Central Ohio High School Sports Awards: Girls finalists announced for Super 12 cross county
From the comments offered by their coaches, it’s clear the members of ThisWeek’s Super 12 girls cross country team share a passion for training and a drive to succeed.
One of the honorees will be selected as the team’s Captain – our girls cross country Athlete of the Year. That honor will be announced during the Central Ohio High School Sports Awards online show at 7 p.m. July 8.
Finalists in all 10 fall sports should register at sportsawards.usatoday.com/centralohio. The finalists for boys golf, girls golf, girls tennis and boys cross country previously were announced. Next week, we will announce the Super 6 for field hockey.
Below is the Super 12 for girls cross country:
Audrey Bannister, Dublin Scioto
Bannister leaves the Irish program as its most prolific runner.
The senior capped her prep career by competing in her fourth Division I state meet, finishing 80th of 176 runners in 19 minutes, 35.2 seconds.
Bannister helped Scioto win the OCC-Capital Division title by finishing first (19:05.5) in the league meet.
She set the program record of 17:59.4 in the OCC-Cardinal meet in 2018.
“Audrey was again our stable leader throughout the year, always setting a standard for how to push yourself every day,” coach Matt Suttle said. “She not only led our team, but was also a great influence on our talented duo of freshmen, showing them what it takes to be elite. She’s raised the bar on our entire team over the last four years and has definitely left it in a better place than when she came in.”
Toby Bomser, Worthington Kilbourne
This sophomore qualified for the Division I state meet for the second time by finishing 16th (19:44.7) at regional. Bomser then was 46th (19:15.5) at state after placing 93rd (19:44.3) as a freshman.
She also was 10th (19:20.9) in the section 1 race at district, where the Wolves finished fifth to earn the final regional-qualifying spot.
“Toby’s work ethic and enthusiasm for cross country is unlike any other,” coach Katherine Scocozzo said. “She puts in the time and effort every day on every rep. That’s just the kind of runner she is.
“She’s not only self-motivated, but does a great job motivating others to do their best as well. I couldn’t be happier for what Toby has accomplished so far and look forward to what the future holds.”
Keagan Gehring, Hilliard Davidson
Gehring helped the Wildcats enjoy another banner season and capped her sophomore year by finishing 67th (19:30.4) in the Division I state meet.
Gehring also played a key role as Davidson won regional, district and OCC-Central titles and finished second at state. She was 19th (19:52.9) at regional, fifth (19:02.7) at district and eighth (19:27.35) in the league meet.
“Keagan’s continued success as a runner in the Davidson program can be linked to her commitment to start working on some of the elements outside of practice that go into making a great runner,” coach Nate King said. “The main goal for Keagan was to have a consistent season of improvements, and she was able to achieve that by an increased focus to staying healthy through cross-training to supplement a careful running regimen.”
Caitlyn Jones, Hilliard Davidson
Jones was a key contributor during her first season with the Wildcats after transferring from Hilliard Bradley.
The sophomore finished 19th (18:41.1) in the Division I state meet and helped lead Davidson to a second-place finish (138) behind Centerville (128).
Jones won district (18:31.8) and OCC-Central (18:34.43) titles and was 14th (19:44.3) at regional as Davidson captured championships in each meet.
“Caitlyn’s contributions to the team start with her training ability, where she sets the bar sky high every day at practice,” King said. “The standard she sets in workouts is a big reason why Davidson was successful in 2020. Our goals for Caitlyn were to apply her great training skills to improving as a racer in order to have a strong postseason.”
Claire MacDonald, Bexley
MacDonald placed 34th (19:38.9) in the Division II state meet for the Lions, who finished 10th (250) behind champion Lexington (113) in their fifth consecutive trip to state.
The junior was 41st (19:31.1) as a sophomore and 59th (20:21.2) as a freshman.
MacDonald finished fifth (19:37.0) at regional as Bexley was third. The Lions placed first in the section 2 race at district, as MacDonald was runner-up (19:35.9).
She won the MSL-Ohio race in 19:53.7 for the second consecutive season to help Bexley capture its fourth title in a row.
“Claire is quietly consistent, and she puts the team first,” coach Eric Acton said. “Even though you can be blessed with talent, you need a strong work ethic to reach her level. She’s thoughtful and cerebral.”
Alyssa Mason, Hilliard Davidson
The junior played a key role in Davidson’s success, finishing 37th (19:08) in the Division I state meet, helping the Wildcats place second.
Davidson easily won regional, district and OCC-Central titles, with Mason finishing ninth at regional (19:35.4) and third in both the district (18:52.3) and league (19:00.7) meets.
“Alyssa’s season achieved a level of consistency she was working all year to attain,” King said. “Having found a few breakout races in 2019, Alyssa set a goal of performing more consistently in 2020 and becoming someone her team could count on for strong performances on race day. She did that through gradual training increases and working on her race-day mindset.”
Avril Moyer, Reynoldsburg
This senior concluded her prep career as a four-time regional qualifier and two-time state qualifier.
Moyer followed a 98th-place finish in last year’s Division I state meet by placing 72nd (19:32.3) this fall, but illness and injury late in the season likely prevented her from turning in a better performance.
An Ohio University commit, Moyer was runner-up (19:20) in the OCC-Buckeye meet and fourth (19:14.7) in the section 3 race at district, as the Raiders finished ninth. The top six teams advanced to the regional, where Moyer placed sixth (19:28.5).
“Avril Moyer continues to be consistently one of the best in the entire state,” coach Bill Crane said. “I’m so incredibly proud of her courage to continue showing up to the line. She’s tough as nails.”
Olivia Oiler, Dublin Coffman
After being Coffman’s No. 2 runner in last year’s Division I district meet, the sophomore emerged as a consistently high finisher this fall.
Oiler followed an 11th-place finish (19:42.9) in the OCC-Central meet by placing fifth (19:22.2) in the section 2 race at district as the Shamrocks won the title.
She then placed 27th (20:16.8) at regional as the Shamrocks were third to advance as a team to state, where Oiler was 75th (19:33.8) and Coffman finished 15th (313).
“Olivia has an amazing ability to bounce back from a bad race,” coach Greg King said. “She also worked really hard this season in practice, from June through the state meet. What impressed me the most was the way she handled being up near the front of races.”
Lydia Schoedinger, Upper Arlington
Schoedinger, a senior, was either the first or second runner for the Golden Bears in every race as UA won its first Division I district championship since 2014 and reached state for the first time since 2013 and 29th time in program history.
Schoedinger, who recorded a season-best time of 19:09 in the Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park, dropped more than two minutes during the season and finished 58th (19:23.5) at state.
“Lydia is the athlete that every coach dreams about having,” coach Allison Ewing said. “She does everything asked and beyond. She has heart and true grit. Lydia can always be counted on to show up on race day and perform regardless of the circumstances. I couldn’t have asked for a better young lady to lead our team.”
Alyssa Shope, Gahanna Lincoln
Missing the first six weeks of the season because of a hip injury didn’t keep this junior from being central Ohio’s top finisher in the Division I state meet.
Shope won the OCC-Ohio meet in 18:55 and followed by winning the section 3 race at district in 18:31.9 and the regional in 18:40.5.
At state, Shope was fifth (18:10.1) to help Gahanna finish 17th (429).
Last season, Shope finished 31st (19:52.7) at regional to miss advancing to state by 11 spots.
“For the first time, she can see that she has potential to be truly elite,” coach Ernie Ziegler said. “I know she missed a big stretch of time with the hip thing, but the fact she came back, she finally figured it out. To get fifth at state as a junior, she's got a shot next year to win a state title.”
Aubrey Steiner, Upper Arlington
Despite joining the team after the start of the season, this freshman became UA’s top runner and helped the Bears reach their first Division I state meet since 2013.
Steiner led UA in six of her seven races, the only exception being at regional, and finished 52nd (19:19.5) at state. Her best time was 18:45.7.
Steiner also helped the girls soccer team capture its first district championship since 2015.
“Aubrey is an absolute workhorse. Her drive and natural competitiveness is contagious,” Ewing said. “She lifts all of her teammates up and encourages everyone else around her to be better. She welcomes any challenge thrown at her and thrives off of obstacles. Aubrey was a true blessing to the team.”
Dillon Sweetman, Hilliard Davidson
Sweetman led the Wildcats in the Division I state meet, finishing 17th in 18:39.2.
The Wildcats finished second behind Centerville for their ninth top-10 finish at state in 10 seasons.
The sophomore was second in the district (18:34.3) and OCC-Central (18:57.66) meets and third (19:09.1) at regional, with Davidson winning all three races.
“Dillon emerged as one of central Ohio’s top runners this fall,” coach Nate King said. “Her postseason results were a culmination of many months of effort to improve in her training and mindset. On the j.v. squad last year, Dillon set her eyes on being a varsity contributor in 2020. She steadily improved over the offseason and utilized pandemic-related downtime to her advantage.”