Bill Dunston helped form the track and field program at Gahanna Christian Academy, and he also has coached in the baseball program.
Now, he has turned his attention to the softball team.
Dunston has replaced two-year coach Dan McGrath, who resigned following last season.
"The girls are really dedicated this year," he said. "They're motivated. They get outside and mud it out.
"That's a good sign."
Last season, the Eagles finished 12-7 overall after losing to top-seeded Newark Catholic 10-0 in five innings in the second round of the Division IV district tournament. They defeated Worthington Christian 16-3 in five innings in the first round.
Gahanna Christian went 6-5 in the MOCAL to finish third behind Delaware Christian (11-1) and Madison Christian (10-2) and ahead of Tree of Life (6-6), Grove City Christian (4-6), Fairfield Christian (3-9) and Granville Christian (0-11).
The Eagles open Monday, April 8, at home against Fairfield Christian.
Gahanna Christian returns several key players, including sophomore shortstop Bailey Moore, who led the team in hitting (.531) and RBI (41) last season and was second-team all-league.
Senior Hope Leimbach hit .370 with 11 RBI and was second-team all-league. She has moved from the outfield to catcher.
Also back are seniors Brittney Carroll (1B), Zareyfah Gibbon (CF), Chelsea Lewis (LF/P) and Hannah Welk (2B).
The Eagles are looking to replace 2012 graduate Gina McGrath, who went 12-7 with 106 strikeouts and 51 walks in 108 innings last season. She also hit .346 with 11 RBI and was first-team all-league.
Dunston said Lewis, Moore and sophomore Alex Grubich (P/SS) are competing for time in the circle.
"The pitchers are improved and they're talented athletes anyway," Dunston said. "Our defense has improved from last year."
Other players are senior Hannah Flax (OF), sophomores Lauren Clairdy (OF), Gifty Marfowaa (OF), Anna Marschner (OF) and Madison Page (OF) and freshmen Lexi Cochran (OF) and Maya Price (3B).
"We want to win the MOCAL," Dunston said. "It would be nice to go as far as possible in the district. Our goal this year is to win 13 games. We won 12 last year, I'd like to win 13 or more and take home the MOCAL trophy. It's an attainable goal."
Baseball team to have young look
With no seniors, the baseball team opens Monday, April 8, at home against Fairfield Christian.
Last season, the Eagles finished 6-11 after losing to Worthington Christian 16-1 in five innings in the first round of the Division IV district tournament.
Gahanna Christian went 1-8 in the MOCAL. Tree of Life went 9-1 to win the league.
"Our goals are always to try to win the league and to have a winning record," said Scott Jemson, who is in his 14th season as coach and also is the school's athletics director.
Gahanna Christian lost four players from a year ago to graduation, including Keegan Parsons (1B/P), who led the team with a .391 batting average and 20 RBI.
Parsons was first-team all-league and second-team all-district. He also became the first Gahanna Christian athlete to earn 12 varsity letters.
Sophomore Eddie Dilts (P/OF) hit .286 and was honorable mention all-league. Jemson expects Dilts to be the team's top pitcher.
"Eddie is extremely solid," Jemson said. "He works in the offseason. He's worked with a pitching coach. He strives to get better all the time."
Junior Connor Dyckes (SS/P) hit .308 last spring.
Also back are sophomores Anthony Barnes (CF) and Charlie Lawson (3B).
Other players are junior Patrick Mercer (OF), sophomore Steven Payne (C) and freshmen Taiwann Anderson (OF), Jaylon Fields (OF/P), Ian McPherson (2B/OF) and Jacob Perkins (1B/P).
"We hammer the fundamentals and push the guys every day in practice, and hopefully they'll continue to work hard and just get better," Jemson said.
Track teams look to build on success
Jeremy and Erika Reeves, who are married, begin their second season as coaches of the track and field teams.
In just its second season a year ago, Gahanna Christian qualified its first boys athletes for the Division III regional meet.
Senior Chase Broady (sprints/jumps) was 13th in the 200 meters (23.97 seconds) and Broady, junior Connor Maclellan (middle distance) and sophomore Michael Ramsey (jumps/sprints) were part of the 1,600 relay that finished 15th (3:40.95).
"We're trying to build a 4-by-4 dynasty," Jeremy Reeves said of the 1,600 relay. "They're working. We have some good kids. We have a lot of kids who came up in our middle school program last year that we're really excited about."
The Eagles open Saturday, April 6, in the Newark Catholic Invitational.
Other returnees are senior Carl Andre (distance) and juniors Zack Buckles (middle distance), Jared Downing (middle distance), Caleb Haugen (hurdles/sprints/discus), Jared Haugen (hurdles/jumps) and Joseph Schoen (distance).
Also on the team are senior Anthony Hebron (sprints/jumps), sophomores Tani Ajaiyeoba (sprints) and Sam Sibert (sprints) and freshmen Jeriah Cline (sprints), Tyler Johnson (hur-dles/jumps/sprints), Clifford Kelly (sprints/jumps), Xzavier Pace (hurdles/sprints) and Christopher Schoen (distance).
The Eagles didn't score last season at regional. Columbus Academy finished first (113) as 44 teams scored.
In the district 2 meet, Gahanna Christian tied Millersport for 12th (16) behind champion Grandview (125) as 17 teams scored.
Disnee-Rae Hairston (sprints) is the only senior on the girls team.
Other returnees are junior Monique White (sprints) and sophomores Cassie Miller (sprints) and DaJana Pollard (sprints).
Other athletes are freshmen Dernae Malone (sprints), Lily Navor (sprints) and Keyshah Tate (sprints).
Gahanna Christian didn't score at district last season. Academy was first (83) as 23 teams scored.