Bethany Bogantz, Ahmed win Golden Eagle Award in cross country
By GARY HENERY
News Managing Editor
Seniors Bethany Bogantz and Cameron Ahmed concluded their Big Walnut cross country careers with the presentation of the coveted Golden Eagle Award for their respective contributions to the boys and girls programs at the postseason awards banquet held Wednesday, November 7, in the BWHS Auditorium.
Big Walnut’s Golden Eagle Award is awarded to a senior based on Character (40 percent), Scholarship (30 percent, 3.00 or higher GPA) and Athletic Ability (30 percent). Bogantz carries a 4.149 GPA while Ahmed has a 3.948 GPA.
Members of the Golden Eagle girls squad joining Bogantz on the podium were senior Stephanie Keller, recipient of the High Point and Most Improved Runner awards; senior Leah Viertel, who was presented with the Newcomer Award; and junior Catherine Craig-Bowden and sophomore Makenna Hemming, who shared the Coaches Awards.
Ahmed was joined by three teammates, including senior A.J. Barber, who earned the High Point Award; sophomore Jared Boseker, recipient of the Most Improved Runner Award; and sophomore Bobby Bogantz, winner of the Newcomer Award.
Making the presentations were Golden Eagle head coach Gary Brandon along with assistant coach Dora Riggs.
Big Walnut’s girls, 54–108 overall, placed fifth in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division with 127 points behind division champion New Albany which totaled 33 points. Olentangy Orange (65 points), Olentangy (82) and Watkins Memorial (84) took the next three spots.
Bethany Bogantz paced the Golden Eagle individuals with a seventh-place finish in 20 minutes, 45.2 seconds, earning All-OCC Second Team recognition for her performance. Keller placed 12th at the OCC’s in 21:12.5, receiving Second Team recognition.
Bogantz would go on to place 15th at the Division I Central District Division I Championships, earning a berth at the Regional Meet.
Big Walnut’s boys posted a 63–102 overall mark and placed seventh in the OCC Capital Division with 151 points. New Albany also claimed the boys title, scoring 32 points to edge past runnerup Olentangy’s 56 points. Olentangy Orange took the third spot with 91 points.
Sophomore Jonathan Kahrmann and Barber earned All-OCC recognition at the conference meet. Kahrmann placed 26th in 17:56.6 and Barber 28th in 18:00.4.
Brandon awarded 22 varsity letters, 10 to the 22 members of the girls’ roster and 12 to the 14-man boys roster.
On the girls team, Bethany Bogantz and Craig-Bowden each earned their third varsity letter. Second-year letter winners included sophomores Samantha Godby, Hannah Seabrook, Addison Shawver, Mikaela Smith and Hemming along with Keller. Two seniors, Elizabeth Finnegan and Viertel, each earned their first varsity letter. Bogantz and Keller also received their Senior Plaque.
Junior varsity awards were presented to juniors Kelsey Kieffer-Jones and Meander Wank; to sophomore Breanna Mery; and to freshmen Madison Bayer, Rachael Brown, Alison Hager, Mara Hartings, Madeline Jenkins, Mary Jenkins, Erin Lanning, Selena McVay and Cassidy Willison.
On the boys side, Ahmed and Barber were each presented with their Senior Blanket as four-year lettermen. Junior Jacob Oppenheimer earned his third varsity letter. Second-year letter winners included seniors James Glaze and Colton Shidaker as well as sophomores Noah Miller and Kahrmann. First-year varsity letter winners were juniors Hayden Althauser and Logan Perry along with freshmen Nathaniel Bell, Bobby Bogantz and Boseker.
JV awards were earned by sophomores Aaron Brown and Graham Weaver.
Fifteen members of the Big Walnut boys and girls squads were recognized as Big Walnut School Athletes (Varsity Letter Winner, 3.20 Grade Point Average), including Ahmed, Althauser, Bell, Bethany Bogantz, Bobby Bogantz, Craig-Bowden, Finnegan, Godby, Keller, Oppenheimer, Perry, Seabrook, Shawver, Viertel and Smith.
Ahmed and Finnegan were honored as Ohio Capital Conference Scholar Athletes (Senior, 3.50 GPA).