Westland Roundup: Cross country teams brave uphill battle in league meet

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Drew Hutchinson led the Westland boys cross country team in the OCC-Ohio Division meet Oct. 17 at Pickerington Central, finishing 46th in 20:04. The Cougars competed in the Division I district meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby.

With his runners competing at Pickerington Central for the first time, Westland cross country coach Josh Barkeloo realized the OCC-Ohio Division meet Oct. 17 would be challenging for his boys and girls teams.

“The league meet was on a course that none of our runners have raced before,” Barkeloo said. “This presented a challenge for our team because usually a veteran squad enjoys the fact that after four years of racing, they have every course they will run permanently embedded in their brains. We have had to mix up our schedule due to the pandemic this year, so we have had to experience several new courses.”

The boys finished sixth (187) behind champion New Albany (35) as Drew Hutchinson paced the Cougars, placing 46th in 20 minutes, 4 seconds. He was followed by George Reyes (47th, 20:12.8), Tyler Aiken (48th, 20:48.7), Harrison Jones (53rd, 22:52.1), Brandon Fernandez (54th, 24:51.9) and Henry Jones (55th, 32:53.9).

Taylor Gullion finished 40th (23:49.6) and Allison Chapin was 48th (26:38.4) for the girls, who did not have enough runners for a team score.

“This (season) has made our team a group of better runners, but (in the league meet), the (course) took a little too much out of our legs and we struggled in the second half of the race,” Barkeloo said. “To witness the meet, though, whenever our kids had the opportunity to compete, they raced to the finish.”

Westland began the postseason by competing in the Division I district meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby.

The boys ran in the district 1 race, with the top five teams and top 20 runners advancing to regional Saturday, Oct. 31, at Pickerington North.

The girls competed in the district 3 race, with the top six teams and top 24 runners  advancing to regional.

Westland goalie Omar Campa made seven saves in a 4-0 win over Central Crossing on Oct. 15. It was his third shutout of the season.

Boys soccer team wins

regular-season finale

The boys soccer team closed the regular season by beating Central Crossing 4-0 on Oct. 15.

After the game scoreless at halftime, Khalil Suleiman scored three goals in the first three minutes of the second half. Bryan Garcia scored the other goal, and goalie Omar Campa made seven saves for his third shutout of the season.

“It was nice to close out the (regular season) with a win, especially over our biggest rival,” coach Jamie Dato said. “The seniors ended up 4-0 against (Central) Crossing in their career, which was nice for them. We have played well the last five or so games, possessing well, playing good defense, moving without the ball and getting chances.”

The 39th-seeded Cougars finished 3-12-2 with a 4-1 loss at 18th-seeded Olentangy on Oct. 20 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament. Suleiman scored his 10th goal of the season.

Season concludes for

girls volleyball team

The girls volleyball team saw its season end when its opening Division I district tournament match against sixth-seeded DeSales was ruled a no-contest Oct. 19 after a Westland player tested positive Oct. 16 for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The 40th-seeded Cougars finished 3-18.

Westland lost to Westerville Central 25-7, 25-8, 25-10 on Oct. 13 and Grove City 25-17, 25-20, 25-21 on Oct. 15.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank