The Grove City High School boys track and field team didn't have long to celebrate its victory in the 10th annual Best of the South-West Invitational on April 20 at Franklin Heights.

The Grove City High School boys track and field team didn't have long to celebrate its victory in the 10th annual Best of the South-West Invitational on April 20 at Franklin Heights.

Less than 24 hours after scoring 70.5 points to edge runner-up Central Crossing (70) in what amounted to be a photo-finish for the title – Franklin Heights (56.5) and Westland (56) waged an equally competitive race for third place – the Greyhounds were back on the track competing in the Kallner Invitational at Hamilton Township.

"It was a pretty crazy weekend with a lot of ups and downs," coach Jane Taylor said. "(The Best of the South-West) ended up being a lot closer than we wanted, and it was really hectic coming right back like we had to the next day. I'm not sure we had a lot left in the tank."

Grove City's "ups" in the Best of the South-West included victories by Ethan Jean-Louis in the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches), Matt Geroski in the pole vault (10-0) and Harve Crabtree in both the 110-meter hurdles (17.2 seconds) and 300 hurdles (43.8).

The "downs" included sprinter Ryan Barbari straining a hamstring while taking the second handoff in the 800 relay, which created a domino effect in other events. In addition, Taylor said distance runner Drey Thompson came down with strep throat afterward and was unable to compete the following day at Hamilton Township.

"We disqualified in the (800) relay (at Franklin Heights), and when Ryan got hurt that forced us to change up our (400) and (1,600) relays," Taylor said. "Fortunately, we still ended up pulling out the win, although a lot of things had to go our way for that to happen."

With little margin to work with, the Greyhounds received two much-needed efforts from Jordan Fisher. He finished third in the 100 (11.8), narrowly ahead of Franklin Heights' Sam Reed (fourth, 11.81), and that additional point loomed large. The same scene played out when Fisher took second in the 200 (23.6) by outkicking Westland's Ryan Martin (third, 24.1) down the stretch. Jake Kursinskis had such a moment as well when he placed second (2:10) in the 800, fending off Westland's Erick Martinez (third, 2:11.2).

"One-half a point, that's tough," Central Crossing coach Doug Boggs said, referring to the slim point differential. "We just missed. We did everything we could."

Will Doering did his part as the Comets tried to take back the first-place Best of the South-West trophy they surrendered for the first time a year ago when Grove City prevailed. He won both the 1,600 (4:39.9) and 3,200 (11:10.7) and joined Isse Roble, Kyle Dyer and Donovan Wonacott as the 3,200 relay also finished first (9:08.7).

"He had the best day at the meet. He finished fourth in the 800 (2:14.8), too," Boggs said. "That's a lot to ask, but he delivered."

The Comets also got wins from Wonacott in the 400 (51.7) and Stanley Gates in the 800 (2:06.2), while Dyer, Gates, Efren Jimenez and Wonacott won the 1,600 relay (3:35.8).

Central Crossing's girls team finished third (69.5) behind Franklin Heights (92.5) and the Greyhounds (71.5) and ahead of Westland (56). The Falcons won four of the five field events, swept the hurdles and finished first in 10 events overall.

The Comets got wins from Sami Peterson in the pole vault (8-3) and Brenda Pereyra in both the 100 (13.2) and 400 (1:01.1). Ally Boggs, Molly Lalonde, Jessica Reckner and Autumn Stasheen ran on the winning 3,200 relay (11:12.7).

"We're past the halfway point (of the regular season) now," coach Boggs said. "The Best of the South-West is when teams start to pick up the pace, and now we're heading towards the championship season."

Annie Winkler won the 1,600 (5:51.6) and Sarah Ellis finished first in the 3,200 (12:41.6) to lead Grove City's girls team. Carmen Dippolito, Taylor Harding, Hope Stocker and Danielle Terry were on the winning 400 relay (53.6).

"It was a great atmosphere and the stands were packed," Taylor said. "There were a lot of (personal records) set, and everyone was really into it.
"But I have to say I'm real glad that weekend is behind us."