Worthington Christian earned two podiums

The Worthington Christian girls track and field team achieved the results they were looking for on the final day of the Division III state meeting on June 3-4 in Ohio State.

There were 13 athletes for the Warriors after they scored 67 points against Fairbanks (66) for their first regional championship since 1994 on May 27 in Lexington.

The only running event where Worthington Christian qualified for the state finals was the 800 meter relay, which featured seniors Grace Hall and Audrey Mousa, junior Maria Klausman, and student 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 finals.

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

Worthington Christian finished seventh en route to the final of the 800 relay.

“It was a great surprise,” Hall said. “We got our school reports in the regional league and (in the regional preliminary round) our time wasn’t that good. We had to fix a few things in the handoff, but I think we fixed it (during the finale). We broke our school record (in the state finals) again, so I’m very happy with the result.”

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

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

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

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

“It was really stressful but I knew our team was going to be really good this year and had full confidence that we could achieve what we just achieved (during the state finals),” she said.

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

“Last year at the regional tournament I sprained my ankle and couldn’t finish jumping,” she said. “I probably would have done it (last year), so I’m generally happy to be (this season). My freshman year I had a total brain fart and everything went wrong and I ended up in the regional league with no height. (This year’s state meeting) was a good day.”

The Warriors opened the state on June 3 by finishing their 3,200 season consisting of Diedrich, juniors Ellie Cain and Zoe Ward and freshman Natalie Ryan in 14th place in 10:01.2.

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

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “I’ve looked at all the other teams and ours is great. We have so many people that managed to say what’s so cool.”

Diedrich, who finished 15th with Cain, Custer and Klausman in the 1,600 relay last season, plans to compete at Cedarville, where she is considering becoming part of the track program.

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

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

Other eligible returnees include junior Sylvia Fulks (middle distance) and students Emily Barron (discus, shot put) and Annie White (distance).

“The Regionalliga was outstanding,” said coach Mark Mousa. “The girls did as well as one could have hoped. Getting all four squadrons up and running was one of the goals and we knew that our (800 squadron) would be the strength of our team. The seniors left a great legacy.”

•Leila Boussedra couldn’t help but be annoyed with her performance at the Division I state meeting on June 4th.

That Thomas Senior finished 11th in the 3,200 (11:18.49), improving on her personal best of 10:55.42 to finish second at the May 27 regional meeting at Pickerington North.

“She called as soon as she finished racing and apologized,” said trainer Andy Cox. “I said, ‘There’s nothing you need to feel sorry for. You’re at the state meeting. You’re one of the top 18 runners and have one of the best times we’ve had at Thomas Worthington when you ran at 10:55 in the regional league. Nobody can ever take that away.’ ”

Boussedra finished a turbulent school year competing in both field hockey and cross country in the fall for a college scholarship.

At the March state indoor meeting, she placed fifth in the 3,200m (11:01.05) and tied for 20th place in the 3,200m (10:16.9) with sophomores Meghan Kemp and Caroline Murphy and senior Hadley Kulina.

In the spring, she fell nearly 45 seconds from her 3200 time after winning Pickerington North’s Stingel Invitational in 11:39.72 in her second competition of the season. She also had victories at the Newark Invitational (11:36.4), Thomas’s Gary Smith Invitational (11:12.22), and the OCC-Cardinal Division meeting (11:28.63).

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

“She’s going to do great things at OU next year,” said Cox. “She ran four races for cross country and was offered a scholarship. Then she continued to improve throughout the track season. They get a good one when they come to Athens.”

Boussedra, Kulina and newcomers Alaina Smullen and Molly McClellan won a championship title in the 3,200 relay (9:48.89).

“Last year our numbers were well below what we traditionally have at Thomas Worthington,” said Cox. “We had 40 sophomores and freshmen (this year) who had never run before. That energy and excitement was quite evident. We’ve been trying to take advantage of that all season.

“The culture has definitely returned to normal. … (It was) very competitive and (we) gained a lot of experience. I think that was a stepping stone for the coming seasons. I think we will be good for the next few years.”

– Michael Reich

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

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

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

•Late season: 10th (35) in district behind Westerville Central (103), tied 20th (11) in regional behind Gahanna (73), didn’t score in state


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

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

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

•Late season: Second (127) in district behind Fairbanks (183), first (67) in regional association, tied 16th (11) in state behind champion North Robinson Colonel Crawford (44)

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