Both the Jonathan Alder boys and girls cross country teams were tagged with high expectations at the beginning of the season, both expected to go far in the postseason.
To start the season, the boys team was expected to qualify for the regional meet, but now they’re in contention for a spot at the state meet.
Led by sophomore Luke Malone (16:35), Gavin Frick (16:40) and senior Jase Headings (16:50), the boys team has run exceptionally well this season.
What started with a victory at the Benjamin Logan Invitational, the team has been runner-up at the Westerville North Invitational, George Rogers Invitational, and finished in third place at the competitive Panther Invitational in Pickerington. The boys team is positioned for a deep run in the postseason, looking to become only the second Pioneers boys team to ever qualify for the state meet.
On the girls side, the expectation has been to make states all year. Led by freshman Morgan Hicks (18:48), junior Ashlyn McDaniel (19:51) and freshman Maddie Davis (19:51), the girls team has picked up a chain of impressive victories.
With victories at the Benjamin Logan Invitational, Westerville North Invitational, and George Rogers Invitational, the Lady Pioneers will look to become the first girls team in school history to qualify for the state meet.
The future looks bright for the team as well, as the junior high boys are ranked second in the state. Led by eighth graders Ismeal Ayoub (10:38), Grant Welsch (11:13), Colyn McDaniel (11:15) and seventh grader Owen Hecht (11:26), the Junior High boys have won all but one meet this season.
On the girls side, the Pioneers are poised for a run at a second straight state championship, led by seventh grader Alexis Frick (12:19) and eighth grader Reggan Gray (12:25).
Gavin Frick is a sophomore at Jonathan Alder High School and is the sports editor of The Pioneer Press.