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Bracken, Gabelman cement cross country legacy at Westerville North

Andrew Bracken took note of the all-state athletes on display in a hallway at Westerville North, where the runners include Bob Kennedy, Jacob Dumford and Kent Ford.

Kennedy won the state cross country title in 1986 and 1987 before going on to star at Indiana University and compete in the Olympics, while Dumford was second and Ford was fifth at state in 2012.

Bracken added himself to North’s rich history by placing 24th of 178 runners at the Division I state meet Nov. 5 at Fortress Obetz, earning all-Ohio honors with a time of 16 minutes, 0.6 of a second and a place on the wall.

“The wall is something I’ve seen every day for the last four years,” he said. “You see all the runners, the idols that I’ve looked up to. And there’s definitely more that I’ve seen on the girls side or even athletes in general that you hear stories about through North’s history that are on that wall. It just means a lot that I’m now a part of it.”

North junior Ben Gabelman finished fourth in the Division I state meet Nov. 5 at Fortress Obetz.

As Bracken listed off his heroes, he couldn’t help but mention junior teammate Ben Gabelman, who already was on the wall after placing fourth in the 1,600 meters (4:12.15) at last spring’s Division I state track and field meet.

Gabelman finished fourth (15:31.4) on Nov. 5 behind champion Connor Ackley of Hilliard Davidson (15:10.1).

“I’m really proud of (Gabelman),” Bracken said. “He’s put in so much work over the last few years and he deserves every part of it. He’s been a great teammate through the last two years of cross country and three years of track.”

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