The Groveport Madison High School track and field teams will compete in the OCC-Ohio Division meet Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Thomas Worthington.
Last season, the girls team finished fifth (38) behind Reynoldsburg (154), Pickerington North (143.5), Gahanna (121), Pickerington Central (120) and Grove City (42.5) and ahead of Lancaster (32) and Newark (11).
"I feel like we'll score pretty well in the league meet and the postseason, especially in the relays," assistant coach Aaron Fenzel said of the girls team. "We don't have a lot of depth, so placing high as a team will be more of a challenge. But we'll do well in quite a few events and the team is progressing and peaking at the right time.
"We're on a training regimen that should have us showing a lot of improvement in the last few weeks. That's the way I've always trained athletes."
The boys team finished sixth (46) in the OCC-Ohio meet last year behind North (174), Gahanna (121.25), Lancaster (108), Central (87.5) and Reynoldsburg (84.25) and ahead of Newark (23.75) and Grove City (14.25).
The boys and girls teams then will compete in the Division I, district 1 meet Tuesday, May 21 and May 23 and 25 at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North.
Last season, the girls team had only one regional qualifier in 2012 graduate Ceira Cruz, who finished 15th in the 100-meter hurdles (16.89 seconds) as the top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet at Ohio State.
The boys team had two regional qualifiers a year ago in junior D'Marious Napier (high jump) and 2012 graduate Karlos Pinkston (long jump).
Pinkston placed fourth in 21 feet, 11 1/4 inches to qualify for state, where he finished 14th (20-9 1/2). Napier just missed qualifying for state, as he cleared 6-2 to tie Dublin Coffman's David Gbenro for fourth before losing in a jump-off.
In the Hilliard Bradley Invitational on May 11, the girls team finished eighth (33) of 15 teams, behind champion Millersburg West Holmes (103), and the boys team finished sixth (48) of 16 teams, behind champion Columbus Academy (92).
For the girls team, Atyauna Jones placed fourth in the long jump (15-11 3/4) and fifth in the 400 (1:04.13), Eva Jerkins placed fourth in the 100 (13.05) and Jaliyah Atkinson was fourth in the 200 (27.82).
Jones, Jerkins and Atkinson teamed with Lillie Brown-Walker to place second in the 1,600 relay (4:18.80) and the 400 relay of Atkinson, Jerkins, Champagne Moss and Sharde Bumper finished fourth (52.77).
For the boys team, Ryan Robinette placed third in the 110 hurdles (15.46) and fifth in the 300 hurdles (42.07) and was a member of the 800 (1:31.17) and 1,600 (3:25.75) relays that finished second.
Napier placed fourth in the 200 (52.05) and was on the 800 and 1,600 relays with Robinette, Eddie Wilson and Mecca Swain. The 400 relay of Terry Dinkins, Emmanuel Salako, Khalil Davis and Swain finished fourth (46.77) and Chris Tabor placed fifth in the long jump (20-3 1/4).
Boys tennis team set for sectional
The boys tennis team will compete in the Division I sectional tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Pickerington Central.
Seniors Forrest Baldwin, Josh Sampson and Jordan Winegardner will play singles, juniors Nate Parsons and Cory Johnson will comprise one doubles team and junior J. Simms and sophomore Nick Shannon will comprise the other.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles qualify for the district tournament May 24 and 25 at Hilliard Davidson.
Baldwin is seeded third and will play Luke Cooperrider of Briggs or Chris Laine of Grove City in his first match.
"Forrest is seeded third and has a pretty good draw," coach Doug Ewart said. "We think he can compete with most of the top seeds. He's seen Pickerington Central's Andy Taylor twice and will see Teays Valley's Brad Strawser before the sectional, too."
Taylor is seeded second behind New Albany's Naki Giri and Strawser is seeded fourth.
"Forrest needs to get steadier against Taylor and work on closing out points," Ewart said. "Sometimes he's content to remain neutral and we need him to be more offensive. I don't necessarily mean more aggressive or powerful, but he needs to use better angles and placement but still be patient."
Sampson will face Zanesville's Brenton Osborne in the first round and Winegardner will play Central's Chase Pratt in a play-in match. Parsons and Johnson will open against Logan's Britton Mann and John Aucker and Simms and Shannon will face Central's Kyle Maycock and Richie Siebert in their opening match.
"The doubles is loaded in our sectional," Ewart said. "Most of the top singles players are in doubles, but I really like the improvement of all our guys (have made) across the board. Look at J. Simms, I wasn't even expecting him to contribute on varsity this year and he's been outstanding. He plays with a lot of desire and guts and has a good learning curve."
In the OCC-Ohio tournament May 11 at Reynoldsburg, Baldwin went 2-1 to placed fifth at first singles, Sampson placed seventh at second singles, Sims finished eighth at third singles, Parsons and Johnson finished sixth at first doubles and Shannon and sophomore Jacob Bogner placed sixth at second doubles.
Because all league dual matches had not been completed, the final point totals were not available.
Pickerington North (40 points, 7-0) has locked up the league championship. Entering the week, the OCC-Ohio standings behind the Panthers consisted of Reynoldsburg (31, 5-2), Gahanna (28, 5-1), Central (20, 4-2), Grove City (19, 3-4), Lancaster (10, 1-5), Groveport (7, 1-6) and Newark (2, 0-6).
The Cruisers finished 6-9 overall.
Softball team places third in OCC-Ohio
The softball team was seeded 13th of 42 teams in the Division I district tournament and played 37th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the first round May 14.
The winner plays 16th-seeded Thomas Worthington or 34th-seeded Whetstone in the second round Thursday, May 16, on the home field of the higher seed. Groveport, which was 14-9 overall before playing Watkins Memorial, did not play Thomas or Whetstone during the regular season.
The second-round winner will play second-seeded Grove City, 26th-seeded Dublin Coffman or 31st-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington North. The semifinal winner likely will face seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or eighth-seeded Watterson in a district final May 25 at Pickerington Central.
Groveport lost twice to Grove City in OCC-Ohio play, falling 16-7 on April 10 and 1-0 on April 26, but did not play Coffman or Franklin Heights during the regular season.
The Cruisers finished 9-5 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Pickerington Central for third, behind Grove City (13-1) and Gahanna (11-3) and ahead of Lancaster (7-7), Pickerington North (5-9), Newark (2-12) and Reynoldsburg (0-14).
Baseball team begins postseason play
The baseball team was seeded 35th of 41 teams in the Division I district tournament and played 25th-seeded New Albany in the first round May 13, with the winner having played eighth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the second round May 15.
Groveport entered the tournament 8-15 overall and finished 0-14 in the OCC-Ohio.
The second-round winner will play third-seeded Watkins Memorial or 40th-seeded Logan in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington North. The Cruisers have not played either team this season.
The semifinal winner will face 10th-seeded St. Charles, 14th-seeded Marysville, 19th-seeded Westerville Central, 20th-seeded Westerville North or 21st-seeded Dublin Scioto in a district final May 23 at Ohio Dominican University.