Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Cross country teams displayed perseverance

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Junior Eyebong Ita, who finished 48th at the Division I district meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby, is expected to be one of the top returnees for the boys cross country team.

In a season disrupted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Whitehall-Yearling boys cross country coach Robert Taylor said his team showed resiliency. 

The Rams had an abbreviated regular season because of the pandemic as they competed in just four meets. 

“These guys were a fantastic group,” Taylor said. “They never complained. They kept showing up for practice every day. They did whatever I asked them to do without bellyaching. They had a real strong team camaraderie, pulling for each other, supporting each other and helping each other out. It was nice to see that. The growth was not as much as we could have had with a better meet schedule.” 

Whitehall should return a solid group led by junior Daba Hordofe, who was the No. 1 runner. 

Taylor said a highlight this season was the team finishing 10th (342) in the Division I district meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby behind champion Hilliard Davidson (27), with all six runners turning in personal-best times. 

Junior Ita Eyobong finished 48th of 95 runners in 18 minutes, 21.3 seconds to lead the Rams. 

Hordofe missed the meet as he was competing for the boys soccer team in a district tournament game at Westerville North. 

Expected back are juniors Keteme Feye, Shea Jordan and Sam McQuate and sophomore Brian Holloway, who were part of the late-season lineup. Junior Jordan Burchnell also is eligible to return. 

Whitehall will lose Mike Hernandez, Jonathan Guijosa and Jaylin Moody to graduation. 

The Rams opened the season by hosting the 35th-annual Dan Reid Invitational on Aug. 29, finishing sixth (128) of six teams behind champion Lakewood (27). 

Hordofe finished seventh (18:53.2) to lead Whitehall. 

“We had more cancellations than we had meets” Taylor said. “It was disappointing. Later in the year we realized how important meets are for developing a mental toughness and meet awareness. What you need to do to win and compete. The training you need to do. We missed out on that.” 

The girls cross country team featured five underclassmen 

Full-time runners were sophomores Ashley Castillo, Amanda Gomez, Amarra Haines and freshman Haleigh Jordan. 

“Although things were a bit different this year with less meets, we had a great season,” coach Natasha Gallagher said. “The same four girls were consistent and showed up working hard every day at practice. They all ended the season with (personal records). I cannot wait to see what next year will bring.” 

Sophomore Alicia Pulido split time between cross country and girls tennis. 

Girls volleyball team ends season at 2-14 

The girls volleyball team finished 2-14 overall and 0-11 in the MSL-Ohio Division to finish seventh behind champion Worthington Christian (14-0) under first-year coach Kirsten Turner. 

Seeded 16th in the Division II district tournament, Whitehall lost 25-4, 25-11, 25-13 to fifth-seeded Granville in the first round Oct. 21. 

Junior setter Mya Fuller was named honorable mention all-league, and others eligible to return are juniors Ta’Mar Brathwaite (setter), Vanessa Danner (defensive specialist), Timree Dhinaa, (defensive specialist) and Kiarra Hodge (middle hitter) and freshman Kye Jones (all-around). 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekFrank 

CROSS COUNTRY 

•MSL-Ohio standings: Boys – Bexley (35), Columbus Academy (50), Grandview (64), Buckeye Valley (87), Worthington Christian (131), Whitehall (181), Wellington (189); Girls – Bexley (30), Buckeye Valley (54), Grandview (78), Columbus School for Girls (99), Academy (104), Whitehall (170) 

•Seniors lost: Boys – Jonathan Guijosa, Mike Hernandez and Jaylin Moody; Girls – None 

•Key returnees: Boys – Keteme Feye, Daba Hordofe and Eyobong Ita; Girls – Ashley Castillo, Amanda Gomez, Amarra Haines and Haleigh Jordan 

•Postseason: Boys – 10th (342) at district behind champion Hilliard Davidson (27); Girls – Did not score at district 

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL 

•Record: 2-14 overall 

•MSL-Ohio standings: Worthington Christian (12-0), Bexley (9-2), Buckeye Valley and Grandview (both 7-5), CSG (3-8), Academy (1-8), Whitehall (0-11)  

•Seniors lost: Kylie Brown and Kyland Wooden 

•Key returnees: Vanessa Danner, Mya Fuller and Kiarra Hodge 

•Postseason: Lost to Granville 25-4, 25-11, 25-13 in opening round of Division II district tournament