Cross Country: Regional titles serve as appetizers for Hilliard Davidson boys, girls teams

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Hilliard Davidson’s Connor Ackley won the Division I regional boys cross country meet in 15:44.6 on Oct. 31 at Pickerington North. His performance also led the Wildcats to the team championship.

The Hilliard Davidson boys and girls cross country teams have bigger things in mind than just winning Division I regional titles. They are aiming to bring home more championship hardware from the state meet Saturday, Nov. 7, at Fortress Obetz.

The Wildcats girls won the regional team title Oct. 31 at Pickerington North for the third consecutive year and qualified for state for the 11th season in a row. The Davidson boys were regional champions for the third time in four years and advanced to state for the ninth time in 10 seasons.

Davidson won the boys race with 57 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Dublin Coffman (128).

“We tried to work on our game plan so it was kind of a dress rehearsal for state,” Wildcats coach Pat Schlecht said. “Our goal all year has been to compete for the state title. There’s going to be a lot of work that we have to do to put ourselves in place for that.

“We had a good race (at regional) but there are some places that we were heavy-legged, so we didn’t get the finish from a couple of our guys, but some really stepped up. It’s looking good, and we’ll see how things go this week when we freshen up.”

Davidson's Connor Ackley won the race in 15 minutes, 44.6 seconds. Owen Karas of St. Charles was second in 15:52.7.

“I made my move with 1K to go,” Ackley said. “It feels really good to make it as a team because everyone ran well.”

The Wildcats girls finished with 42 points as Lancaster was a distant second with 135. 

Davidson coach Nate King said his team had to get through a field that was different from any other competition this season.

“This is the first large competitive meet we have had all year, and it’s the first time all year we have run in mud,” King said. “This is our first bigger-style race where you not only have more runners but also more quality individuals, so it was a different format. The density of quality runners is probably quadruple of what we would normally see at a smaller meet.”

Gahanna’s Alyssa Shope (18:40.5) won the race while Dillon Sweetman was third (19:09.1) to lead Davidson.

“It was very muddy but you do whatever you can to win the races,” Shope said. “You have to jump over the mud and keep rolling, so I didn’t even think about that. I ran the race at my pace and couldn’t worry about people running with me.”

Bexley leads

area in Division II

The Bexley boys team was fourth (177) in Division II to qualify for state after finishing eighth at regional last season to miss advancing by one place. About 13 seconds separated the Lions' No. 1 and No. 5 runners.

Rob Donahey (38th, 17:33.5) and Spencer Stevenson (43rd, 17:36.7) led Bexley.

“When you have a great pack, you don’t need a front-runner,” Lions coach Eric Acton said. “We also had an 11-second pack last week (at district) and we were 19 seconds at the (MSL-Ohio Division) meet.”

Watterson’s Will Garey (eighth, 16:49.1) was the top area finisher, as the Eagles were sixth (205) to qualify for state for the first time since 2017.

“We haven’t gone as a team since I was a freshman so this is just huge,” said Garey, who finished 48th (16:44.8) at state last season as an individual. “It was one of my biggest goals coming to the season.”

The Bexley girls qualified for a fifth consecutive state meet by finishing third (93) at regional.

“We’re happy to be going back, especially because we weren’t sure if we were going to have a season with all of the weirdness going on,” said the Lions' Claire MacDonald, who was the area’s top individual with a sixth-place finish in 19:37.0. “It’s great to be with my teammates and get that chance.”

Grandview's Amicon

set to defend title

Grandview senior Derek Amicon, the defending Division III boys state champion, advanced by placing third at regional in 16:25.9.

“I knew this was going to be a tough race, but (the state meet) is what matters,” said Amicon, who won last year’s state title in 15:42.5 at National Trail Raceway. “This was a fun, pre-round going into (state).”

The Grandview girls advanced to their first state meet as a team since 2012, earning the fifth and final qualifying spot with 183 points.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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Below are the state qualifiers from the ThisWeek coverage area:

Division I boys 

Team qualifiers (with top five runners)

Hilliard Davidson: Connor Ackley (first, 15:44.6), Nick Puhl (fifth, 15:58.3), R.J. Sagrilla (15th, 16:33.7), Alex Hudson (29th, 16:51.0), Brody Boyd (31st, 16:54.1)

Dublin Coffman: Liam Shaughnessy (sixth, 16:10.9), Will McGraw (20th, 16:37.9), Isaac Frank (24th, 16:47.9), Noah Clemens (46th, 17:15.3), Jackson Roe (67th, 17:32.7) 

Dublin Jerome: Sam Ricchiuti (fourth, 15:56.1), Joshua Razor (17th, 16:34.3), Carson Smith (43rd, 17:14.4), Gunnar Grass (44th, 17:14.6), Andrew Bartsch (66th, 17:32.1)

Upper Arlington: Charlie Nowinski (14th, 16:33.3), Alex Nicol (37th, 17:07.7), Payton Domagalski (39th, 17:09.9), Nathan Mark (47th, 17:15.8), Ryan Card (48th, 17:16.8)

Individual qualifiers: Owen Karas, St. Charles (second, 15:52.7); Sean Carney, Hilliard Darby (third, 15:55.5); Victor Orsinelli, New Albany (seventh, 16:18.5); Thaine Nederveld, Whetstone (ninth, 16:27.5); Seth Davis, Reynoldsburg (10th, 16:29.8); Will Benseler, New Albany (11th, 16:29.9); Nick Whitehead, Pickerington North (12th 16:30.3); Ethan Nichols, New Albany (13th, 16:32.6); Jake Ethridge, Olentangy Orange (18th, 16:35.3); Noah Silliman, Thomas Worthington (19th, 16:37.0)

Division I girls 

Team qualifiers (with top five runners)

Hilliard Davidson: Dillon Sweetman (third, 19:09.1), Alyssa Mason (ninth, 19:35.4), Lindsay Stull (12th, 19:41.7), Caitlyn Jones (14th, 19:44.3), Keagan Gehring (19th, 19:52.9)

Dublin Coffman: Morgan Halli (17th, 19:44.7), Abigail Scherer (18th, 19:46.0), Olivia Oiler (27th, 20:16.8), Kylie Feeney (34th, 20:24.1), Alexis Marsico (84th, 21:19.7)

Upper Arlington: Lydia Schoedinger (eighth, 19:30.6), Aubrey Steiner (11th, 19:37.1), Elizabeth Lembach (35th, 20:25.9), Maggie Malone (57th, 20:49.1), Rian Adkins (74th, 21:09.3)

Gahanna: Alyssa Shope (first, 18:40.5), Addy Galloway (40th, 21:32.2), Elise Wunderlin (42nd, 20:31.7), Olivia Perry (58th, 20:49.9), Gabriella Sophocleous (91st, 21:33.3)

Individual qualifiers: Audrey Bannister, Dublin Scioto (fourth, 19:26.3); Avril Moyer, Reynoldsburg (sixth, 19:28.5); Ellie McClelland, New Albany (10th, 19:35.5); Tara Will, Westerville Central (15th, 19:44.5); Toby Bomser, Worthington Kilbourne (16th, 19:44.7)  

Division II boys

Team qualifiers (with top five runners)  

Bexley: Rob Donahey (38th, 17:33.5), Spencer Stevenson (43rd, 17:36.7), Solomon McDow (44th, 17:37.9), John Laing (47th, 17:42.8), Miller MacDonald (50th, 17:47.3)

Watterson: Will Garey (eighth, 16:49.1), Max Latshaw (19th, 17:04.2), Cris Kubatko (36th, 17:33.0), David Druhan (77th, 18:12.5), Finn Kephart (111th, 18:41.7)

Individual qualifiers: Luke Nester, Columbus Academy (14th, 16:55.9); Jake Huddleston, Columbus Academy (25th, 17:08.7)

Division II girls

Team qualifiers (with top five runners) 

Bexley: Claire MacDonald (sixth, 19:37.0), Maria Steinke (16th, 19:56.0), Karleigh Place (28th, 20:29.4), Hannah Hayden (32nd, 20:43.6), Ally Grieshop (45th, 21:06.9)

Individual qualifiers: Fabi Corso, Columbus School for Girls (18th, 20:05.3); Regan Cornelius, Columbus Academy (23rd, 20:18.1)

Division III boys

Individual qualifiers: Derek Amicon, Grandview (third, 16:25.9); Denison Murphy, Grandview (11th, 16:56.5)

Division III girls

Team qualifiers (with top five runners)  

Grandview: Madeline Palmisciano (34th, 21:23.1), Greta Tew (39th, 21:38.8), Nina Brown (46th, 21:55.4), Jillian Curfman (73rd, 22:49.9), Eleanor Kukura (92nd, 23:47.4)