It was a tearful ending to the season for the Grove City High School boys and girls track and field teams, with emotions on display during the program's awards ceremony May 25.
"We had a great group of kids," coach Jane Taylor said. "We had between 250 and 300 people at the banquet. We gave out a lot of nice awards. We recognized our (11) seniors. There were a few tears because when you work with them for so long you get that relationship with them and it's difficult to see them go."
The Greyhounds had one boys relay qualify for the Division I regional meet May 24 at Pickerington North. Seniors Jacob Gaitten and Chris Witcher and sophomores R.J. Lewis and Adam Meister finished 12th in the 800-meter relay in 1 minute, 31.51 seconds.
"I was very happy that they made it," Taylor said. "They ran their best race of the season. It just wasn't good enough (to advance to state)."
Gaitten and Witcher were two of 10 seniors on the boys team.
"It was a little heartbreaking," Gaitten said of the awards ceremony. "I have tons of memories."
Gaitten missed the 2016 postseason with a foot injury.
The 800 relay led the boys ream in the district 1 meet that concluded May 20 at Hilliard Darby, finishing fourth (1:31.81) to earn the final regional-qualifying berth.
Meister took the place of injured sophomore Kingston McKinstry (hamstring) during the postseason.
Witcher, Lewis, senior Kyle Jordan and sophomore Jacob Kifer were sixth in the 400 relay (44.59) at district, and junior Evan Whitaker was eighth in the 3,200 (10:13.68).
In the OCC-Ohio Division meet May 11 and 13 at Olentangy Orange, the Greyhounds finished sixth (16) behind Gahanna (143), Pickerington Central (143), Reynoldsburg (97), Lancaster (77) and North (43).
Gaitten said another highlight this season was the boys and girls teams winning the Best of the South-West meet April 13 at Franklin Heights.
Behind wins in all four relays, the boys (85) finished ahead of Westland (63), Central Crossing (59) and Franklin Heights (44).
The girls team loses just one athlete to graduation, but it's a key one in Sydney Smith.
Competing in her final event in the district 1 meet, Smith finished sixth in the 3,200 (11:37.72).
She established a program record in the 3,200 (11:35.54) last season at district and then placed 10th at regional (11:55.49).
Smith, who will run at Otterbein, also was a two-time regional qualifier in cross country.
"She was our best (distance runner)," Taylor said. "That's going to be a hard one to replace."
Also at district, junior Morgan Summers was seventh in the high jump (5 feet).
In the OCC-Ohio meet, Grove City finished sixth (16) behind Gahanna (165), Central (150), Lancaster (85), North (65) and Reynoldsburg (42).
In the Best of the South-West meet, the Greyhounds (94) finished ahead of Central Crossing (77), Franklin Heights (56) and Westland (26).
Softball coach looking
for more next season
Although his team finished 19-10 overall, softball coach Ted Williams is looking for improvement next season and a deeper postseason run.
After a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament, the 12th-seeded Greyhounds defeated 24th-seeded Newark 19-0 in five innings May 10 at home before losing to sixth-seeded Groveport 5-3 in a semifinal May 15 at Pickerington North.
"We need to work a little bit harder," said Williams, whose team loses five seniors. "We have some talented kids. We have 20 freshmen in the program. We have to put some work in to get back to where we have been before."
Sophomore Mylie Torres (P), who led the Greyhounds in batting average (.484) and RBI (35) and shared the team lead in home runs (5) with senior Bri Tucker (C), was named first-team all-OCC-Ohio and second-team all-district. In the circle, Torres was 3-2 with a 2.73 ERA, 12 strikeouts and three walks in 25 2/3 innings.
Junior Lauren Griffith (SS) batted .479 and was second-team all-district, and senior Maddi Burley (3B) was second-team all-league after batting .405. Tucker, who hit .378 with 29 RBI, was special mention all-league.
Junior Sierra Reid (P), who batted .389 and was 4-3 with a 6.01 ERA, 31 strikeouts and 16 walks in 42 2/3 innings, was honorable mention all-league.
Freshman Anna Feil (P) was 12-5 with a 2.72 ERA, 111 strikeouts and 31 walks in 103 innings and batted .315.
Sophomore Abby Tschiggfrie (OF) batted .391, freshman Katelyn DeWeese (1B) hit .390 and senior Sammie Galiffo (CF) batted .374.
Other players eligible to return are junior Brooke Arledge (OF), sophomores Grace Freeman (P) and Lauren Walls (OF) and freshman Olivia Williams (INF).
Grove City went 4-6 in the OCC-Ohio to finish fourth behind Central (10-0), Gahanna (7-3) and Lancaster (6-4) and ahead of North (2-8) and Reynoldsburg (1-9).