Cross country teams progressing
Johnstown-Monroe's Arika Sayer tries to spike the ball against Northridge's Savannah Legg (left) and Faith Miller last season. All three are among the top returnees for their teams.
Patrick Helgerman likes where the Johnstown-Monroe High School boys and girls cross country teams are headed in his second season as coach.
A late hiring process left the Johnnies on their own to plan summer training last year, but Helgerman made sure his runners logged more miles in the offseason and were better prepared for the season.
"I'm pretty happy with where we are this year compared to last year," Helgerman said. "The summer training is not where we like it, but that's a building process. We have a bunch of people who can run well if they put in the work."
The Johnnies opened Aug. 24 at Centerville Saturday Night Lights. The boys finished 11th (262) in the 12-team Varsity Race behind champion Chillicothe Zane Trace (62) and the girls were 19th (532) of 21 teams in the Champions Race behind champion Centerville (46).
Junior Kaleb Walker finished 49th (19 minutes, 58.15 seconds) to lead the boys, followed by freshman Kyle Matoszkia (51st, 20:02.94), freshman Paul Lang (52nd, 20:05.54), junior Sam Wirth (76th, 21:18.55), freshman David Dennis (77th, 21:19.16), junior Stephen Harper (83rd, 21:39.71), junior Kaleb Matoszkia (95th, 23:17.01) and freshman Mason Work (96th, 23:22.36).
Senior McCalah Mast (89th, 22:20.1) led the girls, followed by sophomore Grace Mast (90th, 22:20.4), freshman Erica Cox (122nd, 24:09.34), junior Alexis Hercenberg (123rd, 24:10.68) and freshman Kylee Villwock (146th, 28:13.16).
"Our leaders are obviously Kaleb Walker and the Mast sisters," Helgerman said. "Alexis Hercenberg moved to the district from Watkins Memorial and ran in the 23s last fall."
The boys team has 10 runners, with no seniors and no sophomores. Parker Ervin and Lane Snyder -- both freshmen -- round out the roster.
"We went from having three guys last year to 10 this fall, which is significant," Helgerman said. "We have six guys who can run under 20 minutes, so we're not incredibly fast, but we can be competitive."
The girls have seven runners with McCalah Mast as the only senior. Also participating are sophomore Olivia McGee and freshman Anna Benton, both of whom also play soccer.
Last season, the boys and girls teams both did not have enough runners to score in the MBC meet. The teams now compete in the Licking County League.
Girls volleyball team loses first two in LCL
The girls volleyball team hopes to improve on its 3-16 overall record from last season when it lost to Columbus School for Girls 22-25, 25-20, 15-25, 25-19, 15-13 in the first round of the Division III district tournament.
The Johnnies, who finished eighth (1-13) in the MBC behind champion Centerburg (14-0), have moved to the LCL.
Johnstown dropped its first two matches. The Johnnies lost their LCL and season opener to host Northridge 25-19, 22-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-10 on Aug. 24 and fell to visiting Newark Catholic 25-9, 25-11, 25-19 in a league match Aug. 27.
"(The LCL) is a league with some really strong volleyball programs," said fifth-year coach Heather Ashbrook. "With there being 10 teams in the LCL that means we'll have a busy schedule for us."
The Johnnies return seven players who spent time as starters last season. They are seniors Meghan Gall (back row), Arika Sayer (right side/outside hitter), Rachel Shadwick (back row) and Harley Thomson (setter) and juniors Amanda Payne (right side/outside hitter), Claire Slader (middle hitter) and Emily Wilson (right side/outside hitter). Ashley Mahaffey is a senior defensive specialist.
"All the seniors are the team captains and they are very positive and hard-working," Ashbrook said. "We just want them to have a lot of fun this season and expect great things."
The roster is rounded out by juniors Adaline Almendinger (setter), Leanna Lehner (outside/middle hitter) and Quinn Weinberger (defensive specialist) and sophomore Tori Helmke (outside/middle hitter).
Sayer had three kills and eight digs against Newark Catholic, and Almendinger had 21 assists. Thomson had 18 assists and Gall had 34 digs.
Football team meets Fairfield Union
The football team, which opened Aug. 30 against Chillicothe, plays host to Fairfield Union on Friday, Sept. 6.
The Johnnies have never played the Falcons, who finished 2-8 last season.
The Falcons have gone 5-25 the past three seasons, but return 14 starters from last year. Coach Tim Bahen is in his second season and has changed to an option offense run by returning quarterback David Wolshire.
The Falcons run a 3-5 defense led by linemen Richie Mason, Andrew McMullen and Brice Winegardner.
Benton leading boys soccer team
The boys soccer team was 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the LCL before playing Lakewood on Aug. 29.
The Johnnies defeated Buckeye Valley 3-0 on Aug. 27 as senior forward Charles Benton scored two goals and sophomore midfielder Collin Peterson scored one. Senior goalkeeper Jesse Bowman had five saves.
The Johnnies defeated Liberty Union 2-0 on Aug. 24 as Benton scored twice and Bowman had three saves.
Girls soccer team falls to Elyria Catholic
The girls soccer team was 1-1 before opening LCL action Aug. 29 against Lakewood.
On Aug. 24, the Johnnies lost to Elyria Catholic 2-1 on a goal as time expired. Junior midfielder Kylie Workman scored on an assist from junior midfielder Becca Gordon, and senior goalie Taylor Thomas had 13 saves.
Girls golf team falls to Warriors
The girls golf team was 1-8 in the LCL after losing to Watkins Memorial 208-219 on Aug. 26 at Broadview.
Sophomore Ashley Arnold led the Johnnies with a 47, followed by sophomore Katie Grunkemeyer (53), senior Laiken Valentine (58) and freshman Karleigh Green (61).
Boys golf team outshoots Utica
The boys golf team was 12-0 in the LCL before playing Watkins Memorial on Aug. 29.
The Johnnies defeated Utica 159-186 on Aug. 27 at The Links at Echo Springs, with sophomore John Carlisle taking medalist honors with a 38.
Junior Steven Thiel and sophomore Dalton Hastings both carded 40s, followed by junior Kaden Welch (41), freshman Brandon Estep (45) and sophomore Jared Williams (54).