Granville High School cross country coach Bob Hollen doesn't have the typical concerns as so many of his peers.

Granville High School cross country coach Bob Hollen doesn't have the typical concerns as so many of his peers.

Instead of looking for a front-runner to take out his lead group, working to develop his fourth and fifth scorers or perhaps even scouting the hallways for additional depth, Hollen is trying to reign in the Blue Aces a little bit.

"We're optimistic, of course," said Hollen, who has 66 runners out overall and returns plenty from girls and boys teams that advanced to the Division II state meet. "The kids are serious. The one thing we're probably trying to avoid is overtraining. They're a gung-ho bunch."

The girls team is led by seniors Megan Gaysunas, Anna Lamb and Kate Van Ness and junior Ellie Crawford. Other key returnees include senior Elizabeth Dilbone and junior Ali Larsen.

Gaysunas was the individual champion (20 minutes, 23 seconds) and Lamb (20:33) was second. The Blue Aces won the section 1 district team title (22 points) over runner-up Bexley (72). Gaysunas was a key scorer at regional (14th, 21:15) and state (33rd, 20:07), and Lamb finished 12th (21:07) at regional. Granville was third (85) at the regional meet behind champion St. Clairesville (29) and tied for ninth (231) at state behind champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (98).

The postseason started with the Blue Aces (19) winning a second consecutive MSL-Ohio Division title, followed by Newark Catholic (61), Bexley (82), Heath (101), Licking Valley (133) and Columbus Academy (137). Lamb (20:13) repeated as individual champion, Gaysunas was third (20:32) and Crawford was fifth (20:47). Crawford and Van Ness also posted top-10 finishes at district, and a deep lineup will be bolstered by several newcomers. They include freshman Devyn Cook, freshman Alex Doran and junior Shelby Evans.

The boys team also defended its MSL-Ohio title by outscoring Bexley 41-61. Columbus Academy (87), Licking Valley (124), Newark Catholic (131), Heath (142) and Lakewood (150) followed. Returning senior Cody Washka (17:28) finished third and classmate Nick Burger (17:55) was fifth.

Washka (third, 18:02), Burger (fourth, 18:03) and junior Erik Sneckenburg (fifth, 18:08) led the charge as the Blue Aces (37) won the Section 1 district meet. They were the regional runner-up (95) to St. Clairesville (59), where Burger finished 18th (18:41) and Sneckenburg was 19th (18:43). A week later the team tied for 13th place at state (304) behind champion Peninsula Woodridge (93).

Sneckenburg finished 76th (17:42) and led Granville's pack.

Junior Jacob Fondriest, sophomore Logan Pitcher and sophomore Kevin Huddle also return. The newcomers include seniors Matt Shey and Josh Dickson. Huddle posted last year's fastest freshman time (17:48).

"We've got a lot to work with," Hollen said. "Now we just have to go do it."

•Newark Catholic's girls team is led by juniors Mariah Brennan and Lisa Brownlee, both of whom ran with the 2008 team that advanced to the Division III state meet. Brennan was a top-10 finisher at the district meet and a top-five finisher at the league meet.

The Green Wave (99) finished fifth at last year's section 2 district won by Johnstown (34), failing to advance to the regional by one spot, although graduate Nicole Scarsella qualified.

The newcomers include senior Emily Painter, junior Brittany Wolfe and freshmen Emily O'Neil and Mary Richardson. Coach Rennie Bare also has solid numbers with 43 runners out overall, including 22 girls.

The boys team returns senior Jason Snider as its top runner. Junior Luke Mauter and sophomores Quinn Nutter, Ryan Lally and Zach Weisend also scored at the district meet. The Green Wave (310) placed 12th behind champion Liberty Union (46).

Others to look for include seniors Austin Lemmons and Matt Bowman, junior Jordan Riley and freshman Tanner Ernest. Bare is hoping Riley, a former junior high league champion who played football as a freshman, will come into his own. Lemmons, another football transplant, is showing considerable leadership and could be a factor in his only season.

"Our chemistry is as good as it's been for some time," Bare said. "We have some returning kids on both teams; some new faces, too. They're really making it enjoyable."

•Heath has a pair of returning Division II regional qualifiers in seniors Emily McCall and Chris Monroe.

At the league meet, McCall (second, 20:22) was the only non-Granville runner in the top five. She finished fourth (21:05), and the girls placed fifth (165) at the section 2 district won by Big Walnut (42). Monroe was fourth, 17:49 at the boys league meet. He was seventh (18:20) and the boys team finished seventh (192) at the section 1 district meet.

Also returning for the girls team are seniors Annaleigh McDonald, Letticia Cunningham and Maddie Shubirg, juniors Kali Hastings and Abbey Ferguson and sophomore Erin McCall. Several underclassmen are pushing them.

"Emily got a taste of state (meet) action in track," coach Doug Griffin said of his top senior, who finished 19th at the regional (21:36) to miss a state berth by three spots. "Now we'd like to see her go in cross country."

Monroe was a district champion last spring in the 3,200. He's complemented by junior Michael Francis and sophomores Austin Smart and Gunner Loughman. The newcomers are junior Dillon Furbee and freshmen Jordan Warner, Seth Shubirg and Freddie Stinson.

"(Monroe) is working his tail off trying to make it to that final race," coach Scott Brown said.

•Newark's Samantha Smith just missed a Division I state meet berth when she finished 17th overall (20:54) at the girls regional.

She was seventh (20:46) at the section 2 district meet as the Wildcats (212) placed eighth behind champion Dublin Scioto (23). Newark was fifth (113) at the OCC-Ohio meet won by Pickerington North (44).

"We've got five seniors and two of them (Smith and Jami Robinson) are four-year kids and another (Sarah Gartner) is a three-year kid," said coach Randy Noftz, who also will lean on seniors Selina Baker and Al Davies and juniors Anna Zelmer and Haley Newman. "We're in great shape, too. Right now, we're where we were at mid-season last year."

Sophomores Willie Henderson, Anthony Johnson, Kameron Carpenter and Austin Mayabb return to lead the boys team. The team finished sixth (165) at the OCC-Ohio meet won by North (22) and 13th (345) at the Section 1 district meet also won by the Panthers (38). Seniors Chase Prior and Chase Stewart spent time as the team's top runner, and classmate J.J. Newman is hoping to return to form following an injury-riddled season. Freshman Toby Hardwick is one of the top newcomers.



Schedules
GRANVILLE
Sept. 4 - Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion Sept. 11 - McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial Sept. 18 - Galion Cross Country Festival at Amann's Park Sept. 25 - Lancaster Invitational Sept. 28 - Fredericktown Invitational at Kokosing Reservoir Oct. 2 - Worthington Invitational at Thomas Worthington Oct. 9 - Erin L. Nance Invitational at London Oct. 16 - MSL-Ohio Division meet at Bryn Du Mansion Oct. 23 - Division II district meet at Watkins Memorial HEATH
Aug. 28 - Newark Catholic Invitational Sept. 1 - Canal Winchester Invitational Sept. 4 - Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion Sept. 11 - McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial Sept. 15 - Northridge Invitational Sept. 18 - Licking Heights Invitational Sept. 22 - Bulldog Invitational at Heath's Geller Park Sept. 25 - Pickerington Invitational at Pickerington Central Oct. 2 - North Union Invitational Oct. 9 - Liberty Union Invitational Oct. 16 - MSL-Ohio Division meet at Bryn Du Mansion Oct. 23 - Division II district meet at Watkins Memorial NEWARK
Aug. 28 - Newark Catholic Invitational Sept. 4 - Malone Invitational Sept. 11 - McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial Sept. 18 - Newark Invitational at Evans Athletic Complex Sept. 22 - Bulldog Invitational at Heath's Geller Park Sept. 25 - Lancaster Invitational Oct. 2 - Pickerington North Invitational Oct. 9 - Marion Harding Invitational Oct. 16 - OCC-Ohio Division meet at TBA Oct. 23 - Division I district meet at Watkins Memorial NEWARK CATHOLIC
Aug. 28 - Newark Catholic Invitational Sept. 4 - Newcomerstown Invitational Sept. 8 - Fairfield Union Invitational Sept. 11 - McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial Sept. 18 - Newark Invitational at Evans Athletic Complex Sept. 25 - Adidas Saturday Night Lights V at Centerville Oct. 9 - Jonathan Alder Invitational Oct. 16 - MSL-Ohio Division meet at Bryn Du Mansion Oct. 23 - Division III district meet at Watkins Memorial