By Ben Stroup
Some of the most significant moves during Saturday’s Division I girls cross country regional championship were made after the race ended, as lost time chips and missed results created a good bit of confusion on and around the course at Pickerington North High School.
Olentangy Liberty, which had three standouts finish in the top 10, appeared to have a regional title locked up after an initial revision moved the Patriots from fifth to first in the team standings, edging runner-up Granville 93-101. Granville filed a protest, though, claiming it should be the regional champ.
When the dust finally cleared and final results were posted online, the Blue Aces were awarded the crown thanks to a 93-94 edge over the Patriots.
The title would have been a serious plus, but the runner-up showing still earned Liberty the right to compete in this weekend’s state championship for the second straight season.
Sophomore Emma Bower led the Patriots, finishing second among individuals in 18:08.6. Only Hilliard Davidson’s India Johnson was faster, finishing in 17:58.1.
Liberty’s Gracie Sprankle was right behind her teammate, closing third in 18:20.7, while the Patriots’ Claire Linn finished eighth in 18:52.9.
Orange and Olentangy were also in action, finishing seventh and 14th, respectively, to see solid seasons come to a close. Both had individuals punch tickets to the state showcase, though, as the Pioneers’ Allison Guagenti closed seventh in 18:32.0 and the Braves’ Lex Brookshire crossed the finish line 16th in 19:13.3.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Orange’s Hunter Moore and Olentangy’s Anthony Sasso led their respective squads at Saturday’s Division I boys cross country regional championship in Pickerington, earning spots in this weekend’s state championship in the process.
Moore and Sasso finished fifth and 11th in respective times of 15:44.9 and 16:02.8 to keep their seasons alive.
Mitchell Towne was Liberty’s top runner, finishing one spot out of state qualification with a 17th-place performance of 16:07.9.
Liberty finished fifth as a team while Orange was 10th and Olentangy closed 16th.
Buckeye Valley’s Zach Kreft will represent the Barons during this weekend’s state meet at National Trail Raceway, advancing for the second straight season by finishing fifth in 16:06.0 at Saturday’s Troy Regional.
BV finished 12th as a team, marking the end of a solid season.
“The boys had a very successful season this year with highlights of winning MOAC and being district runner-up,” Baron coach Nate Ritz said. “It is never fun to finish up the season, but the good news is we are a relatively young group. Six of the top eight boys are sophomores and we hope to build upon that next season. Senior and four-time regional qualifier Caleb Herriott will be a big loss for the program. Caleb has been a vital part of the success the boys team has experienced the past four years.”
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.