Seniors Cameron Michalak and Tyler Elgin of the Grove City Christian School boys golf team recall the disappointment of falling short of qualifying for the Division III district tournament as freshmen and sophomores.
That is why their last two seasons have been special.
Both earned their second district berths with their performances in the 11-team sectional Sept. 24 at Pine Hills. Michalak was medalist with a 71 and Elgin was second overall with a 76.
The top two teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district Oct. 2 at River Greens.
"Cameron and I lost in a playoff our freshman year and my sophomore year wasn't my best year," Elgin said. "I worked on it and last year made it to district and this year I made it to district again."
"I felt like I could do it since I had been there before," Michalak said of qualifying for district.
The Eagles just missed qualifying for district as a team, as they shot a 332 to place third behind Fisher Catholic (317) and Newark Catholic (331).
"They're both seniors and they both work so hard on their game," coach Del Varney said of Michalak and Elgin. "I'm really pleased."
The top four individuals not on a qualifying team at district advanced to state Oct. 11 and 12 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Last season, Michalak made history by becoming the first golfer for Grove City Christian to qualify for state. He shot a 36-hole total of 151 to tie Ashland Crestview's Josh Brooks for second behind Gates Mills Gilmour Academy's Andrew Bieber (144).
Football team seeking third straight win
The football team opened with three consecutive losses, but now is looking for its third win in a row.
Grove City Christian, which defeated Fayetteville-Perry 35-14 on Sept. 27 at home to improve to 2-3, opens MSL-Cardinal Division play Friday, Oct. 4, at home against Fairfield Christian.
This marks the Eagles' first season in the MSL-Cardinal.
"It's homecoming, a rivalry game. It's a big game for us," coach Andrew McCampbell said. "It's the start of the Mid-State League games, so it's a big game all around."
Fullback Casey Stauffer rushed for 72 yards and one touchdown on seven carries and tailback Jordan Haywood added 70 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries to lead the Eagles against Fayetteville-Perry.
Through five games, Haywood has a team-high 651 yards rushing, quarterback Nate High has passed for 382 yards and wide receiver Tre Roberts has 184 receiving yards.
Stauffer, who also plays linebacker, leads the team in tackles with 40.
"It's been pretty good the last couple of weeks," said McCampbell, whose team posted its first win against Troy Christian, 37-14 on Sept. 21. "We've been playing some pretty good games. Our defense has stepped up the last two weeks. This is what we were expecting to see all year."
Boys soccer coach pleased with progress
The boys soccer team was 3-7-1 overall and 1-2 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Bexley on Oct. 1.
"Our first year in the Mid-State League has come with challenges," coach Aaron Holley said. "We're a young team and a growing program. Along with it being my first year as head coach, we currently start three freshmen and three girls on our varsity boys team."
Last week, Grove City Christian defeated Whitehall 1-0 on Sept. 24 before losing to Grandview 8-0 on Sept. 26.
Against Whitehall, freshman Lauren Bankey scored and senior goalkeeper Tyler Bowen had 12 saves.
"We had a hard-fought, scrappy win against Whitehall and then lost a tough one at Grandview," Holley said. "We are seeing amazing improvement in our level of play and the team is learning how to be resilient and what it means to play good, disciplined soccer."
Through 11 games, sophomore Ryan Lantzy had a team-high four goals and three assists, junior Jayson Stauffer had three goals and three assists, freshman Tanner Allen had three goals and two assists, Bankey had three goals and Bowen had 161 saves.
"We knew that it would take time to implement a new system and get our program where it needs to be, but we've been reminding our entire team all year that we aren't just playing soccer, we're building a program," Holley said.
Girls volleyball team looking to improve
The girls volleyball team was 3-12 overall before playing Shekinah Christian on Oct. 1 and is 0-7 in the MSL-Cardinal.
The Eagles lost to Harvest Prep 25-13, 25-19, 25-14 in a league match Sept. 26.
"We haven't progressed as far as I thought we would at this point in the season, but the kids are coming in every day working to get better," coach Joe Bradford said. "We also lost a player to transfer (middle hitter Shay Weaver to Franklin Heights), so (last) week (was) a bit of a transitional week. We have seen some stretches this season where we play really well, which excites us about the future of the program."
Through 15 matches, middle hitter Stephanie Sowards had a team-high 36 kills, followed by outside hitters Allie Griggs (27), Kasey Hogan (25) and Maria Delaney (24). Griggs had 18 aces and setter Allison Jacobs had 95 assists.
"We are a really young team and, while we've had some struggles, the kids are gaining some valuable experience, which should serve the program well going forward," Bradford said.