Runners to lean on strong duo
A new era began in the offseason for the cross country program after Tsehaye Hiluf was lost to graduation and Denny Hammond retired after 17 seasons as coach of the boys and girls teams.
Although there are just nine boys and seven girls competing under first-year coach Keith O'Neal, senior Dominik Seitzer and sophomore Leah Wallace both return.
Hiluf was a four-time state qualifier who won the boys Division I state title last season at National Trail Raceway in 15 minutes, 21.52 seconds.
"(Seitzer's) focused on making it to state this year," O'Neal said. "Leah has been running really well and has been putting in the mileage."
Seitzer finished 33rd (17:06.66) in the regional meet last season at Pickerington North as the Raiders placed sixth (183) of 16 teams behind champion Olentangy Liberty (91) with the top four teams advancing to state. Westerville North (153) secured the final state-qualifying spot.
Wallace placed fifth (19:15.22) at regional as the top 16 individuals qualified for state and finished 13th (18:35.76) at state.
Last season, the boys team placed fourth (101) in the district 1 meet at Watkins Memorial behind champion Hilliard Davidson (42) and placed second (64) in the OCC-Ohio Division meet, behind Pickerington North (58) and ahead of Lancaster (71), Newark (105), Gahanna (109), Pickerington Central (113), Grove City (187) and Groveport (208).
Also competing at state for the boys last year was 2012 graduate Khalid Omar (60th, 16:25.86).
Others on the boys team are seniors Brian Albrecht and Jimmie Harris and sophomores Blake Campbell, Mike Crider, Michael Ridenour, L.T. Roth, Christian Snyder and James Welday.
The girls team placed fifth (150) in the league meet last year, behind Gahanna (49), Pickerington North (51), Lancaster (92) and Pickerington Central (98) and ahead of Grove City (173), Newark (225) and Groveport (247), and finished 10th (271) in the district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial behind champion Dublin Scioto (29) as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional.
Rounding out the girls team are seniors Logan Baker, Ellie Barclay and Kyrsty Rider, junior Kaitlyn Hill and sophomores Mallory Bruggeman and Kaily Leslein.
On Aug. 18, the boys team finished 23rd (656) in the 25-team OHSAA Preseason Invitational at National Trail Raceway behind champion Davidson (59). The girls team was 22nd (642) of 25 teams behind champion Mason (64).
The boys team then finished 10th (241) of 13 teams in the New Albany Classic on Aug. 22 behind champion New Albany (24) and the girls team came in ninth (216) of 12 teams behind champion Upper Arlington (38).
Volleyball coach ready to build
Since Carole Morbitzer stepped down after coaching the girls volleyball team to a 12-11 record in 2005, the Raiders have had four coaches and no winning seasons.
The latest to attempt to turn around Reynoldsburg's fortunes is Amber Harris, a 2000 Reynoldsburg graduate whose last name was Bolinger until she got married earlier this summer.
Harris, who played at Muskingum College and coached Bexley to an 18-28 record from 2008-09, was hired in January.
Under Zach Franklin, the Raiders went 6-39 in two seasons, including 3-20 last fall when they tied Groveport for seventh in the OCC-Ohio at 1-13, behind Pickerington North (14-0), Newark (12-2), Gahanna (9-5), Grove City (9-5), Lancaster (6-8) and Pickerington Central (4-10).
Reynoldsburg, which lost to third-seeded Dublin Coffman 25-9, 25-5, 25-19 in the first round of the Division I district tournament last season, has four seniors in Emma Few (defensive specialist/libero), Paige Lovensheimer (outside hitter/opposite hitter), Shiloh Murphy (middle hitter) and Mackenzie Snare (outside hitter/opposite hitter).
Also on the team are juniors Loegan Brzezinski (middle hitter), Nia Coleman (outside hitter/opposite hitter), Taylor Corns (outside hitter/opposite hitter) and Kaylin Davison (middle hitter), sophomores Alexa Jeffers (setter) and Bailey Long (defensive specialist/libero) and freshman Deja Clark (middle hitter).
The Raiders opened Aug. 25 by beating Teays Valley 25-17, 25-20 and losing to host DeSales 25-9, 25-16. They began league play Aug. 28 against Grove City.
"We are extremely athletic," Harris said. "There's a lot of potential with these girls, and the progress they've made from the first day of tryouts has been amazing. We're just going back to basic fundamentals."