Grove City Record

Cross Country

'Hounds seeking better seasons

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The Grove City High School boys and girls cross country teams both finished last in the OCC-Ohio Division last year and did not advance a runner to the Division I regional meet, but second-year coach Joe Dollins hopes the return of several top runners changes the Greyhounds' course.

The boys team returns five of its top seven runners from last year, and the girls team brings back three of its top six.

"I can definitely see us being more competitive," Dollins said. "I feel better about our overall endurance and speed. The camaraderie has definitely grown, and I feel like I know the kids better -- that, and just knowing the ins and outs of an entire season having been through one (as a head coach). I really think all of that is going to pay off for us."

Junior Doug McIntire returns to lead the boys team, along with senior Alex Meister and juniors Adam Glass, Troy Henricksen, Austin Huff and Noah Porter. McIntire was the boys team's top finisher four times last year, and Glass led the Greyhounds twice.

Junior Micaila Mountain was the girls team's top runner last year, leading the Greyhounds four times. Sophomore Sydney Smith did so twice.

Also returning for the girls team is sophomore Rachel Hitchcock.

"We need at least one of those five juniors (on the boys team) to run like a senior. Same thing for Sydney and Micaila," Dollins said. "They continue to build, develop speed and finish strong. That's our saying for this year: 'Finish strong.' It's just a matter of running hard, racing smart and finishing strong.

"We want to be the team picking off runners, not the other way around."

Grove City opened Aug. 23 in the Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North.

Led by McIntire's ninth-place finish (18 minutes, 18.7 seconds), the boys finished second (118 points) in the 16-team Bengal Division behind Warsaw River View (42).

Glass was 11th (18:34.5), followed by Porter (29th, 19:21.2), Henricksen (31st, 19:29.5), freshman Evan Whitaker (38th, 19:49.5), Meister (39th, 19:51.9) and junior Alex Caskey (68th, 21:07.6).

The girls scored 374 points and tied Port Clinton for 13th in the 21-team Bengal Division behind champion Upper Arlington (40). Smith was 24th (22:06.4), followed by Mountain (35th, 22:55.2), Hitchcock (122nd, 26:00.1), freshman Haley Overly (143rd, 26:37.8), senior Kari DeVore (160th, 27:02.9), freshman Kaitlin Osterman (220th, 29:48.4) and senior Cortney Cain (221st, 29:49.7).

According to Dollins, other runners who could figure into the varsity mix for the boys are junior Scott Wing and sophomore Kyle Coakley. Other expected varsity runners for the girls are junior Alycia Crawford, sophomore Tara Kreml and freshman Ana White.

"I think at least our top six on the boys side are stable," Dollins said. "The girls are not as experienced, but I expect a lot from them. We have some brand-new girls, so we'll need more patience."

Comets celebrate strong start

At the same time he was dissecting senior Kristina Myers' performance in the Bengal Division girls race at the Pickerington Classic, fifth-year Central Crossing coach Doug Boggs learned the boys team finished third in their Bengal Division race.

"This boys team has 10 completely new runners," Boggs said, still smiling after congratulating his runners. "That's fine by me. To get third, that gives them a boost. I think they will be competitive."

Sophomore Ryan Bachman was 12th in 18:34.6 to lead the Comets, who scored 134 points. Bachman was followed in the top seven by sophomore Jake Ferenchak (23rd, 19:14.9), freshman C.J. Patrick (24th, 19:15.6), sophomore Dylin Smith (30th, 19:26.3), freshman Greg Patrick (45th, 19:58.3) and sophomores Kyle Fleer (47th, 20:06.3) and Zach Ferenchak (59th, 20:51.2).

Senior Cody Calafatis was eighth (80th, 21:35.7).

Myers was 12th (21:02) in the girls race, and Central Crossing scored 407 points to finish 15th in the Bengal Division. Senior Jessica Stanley was 75th (24:41), followed by juniors Jillian Davis (109th, 25:30.7) and Taylor Manivanh (137th, 26:26.6), freshman Melissa Myers (222nd, 29:49.8) and sophomore Abiola Oseni (273rd, 33:01.9).

Manivanh advanced to the Division I state track and field meet this past spring. She won the regional long-jump title then placed 16th at state.

"The way they set up this race up, the less-competitive race (the Bengal Division) ended up being the more competitive race because all the good teams went in there, like Upper Arlington, Westerville North and Thomas Worthington," Boggs said. "We were talking about possibly getting out and winning the race if everything fell the way we were hoping it sometimes does. I know a lot of teams want to get out early and get a win. But (Myers) was in with a bunch of girls who ended up being state qualifiers last year. She did very well."

Other expected varsity runners for the boys include junior Jake Lalonde and sophomore Matt Phimmavong.

No Comets advanced to regional last year.

"They're all really young," Boggs said. "Once they figure out the learning curve, who knows? You never know how it will go until you are in the middle of your first 5(-kilometer) race."

Schedules

CENTRAL CROSSING

Aug. 23 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North

Aug. 27 -- Canal Winchester Invitational

Aug. 30 -- Westerville Classic at Westerville North

Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 13 -- Shin Splint Invitational at Westland

Sept. 20 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster

Sept. 27 -- Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club

Oct. 4 -- Darby Dash at Hilliard Darby

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Central meet at TBA

GROVE CITY

Aug. 23 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North

Aug. 27 -- Canal Winchester Invitational

Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 13 -- Marysville Invitational

Sept. 20 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster

Oct. 4 -- Darby Dash at Hilliard Darby

Oct. 11 -- OCC-Ohio meet at TBA

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