Unsettling news broke three days before the Marysville High School boys and girls cross country teams' first meet.

Unsettling news broke three days before the Marysville High School boys and girls cross country teams' first meet.

Coach Tom Borawski learned junior Alex Castaneda, who competed for the boys team at last season's OCC-Cardinal Division meet, was told three more brain tumors were found. Castaneda was diagnosed with brain tumors last winter and following treatments, Castaneda resumed running with his teammates in the summer.

"The team will dedicate this season to Alex," Borawski said. "He is a well-liked kid who was talked into running by one of his friends last year. The first month or so he was in the back of the pack and by the end of the season I had him running varsity at the OCCs. That's how much he improved.

"He is the reason why I coach. I love to see kids improve. We're working hard for Alex. It's a tough way to start a season and the kids are pulling together."

The boys team, which did not have a regional qualifier last season, finished eighth at the OCC-Cardinal meet with 194 points, behind champion Westerville North (47), and at the Division I district meet, Marysville finished 11th (302) in the section 2 meet won by Westerville North (68).

Seniors John Applegate and Joe Stammen have returned, along with sophomores Aaron Cingle and Nathan Wasik. Those four are expected to front the Monarchs' lineup. In addition, sophomores Clay Cochran, Ryan Fitzgerald, Michael Reed and Devin Smarra and freshmen T.J. Borawski, Tyler Catipon, Steven Milroy and Matt Reed also are expected to battle for a spot in the top five.

"I'm real happy with the depth," said coach Borawski, whose boys team graduated two runners. "They're all working together and it's been a great first couple weeks of practice."

•The girls team also boasts depth. Marysville, which did not have a regional qualifier last season, returns experience. Coach Borawski also expects eight freshmen to contribute.

Juniors Brooke Brown, Samantha Patrick and Ellie Prinster and sophomores Emily Fitzgerald, Haley Sandusky and Ashley Zani have returned. Last season, Fitzgerald finished 22nd at the district meet in 21 minutes, 27.71 seconds while Brown was typically the Monarchs' No. 1 runner.

As a team, Marysville finished sixth in the OCC-Cardinal with 158 points, behind champion Dublin Scioto (15) and at the district met the Monarchs were seventh (188) in the section 3 meet, won by Canal Winchester (59).

"I like where Brooke is at," coach Borawski said. "This summer she put in more mileage and more intense training. We got her to realize not to waste the summer. I expect a good season from her."

Marysville's first-year runners will make an impact, coach Borawski said. Marysville's freshmen include Maddy Hoy, Madison Kingery, Jessie Kmietsch, Lindsay Longbreak, Melissa Sanders, Mim Stonecipher, Victoria Williams and Meranda Wilson.

"I have no idea what the top seven will be, even in a couple of weeks," coach Borawski said. "We'll rotate a lot. That's awesome because they are pushing each other to be that much better."

•Erica Goodwin's first season as the girls volleyball coach features a team bursting with chemistry.

"They seem to work well together," Goodwin said. "They're all very hard workers, they communicate with each other very well and they seem to have the fundamentals they need."

Eight of the 13 players on the varsity roster are juniors.

"They've played together all through middle school and now into the high school level," Goodwin said. "You can tell they're enjoying being back together again."

In what proved to be coach Leslie Boey's final season, Marysville finished 7-16 overall and tied Olentangy for fifth in the OCC-Cardinal Division at 5-9, behind champion Olentangy Liberty at 13-1.

Senior and three-year letterwinner Jeni Jordan (outside hitter) is back to lead the Monarchs' attack.

"She is the only one always talking on the court and making sure everyone is staying up and staying positive," Goodwin said. "She's also our powerhouse. I've been impressed with her and her work ethic. She'll help us out quite a bit."

Jordan, who was a key contributor on Marysville's Division I district title winning team in 2008, highlights the Monarchs' current strength which is their front line. Joining Jordan are returning starters and juniors Janelle Yunker (middle hitter) and Ally Ratliff (setter) as well as newcomer Julianna Scheiderer (rightside hitter)

"Janelle is a wonderful middle hitter and with her, Jenny and Juliana it's unstoppable," Goodwin said. "They all seem to mesh pretty well."

In addition, juniors Arika Mowery (libero) and Samantha Simmons (defensive specialist) round out the Monarchs' lineup. Marysville, which graduated six seniors, needs to establish confidence for when adversity strikes during a match, Goodwin said.

"We have to keep our mentality on the court and be able to overcome mistakes," Goodwin said. "They have a hard time shaking off mistakes. They're perfectionists and their own worst critics. We need to get them to overcome that."

Schedules
Cross Country
Aug. 28 - Whitehall Invitational Sept. 4 - Westerville Classic Sept. 11 - Watkins Memorial Invitational Sept. 18 - Marysville Invitational] Sept. 25 - Blue Devil Invitational at Sharpsville (Pa.) Senior Oct. 2 - London Invitational Oct. 9 - Marion Harding Invitational Oct. 16 - OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Darby GIRLS Volleyball
Aug. 28 - at Benjamin Logan with Triad *Aug. 31 - at Olentangy Liberty *Sept. 2 - vs. Olentangy Sept. 4 - at Buckeye Valley *Sept. 7 - vs. Westerville Central *Sept. 9 - at Westerville South Sept. 11 - vs. Hilliard Bradley and Jonathan Alder *Sept. 14 - vs. Dublin Jerome *Sept. 16 - vs. Westerville North *Sept. 21 - at Dublin Scioto *Sept. 23 - vs. Olentangy Liberty Sept. 25 - Round Robin Invitational at home *Sept. 28 - at Olentangy *Sept. 30 - at Westerville Central *Oct. 5 - vs. Westerville South *Oct. 7 - at Dublin Jerome *Oct. 12 - at Westerville North *Oct. 13 - vs. Dublin Scioto *OCC-Cardinal match

At a glance
Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Marysville boys golf, boys soccer, cross country, football, girls golf, girls soccer, girls tennis and volleyball teams:

BOYS GOLF
Wednesday - At OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek Saturday - At Van Buren Invitational at Red Hawk Run BOYS SOCCER
Last Tuesday - Defeated Bellefontaine 4-0 in opener. Seth Huffman, Aaron Gonzalez, Cody Sabins and Logan Whitley scored. Last Thursday - Def. Worthington Christian 2-1 *Tuesday - Home vs. Olentangy Liberty Thursday - Home vs. Delaware CROSS COUNTRY
Last Saturday - Competed at Whitehall Invitational Saturday - At Westerville Classic FOOTBALL
Last Friday - Played Marion Harding in opener Friday - Home vs. Jonathan Alder GIRLS GOLF
Last Monday - Finished sixth (340) at 15-team Centerville Lady Elk Invitational, behind champion West Chester Lakota West (300) Last Thursday - Def. Pickerington North 168-171. Tess Fraser (37) was medalist. Wednesday - At OCC-Capital at Foxfire GIRLS SOCCER
Last Tuesday - Defeated Bellefontaine 2-1 in opener Last Thursday - Def. Bexley 2-1 *Tuesday - Home vs. Olentangy Liberty Saturday - Home vs. Gahanna GIRLS TENNIS
Last Monday - Lost to Buckeye Valley 4-1 *Last Tuesday - Def. Olentangy 3-2 *Last Thursday - Lost to Westerville Central 5-0 *Tuesday - At Westerville South Wednesday - Home vs. Kenton Of note: The Monarchs are 1-3 overall and are 0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Last Saturday - Played Benjamin Logan and Triad in opener *Tuesday - At Olentangy Liberty *Thursday - Home vs. Olentangy Saturday - At Buckeye Valley *OCC-Cardinal contest