Worthington Christian earns two podium trips

The Worthington Christian Girls Track Team got the results they were looking for on the final day of the Division III State meet June 3-4 at Ohio State.

There were 13 athletes in state for the Warriors after scoring 67 points to edge Fairbanks (66) for their first regional championship since 1994 on May 27 in Lexington.

The only running event in which Worthington Christian qualified for the state final, however, was the 800-meter relay, which featured seniors Grace Hall and Audrey Mousa, junior Maria Klausman and the second year Jamie Custer.

Senior Brooke Holloway, the first athlete in program history to compete in the pole vault, also represented the school in a June 4 state final.

The Warriors landed on the top half of the podium in both events, with the 800 relay finishing third (1 minute, 44.57 seconds) and Holloway placing fourth in the pole vault (11 feet, 8 inches).

Heading into the 800m relay final, Worthington Christian was ranked seventh.

“It was a nice surprise,” Hall said. “We got our school record at the regional and (in the preliminary state) our time wasn’t as good. We had to sort out some transfer issues, but I think we did (in the final). We broke our school record again (in the state finals), so I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Hall, Klausman and Mousa also raced in the 800 relay which was eighth in the state last season.

Hall added a 15th place in the 100m (12.75) and competed in the 400m relay (16th place) (52.0) with junior Jane Bechtel and sophomores Rachel Fife and Natalie Woodfin.

Mousa was 14th in the 200m (26.26) and Custer was 11th in the 400m (1:00.34). Custer joined senior Sydney Diedrich, junior Ellie Cain and rookie Natalie Ryan on the 1,600m relay in 11th place (4:10.21).

Mousa will compete for Biola University in La Mirada, California.

“It was really stressful, but I knew our team this year would be really good and I had full confidence that we could achieve what we just did (in the national final),” she said.

Holloway previously competed for Westerville South before signing up with Worthington Christian for his senior season. She plans to compete for Mount Vernon Nazarene.

“I sprained my ankle at regionals last year and couldn’t finish jumping,” she said. “I probably would have been able to declare (last year), so I’m happy to be (to declare this season) in general. My first year, I had a cerebral fart and everything went wrong and I found myself without height at regional.(This year’s state meet) was a good day.

The Warriors opened the state on June 3 by finishing their 3,200 stints from Diedrich, juniors Ellie Cain and Zoe Ward and rookie Natalie Ryan 14th in 10:01.2.

Ward was also a state qualifier in cross country last fall.

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “I looked at all the other teams and ours is great. We have so many people who have done it which is so cool.

Diedrich, who joined Cain, Custer and Klausman on the 1,600 relay that was 15th last season, plans to travel to Cedarville, where she plans to be part of the track program.

“We have a lot of fun racing together,” Diedrich said. “We have made a lot of progress compared to last year.”

Diedrich in the 800m, Hall in the long jump, Klausman in the 200m, Ryan in the 400m, Ward in the 3,200m and seniors Lily Bauman and Morgan Lawrence in the discus also competed in regional competition.

Others eligible to return include junior Sylvia Fulks (middle distance) and sophomores Emily Barron (discus, shot put) and Annie White (distance).

“The regional was outstanding,” coach Mark Mousa said. “The girls performed as well as anyone could have hoped for. Getting all four stints was one of the goals and we knew our (800 stint) was going to be the strength of our team. The seniors left a legacy impressive.

Thomas senior Leila Boussedra finished 11th in the 3,200 meters at the Division I State meet after finishing second at regional.

• Leila Boussedra couldn’t help but be bowled over by her performance in the Division I State meeting on 4 June.

The Thomas senior finished 11th in the 3,200m (11:18.49), beating his personal best 10:55.42 to finish second in regional competition on May 27 in Pickerington North.

“She called as soon as she finished running and apologized,” coach Andy Cox said. “I said, ‘You have nothing to regret. You’re at the state meeting. You’re a top 18 runner and you have one of the best times we’ve had at Thomas Worthington running 10:55 at regional. No one can ever take it away.

Boussedra capped off a whirlwind school year in which she competed in both field hockey and cross country in the fall in pursuit of a college scholarship.

At the national indoor meet in March, she finished fifth in the 3200 (11:01.05) and teamed with sophomores Meghan Kemp and Caroline Murphy and senior Hadley Kulina to place 20th in the 3200 relay (10 :16.9).

In the spring, she dropped nearly 45 seconds off her time of 3,200 after winning the Pickerington North Stingel Invitational in 11:39.72 in her second meet of the season. She also had victories at the Newark Invitational (11:36.4), the Thomas’ Gary Smith Invitational (11:12.22) and the OCC-Cardinal Division meet (11:28.63).

And, she got a scholarship to run cross country and track at Ohio University.

“She’s going to do some awesome things at OU next year,” Cox said. “She ran four cross country races and was offered a scholarship. Then she continued to improve all track season. They have a good one coming to Athens.

Boussedra, Kulina and freshmen Alaina Smullen and Molly McClellan won a championship title in the 3200 relay (9:48.89).

“Last year our numbers were way below what we traditionally have at Thomas Worthington, Cox said. “We had 40 sophomores and freshmen (this year) who had never raced before. That energy and excitement was pretty clear. We tried to exploit that throughout the season.

“Culture is definitely back to normal. … (It was) very competitive and (we) gained a lot of experience. I think it was a springboard for the seasons to come. I think we are going to be good the next two years.

–Michael Rich

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THOMAS

• OCC-Cardinal classification: Olentangy (116.5), Dublin Jerome (97), Marysville (93), Hilliard Darby (84), Olentangy Berlin (69.5), Thomas (63)

•Lost Elders: Leila Boussedra, Riley Chase, Elise Coles, Ella Fledderjohann, Hadley Kulina, Kennedy Macerollo, Trinity Murphy, Autumn Novak, Pearl Richardson and Summer Rogers

• Main returnees: Habiba Bundu, Julianne Conroy, Chaneya Garner, Jillian Jenkins, Zoe Limbach, Piper Lowe, Molly McClellan, Alaina Smullen, Rosalie Smullen and Andrea Tubbs

• Post-season: 10th (35) at district behind champ Westerville Central (103), tied for 20th (11) at regional behind champ Gahanna (73), didn’t score at state

WORTHINGTON CHRISTIAN

• MSL-Ohio Ranking: Bexley (142.5), Columbus School for Girls (115), Worthington Christian (96), Columbus Academy (90), Buckeye Valley (80.5), Grandview (77), Wellington (32), Whitehall (20)

•Lost Elders: Lily Bauman, Sydney Diedrich, Grace Hall, Brooke Holloway, Morgan Lawrence and Audrey Mousa

• Main returnees: Emily Barron, Jane Bechtel, Ellie Cain, Jamie Custer, Rachel Fife, Maria Klausman, Natalie Ryan, Zoe Ward and Natalie Woodfin

• Post-season: Second (127) at district behind Fairbanks (183), first (67) at regional, tied for 16th (11) at state behind champion North Robinson Colonel Crawford (44)

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