By Ben Stroup
Liberty’s Emma Bower had a pretty solid Saturday, leading the Patriot girls cross country team to the overall title while claiming the individual crown at the Les Eisenhart Invitational hosted by Thomas Worthington High School.
Oh yeah, she won in a school-record time of 17:47, too.
And Bower wasn’t alone in terms of solid showings.
Fellow Patriot Gracie Sprankle finished second among the 200-plus girls in action while Orange’s Allison Guagenti finished third. The two earned their spots in the top three with respective times of 18:10 and 18:15.
Other solid showings belonged to Liberty’s Claire Linn, who finished sixth in 18:41; and Orange’s Lindsey Ott, who closed 13th in 18:59.
The Patriots took top honors with 97 points while the Pioneers finished fifth with 213.
Hayes, led by Alicia Rittenour’s 39th-place performance (19:38) finished 20th as a team with 516 points.
On the boys’ side, Orange’s Hunter Moore nabbed individual bragging rights, winning in 15:21 while leading the Pioneers to a second-place showing. Liberty, which finished third, was led by Mitchell Towne’s 10th-place effort of 16:02.
Orange’s Brandon Morrow and Liberty’s John Ropchock also came up with big-time performances, finishing 15th and 21st in respective times of 16:07 and 16:27.
The Pioneers finished second with 126 points, the Patriots earned their spot in the top three with 147 and Hayes’ boys, led by Justin Hernan’s 92nd-place time of 17:37, finished 24th with 657 points.
Mount Gilead Thill Invitational
Buckeye Valley’s Zach Kreft won yet another invite Saturday, taking top honors at the Mount Gilead Thill Invitational with a time of 15:39.98.
Gavin Shearer and Nathan Holst also found themselves in the top 15 when all was said and done, finishing seventh and 13th in respective times of 17:13.64 and 17:50.74.
The Barons finished second as a team with 61 points.
The BV girls, who finished fourth, were led by Kennedy Cramer’s 10th-place effort of 21:30.88.
Olentangy’s boys finished third while the girls closed fourth during Saturday’s Darby Dash in Hilliard.
Anthony Sasso and Zach Balthaser led the Braves’ boys, finishing fifth and 10th in respective times of 16:10.74 and 16:37.06.
The girls were boosted by Lex Brookshire, who finished fourth overall in 19:14.18.
Johnstown Harrier Showdown
Big Walnut’s Jacob Hutchinson and Matt Halbakken finished just six seconds apart, closing 11th and 12th with respective times of 18:09.62 and 18:15.59 during Saturday’s Harrier Showdown hosted by Johnstown-Monroe High School.
The Golden Eagle boys closed fifth in the Hawks Division while the girls, led by Leksi Murnieks’ fifth-place time of 22:21.68, also nabbed a fifth-place finish.
Orange’s Tallie Toomajian found the back of the net and Hannah Sargent made nine saves in goal as the Pioneers battled to a 1-1 non-league tie against visiting Upper Arlington Saturday night.
Liberty 3, Watterson 1
Sarina Dirrig, Jordan Fike and Olivia Sensky scored as the Patriots rolled to a solid non-league win over visiting Watterson Saturday in Powell.
The defense, anchored by Emma Campbell and Riley Cartwright’s combined eight saves, was also sharp in the win.
Copley 4, Liberty 3
Granville 1, Orange 0
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.