The Groveport Madison High School girls track and field team set two school records during the OCC-Capital Division meet that concluded May 13 at Dublin Coffman.
Sophomore Toni Woods won the long jump in a school-record 17 feet, 3 1/2 inches on her second attempt. Her distance wasn't challenged from there, so she passed on her four final attempts.Videos •Groveport girls track athlete Toni Woods talks about setting the program's long jump record in the OCC-Capital meet May 13. •Groveport boys track athlete DeJuan McClure competes in the discus.
Canal Winchester's Ariana Coleman placed second (15-11).
"I'm coming off an injury and hadn't jumped in about a month, so I wanted to get out here and put down a good number from the start," Woods said. "I also will be in three other events, so this helps me save a bit for those."
Woods ran the leadoff leg in the winning 400-meter relay, teaming with Kendra Soler, Makalia Boston and Reonna Harriston-Mitchell to finish in 51.14 seconds. Woods also placed third in the 100 (13.09) and ran anchor behind Madi Young, Imani Johnson and Cleopatra Steward on the second-place 800 relay (4:12.16).
The 800 relay of Johnson, Steward, Harriston-Mitchell and Soler won in 1:45.98, and the 3,200 relay of Young, Melanie Torres, Victoria Williams and Ajenae Glover set a school record while placing second in 10:15.44.
Johnson won the 400 (59.81) and was third in the 200 (27.07), and Young placed fourth in the 400 (1:00.52).
The Cruisers totaled 94 points to place third behind Big Walnut (158) and Canal Winchester (117) and ahead of Newark (59), New Albany (54) and Franklin Heights (41).
"I was happy our girls' efforts, but we wanted to finish higher than third overall," coach Aaron Fenzel said. "I think we had some girls who maybe struggled near the end with four events, because I know we can run better in the (1,600 relay). So we will make some changes for the district meet."
The girls and boys teams are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet this week at Hilliard Darby. The preliminaries for the running events were May 16, the field events are Thursday, May 18 and the running finals are Saturday, May 20.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet Wednesday, May 24, and May 26 at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four finishers in each event qualify for state June 2-3 at Ohio State.
The boys team finished fifth (47) in the league meet, behind Canal Winchester (152), Newark (116), Big Walnut (96) and New Albany (82) and ahead of Franklin Heights (30).
The 800 relay of Marvin Brooks, Mustafa Ali-Harbi, Eric Grant and Joshua Max-Dixon won in 1:31.35.
Finishing third were Brooks in the 400 (51.31) and Kudzovi Nuakey in the 800 (2:01.3). Placing fourth were Max-Dixon in the 100 (11.23), Isaiah Pittman in the 300 hurdles (42.8), the 400 relay of Keimare Burnett, Pittman, Tahzmere Givens and Ali-Harbi (45.43) and the 1,600 relay of Max-Dixon, Nuakey, Ali-Harbi and Brooks (3:30.65).
DeJuan McClure placed fifth in the discus (134-4), easily breaking his previous personal record of 125-6.
Softball team reaches
The softball team played 12th-seeded Grove City in a Division I district semifinal May 15.
The winner plays second-seeded Central Crossing or ninth-seeded Lancaster in a district final Friday, May 19, or Saturday, May 20, at Pickerington Central.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 24, at Ohio State, where it will face Gahanna, Hilliard Davidson, Marysville or Westerville North, who were seeded fourth, seventh, 10th and 20th, respectively, in the district tournament. The regional final is May 27 at Ohio State.
The Cruisers, who are seeded sixth of 45 teams in the district and had a first-round bye, defeated 35th-seeded New Albany 3-2 in a second-round game May 10 at home.
Groveport had beaten New Albany 7-1 in an OCC-Capital makeup game on May 9 to close league play 10-0, but struggled against the Eagles in the postseason matchup.
"New Albany has a lot of talent and, when they put the pieces together, they can beat anyone," coach Chris Downing said. "I'm just happy we got through the first tournament game. I thought Sara Gockenbach pitched a wonderful game. She allowed three hits and struck out 11. She gave up a two-run homer in the fourth inning but just got stronger after that."
The Cruisers took a 2-0 lead in the postseason opener on Carsyn Saunders' two-run home run in the second inning, and Jessie Rock had a RBI double off the fence in the third to extend the lead to 3-0.
Baseball team tested
The baseball team pushed seventh-seeded Gahanna before losing 3-1 in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 10 to finish 7-16 overall.
The Cruisers, who were seeded 38th of 46 teams, had upset 33rd-seeded and host Westerville South 12-4 in the first round May 8.
Groveport was 2-7 in games decided by three runs or fewer.
"We started a little slow, but we played some real good ball in the second half of the season and competed well against some very good teams in Gahanna, Canal Winchester, Big Walnut and New Albany," coach David Eft said. "We're losing five seniors, but we also had a number of freshmen and sophomores gain experience and they played key roles. I'm very pleased with what we have coming back."
Groveport finished 6-9 in the OCC-Capital to place fourth, behind Canal Winchester (13-2) and Big Walnut and New Albany (both 11-4) and ahead of Newark (3-12) and Franklin Heights (1-14).
The Cruisers will lose starters Les Fearing (RF), Kaleb Hubner (C), Kenny Pettay (OF) and Zach Ullom (3B) as well as pitcher Cameron Rice to graduation. Ullom led the team in batting average (.304), home runs (2) and RBI (20), and Fearing batted .284.
Among the expected key returnees are juniors Daniel Fairchild (OF) and Luis Pantoja (2B), sophomore Logan Mayes (P/OF) and freshmen Austin Gautier (C/OF), Caden Lowe (P), Robbie Morgan (1B) and Austin Snyder (SS).
Pantoja batted .298, followed by Snyder (.282) and Fairchild (.278).
Boys tennis team
ends in sectional
The boys tennis team's season ended in a Division I sectional tournament May 11 at Reynoldsburg, as none of the Cruisers finished in the top four in singles or doubles to advance to the district tournament.
In first-round singles matches, Austin Sourinha lost to top-seeded Robert Cash of New Albany 6-0, 6-0, Chris Royster lost to second-seeded Kai Britz of Thomas Worthington 6-0, 6-0 and Caleb West lost to New Albany's Chris Mathes 6-0, 6-0.
In first-round doubles matches, Chris Salva and Jonathon Thomas lost to Big Walnut's Nick Schulz and Stephen Pushkin 6-2, 6-2, while Ryan Harder and Al Alemu lost to Olentangy Liberty's Vignesh Nandakumar and Samanyu Das 7-5, 6-0.
The Cruisers finished 6-6 overall and went 3-2 in the OCC-Capital to finish third, behind New Albany (5-0) and Big Walnut (4-1) and ahead of Newark (2-3), Canal Winchester (1-4) and Franklin Heights (0-5), in Bernie Sleshi's first year as coach.
Vail steps down as
girls basketball coach
Chris Vail has stepped down after two seasons as girls basketball coach.
The Cruisers improved from 2-21 overall in Vail's first season to 10-13 last winter, but will lose two of their top players to graduation in point guard Diaba Diane and forward Imani Johnson.
Diane was named first-team all-league and Johnson was second-team all-league, as Groveport went 3-7 in the OCC-Capital to place fifth behind champion Newark (10-0).
"It got to be more of a challenge than I can accept at this point," Vail said. "We had a good, competitive group of girls this year, but I was unable to develop the culture we need to create to be more successful in the future. I wish Groveport the best and I will be cheering for them."
Among the expected returnees is junior forward Melia Walder, who was honorable mention all-league.