Worthington Christian Roundup: Future looks bright for girls cross country duo
Worthington Christian cross country coach Michael Schaefer had to do some digging to find out how long it had been since the girls team last had a representative in the Division III regional meet.
Both sophomore Zoe Ward and freshman Alexa Graham made it that far this fall.
“After doing some research, we found out it was the first time since 2007 that we’ve had girls on the cross country team at the regional meet,” Schaefer said. “We’re pretty excited about what’s in store for their future.”
On Oct. 31 at Pickerington North, Ward found herself in a pack with a handful of competitors for the final remaining berths to the state meet but ultimately fell one spot short, finishing 21st in 20 minutes, 32 seconds.
“There were about four girls that I was staying really tight with, but I couldn’t catch them at the end, unfortunately,” Ward said. “I was very happy about (how I ran). My goal for the year was to run 20:30 and I got that ... so that was really awesome.”
Ward only competed in a handful of meets last season because of a heart issue that later was resolved. She was cleared to begin competing in March but the spring track and field season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Ward is hoping to compete in both indoor and outdoor track this winter and spring.
“Her season was cut short last year,” Schaefer said. “She came back healthy this year and obviously had a great year. She (ran a personal-best time) midway through the season and finished out with another fantastic PR, so she’s pretty encouraged.”
Ward finished eighth (21:30.7) and Graham was 11th (22:17.1) in the district 1 meet Oct. 23 at Hilliard Darby to earn two of the 12 regional-qualifying spots.
Graham finished 50th (22:09.8) at regional.
The only other competitor on the girls team was freshman Annie White.
“(Graham) ran in middle school and has been extremely dedicated,” Schaefer said. “She ran every single offseason training day, did all of her mileage in the offseason on her own and made sure she ran the exact mileage I told her. She put in a ton of great work and also has a bright future.”
The boys placed seventh (202) in the 12-team district 1 meet behind champion Mount Gilead (39) as junior Synjin Sharp led with a 24th-place finish (19:27.5).
Sharp was the team’s No. 1 runner in the MSL-Ohio Division meet, finishing 20th in 19:05.5, while junior Sam Spires was 21st (19:05.8).
Junior Samuel O’Roark was the No. 2 runner at district, finishing 30th (19:47.4).
The only senior in the program was Mackay Lykens, who did not compete at district and battled injuries during the season.
Juniors Jonathan Sanders and Chad Smith and freshman Joe Spires also were key runners.
“We lost a lot of seniors last year and our junior class just had a lot of growth this year,” Schaefer said. “They worked so hard this year. Almost all of them had great PRs. They wanted a little bit more out of district, but some unforeseen things came up. Their work ethic was there. ... They were ambitious this year and are going to be even more ambitious next year.”
League title highlights
boys soccer season
In addition to a Division III district runner-up finish, the boys soccer team’s season was highlighted by winning the MSL-Ohio championship.
The top-seeded Warriors were outscored 4-2 in a shootout to lose 1-0 to second-seeded Grandview on Oct. 31 in a district final, but they beat the Bobcats 2-1 on Sept. 5 and went on to finish 5-1 in the league.
According to coach Dan Roads, the team’s nine-member senior class never lost focus.
“We have a really solid group of seniors motivated to sacrifice for the team,” he said. “This is a senior class that has really learned and experienced all of the different aspects and nuances of what it means to be a championship team. (It was) a solid group of guys that are unselfish.”
The biggest loss to graduation will be forward Tyler Kindberg, who was named the league’s Player of the Year.
Worthington Christian, which finished 13-5-1 overall, also is losing midfielders Trent Wenger and Levi Yoder, goalie Ethan Kraynak and defenders Will Cain, Scott Ruane and Zach Thomas.
Juniors Tommy Anthony (forward), Cam Broadfoot (forward), Caleb Denorme (goalie), Kael Oosterbahn (midfielder) and Grant Woodfin (defender) and sophomore Matthew Yoder (forward) should be among the top returnees.
Others eligible to return include juniors Adam Dunson (defender), Eli Hoskinson (midfielder) and Caleb Stults (midfielder) and sophomores Will Garinger (goalie), Luke Stimpson (midfielder) and Jaedon Thomas (defender).
•MSL-Ohio standings: Boys — Bexley (35), Columbus Academy (50), Grandview (64), Buckeye Valley (87), Worthington Christian (131), Whitehall (181), Wellington (189); Girls — Did not score
•Seniors lost: Boys — Mackay Lykens; Girls — None
•Key returnees: Boys — Samuel O’Roark, Jonathan Sanders, Synjin Sharp, Chad Smith, Joe Spires and Sam Spires; Girls — Alexa Graham, Zoe Ward and Annie White
•Postseason: Boys — Seventh (202) at district behind champion Mount Gilead (39); Girls — Did not score at district
•Record: 13-5-1 overall
•MSL-Ohio standings: Worthington Christian (5-1), Grandview (4-2), Whitehall (4-2), Academy (2-2-2), Buckeye Valley (2-4), Bexley (1-4-1), Wellington (1-4-1)
•Seniors lost: Will Cain, Tyler Kindberg, Ethan Kraynak, Tommy Rettstatt, Scott Ruane, Noah St. John, Zach Thomas, Trent Wenger and Levi Yoder
•Key returnees: Tommy Anthony, Cam Broadfoot, Caleb Denorme, Kael Oosterbahn, Grant Woodfin and Matthew Yoder
•Postseason: Defeated Granville Christian 8-1; def. Patriot Prep 8-0; lost to Grandview 1-0 (4-2 shootout) in Division III district final