Track squads start strong
The Groveport Madison High School boys track and field team had a good showing in its opening meet.
The Cruisers scored 79 points in the 16-team Newark Invitational on April 6 to tie Licking Valley, Newark and Westerville Central for second, behind Independence (80).
Senior Eddie Wilson and junior Da'Marious Napier tied for first in the high jump, with both clearing 6 feet, 2 inches, and the Cruisers won the 800- and 1,600-meter relays.
"It was a great day," coach Jason Brooks said. "We are light years ahead of last year and it was fun to see everyone go out there and compete."
Wilson and Napier teamed with Ryan Robinette and Chris Robinson to win the 1,600 relay in 3 minutes, 31.31 seconds.
"The (1,600 relay) is very special," Brooks said. "Those four kids are special and I think they're going to do some great things this season. In fact, I think all three sprint relays have a chance to make state."
The 800 relay of Napier, Khalil Davis, Dana Cherry and Mecca Swain won in 1:33.09.
"Cherry is a freshman who is really going to make a big difference on our team and the other three are juniors," Brooks said. "Swain is our speedster, and he's only had two weeks of practice. Once he gets his legs, he's going to be a force."
Swain was runner-up in the 200 (23.13) and Robinette placed second in the 110 hurdles (16.4).
"Ryan Robinette was ineligible as a junior, so this was his first competition in two years," Brooks said. "We're not strong in distance events and we didn't score in hurdles last year, so if he can pick up points in hurdles this year, it'll be a great help."
The girls team finished seventh (44) of 15 teams in the Newark Invitational, behind champion Westerville Central (114.5).
"We were missing some girls who are on spring break and for it being this early in the season, I think we did pretty well," coach Kelli DelGuzzo said. "We're also a pretty young team. We saw some things we need to work on and I think we're going to switch our lineup in the (800 relay), but we also had some good individual efforts."
Champagne Moss won the long jump (15-4 1/4) and ran leadoff in the winning 400 relay (52.68). The junior was joined on the relay by Eva Jerkins, Janel Lisath and Sharde Bumper.
"Champagne had a good day, winning the long jump, being a member of the (400 relay) and finishing fourth in the 200 (27.88)," DelGuzzo said. "But that's what we expect from her."
The 1,600 relay of Trenika Bruner, Lisath, Leah Monroe and Atyauna Jones placed second (4:23.32).
"That surprised us," DelGuzzo said of the 1,600 relay's performance. "They all ran great splits. With as windy and cold as it was, I'm excited about that finish. Jones and Monroe are both 400 runners who have a lot of promise.
"I also was pleased with Jerkins, a (senior) move-in from Bexley. She had a strong day. In addition to the relays, she was sixth in the 100 (13.62) and she's emerging as a leader for us."
Downing leading way for softball team
Sophomore pitcher Emilee Downing had three consecutive one-hitters, helping the softball team post three shutouts in a row after losing its first two games.
The Cruisers defeated Worthington Christian 28-0 in five innings April 5 and beat Whetstone 13-0 in five innings and Dublin Jerome 1-0 on April 6.
Downing also homered against Whetstone.
Groveport was 3-2 overall before opening OCC-Ohio Division play April 8 against Gahanna. Entering that game, Downing had pitched 18 consecutive scoreless innings, starting with the sixth inning of a 9-0 loss to Watterson on April 3.
"Emilee has been outstanding except for the first inning against Watterson when they scored eight runs on seven hits," coach Steve Cunningham said. "We also had a number of outfield errors in that inning."
The Cruisers lost to Westerville North 7-6 in their opener April 1. They trailed 7-2 entering their final at-bat.
"We battled in that one, got it to 7-6 and had the bases loaded with one out (in the seventh inning)," Cunningham said. "But we hit a popup to first base and our runner didn't hear the infield fly rule get called. They dropped the ball, we ran and they threw us out at the plate for a double play to end the game."
Cunningham said Downing, Amy Castle (3B), Katie Fellure (1B) and Destiny Bishop (LF) were the team's most consistent hitters in the opening week.
He credited Brittany Kern (SS) and Kaysea Smith (C) with strong defensive play in their first seasons at their positions.
Baseball team wins first four games
The baseball team won its first four games, outscoring its opponents by a combined 60-4.
Groveport opened with a 17-4 win over Independence on April 4 before beating Centennial 16-0 on April 4 and sweeping Brookhaven on April 6, winning 12-0 and 15-0.
Freshman Collin Bobo both pitched five-inning no-hitter in the first game against Brookhaven and senior Josh Miller allowed only one hit in five innings in the second. Junior Jake Seipel got the win against Centennial and senior outfielder Lucas Trout homered against Independence.
By winning its first four games, Groveport was halfway to its win total from a year ago, when it finished 8-18.