, district 1 race at the district meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby, where the top three teams and top 12 individuals advanced to the regional Saturday, Oct. 31, at Pickerington North. 

Tepper was out with a foot injury at the league meet, where the Hawks finished third (59) behind DeSales (33) and Watterson (34) and ahead of Ready (113).  

She was expected to return for the postseason, however, and last year she was the team’s No. 1 runner at the district meet where she missed advancing to the regional by four spots. 

“It’s actually really fun (being on the team) because the upperclassmen give me advice and we always do a cheer at the beginning, which is really spirit-lifting," Minnich said. "It’s really fun to race upper-school kids because they challenge me a lot.” 

Radous finished 11th (21:42.7) at the league meet, followed by seniors Ellie Kitsmiller (12th, 21:44.6), Megan Luallen (13th, 21:55.5) and Pailyn Groene (20th, 23:06), sophomore Eva Tedrick (22nd, 23:26.2) and freshman Natalie Dinovo (23rd, 23:49.1). 

According to both Groene and Luallen, the Hawks have progressed steadily this fall. 

“We’re happy,” Groene said. “We haven’t been able to do as many team dinners, but it’s been fun.” 

The boys team finished fourth (94) behind champion DeSales (44) at the CCL meet, where the top finisher for the Hawks was senior Luke Vautour (fifth, 17:23.4).  

He was followed by senior Eayual Gebrtsadik (seventh, 17:30.3), junior Brighton Chen (24th, 18:51.7), freshmen Andrew Bassetti (28th, 20:19.9) and Nathan Ogden (30th, 20:58.8) and juniors Luke Eshmeyer (31st, 21:24.7) and Simon Sybert (32nd, 21:40.8). 

The boys competed Oct. 24 in the Division II, district 2 race at the district meet, which advanced the top four teams and top 16 individuals to the regional. 

Volleyball team 

gets back on track 

The girls volleyball team entered the tournament hoping its season had settled down. 

After beating Pickerington North 25-8, 25-16, 25-14 on Oct. 3, the third-seeded Hawks were placed in a two-week quarantine because of positive COVID-19 tests involving multiple players. 

They had their first return practice Oct. 19, which was two days before opening the Division II district tournament with a 25-12, 25-11, 25-8 victory at home over ninth-seeded Bexley on Oct. 21. 

“They’ve all been working out on their own,” said coach Mike Rahe, whose team improved to 13-2 overall and finished second at 4-2 in the CCL behind Watterson (5-1). “There were a lot of driveway workouts, and we were trying to keep active through it all. Hopefully this means their legs will be fresh. 

“We just kept in touch with them (during the quarantine) and dropped off some goody baskets for them to let them know to keep working and give them a little treat here and there.” 

Hartley was a district runner-up in Division I last season and entered this fall expecting to be one of the state’s top teams in Division II. 

The Hawks played host to eighth-seeded London on Oct. 28 in a district semifinal, with the winner to face fourth-seeded Caledonia River Valley or fifth-seeded Granville at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, in a district final at the site of the higher seeded team. 

The district champion plays in a regional semifinal Nov. 5, with Gates Mills Gilmour Academy the most likely opponent should Hartley advance that far. Gilmour Academy was a state semifinalist last season. 

The state tournament is set for Nov. 12-14, but the OHSAA still had not announced a site for the event heading into late October. 

“Our philosophy is that you’ve got to play them all at some point,” Rahe said. “I’d rather play them early than late. It doesn’t matter where we play if we get to the state finals.” 

Tennis team losing 

strong senior group 

The girls tennis team will be losing a senior class that included five postseason competitors after going 12-5. 

Included in that group is Gia Green, who played first singles throughout her four seasons and teamed with junior Emily Thompson to reach the Division II district tournament in doubles. They lost to eventual champions Katie Zerbi and Alexis Burkhalter from Wellington 6-0, 6-0 in the first round at distric Oct. 15 at Columbus Academy. 

The other seniors in the postseason lineup were Joelea Kelley, Maria Kelley, Jackie Kirkland and Morgan Liden. 

Sophomore Kiarra McElrath, who lost in a singles quarterfinal at the sectional Oct. 8 at Academy, will return along with Thompson. 

“Kiarra McElrath is a sophomore and had a really tough match against Riley Jones of Lakewood and (defeated her in the second round) and then went three rounds with Olivia Eckels from Granville,” coach Lynn Winters said. “All of our singles players won their first-round (match at the sectional), so we were happy with their performance. We’re super excited for (Green and Thompson).” 

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GIRLS TENNIS 

•Record: 12-5 overall 

•CCL standings: Watterson (3-0), DeSales (2-1), Hartley (1-2), Ready (0-3) 

•Seniors lost: Ruhama Ababu, Agnes Bryan, Gia Green, Joelea Kelley, Maria Kelley, Jackie Kirkland, Morgan Liden and Jessica McBride 

•Key returnees: Kiarra McElrath and Emily Thompson