Chris Szabo believes everything is coming together in her third season coaching the Grandview Heights High School boys cross country team.
The Bobcats have four front-of-the pack runners, two of whom are new to the program.
Sophomore Chris Miller is back after finishing 64th (17 minutes, 1.6 seconds) in the Division III state meet last fall. He is joined by senior Liam Kerr, a three-time regional qualifier who competed at state as a freshman and finished 90th (17:36.9).
Senior Eli Hall, who has been a distance standout in three track and field seasons, has moved over from the boys soccer team. The second newcomer is freshman Derek Amicon.
"I like our top runners," Szabo said. "We're pretty strong and the five through seven spots are a fierce area to be. They are all so close and pushing each other."
The Bobcats won their opening meet, scoring 68 points to take the Canal Winchester Invitational on Aug. 30 ahead of Bexley (93) as 21 teams scored.
Kerr placed second (16:27.9), Miller was eighth (17:24.2) and Hall was ninth (17:25.5), followed by Amicon (14th, 17:38.5), senior Andrew Bergmann (35th, 18:32.7) and juniors Quinn Tillett (52nd, 19:06.3) and Sam Carter (56th, 19:17.6).
"It really helps out when you have runners like Eli and Derek come in," Szabo said. "We have 16 boys and they all help to elevate each other's performances."
Rounding out the roster are junior Garrett Culbertson, sophomores James Elliot, Calvin Horning, Josh Roemer and Luke Wallace and freshmen Adam Ellis, Layton Feast, Kenny Ramsey and Alecco Walli.
The girls team has only six runners but still finished fifth (135) of 16 teams at Canal Winchester behind champion Fairfield Union (56).
Junior Nina Amicon finished seventh (20:06.7), followed by sophomore Annie Volker (25th, 21:35.2), senior Sarah Marrone (28th, 21:44.4), sophomore Emmalyn Kukura (30th, 21:51.4), senior Avani Kumar (45th, 22:36.4) and sophomore Amelia Sturbois (71st, 24:00.4).
"We don't have a lot of girls, but they work hard and are doing well," Szabo said. "Nina battled injuries last season and I'm excited to see how her season unfolds. Also, it's good to have Annie Volker running this season. She's a swimmer and I'm excited to see what she can do."
Szabo said the program is headed in the right direction.
"Every year, it feels like we're building from what we did last season and we're beginning something that this group of kids can leave behind for the next group," she said. "I'm excited for them and what they can do this season. We just need to stay healthy."
New volleyball coach
inherits young team
The girls volleyball program has its fifth new coach in as many seasons with Shelli Sanzo replacing Meredith Shifley, who now coaches Central Crossing.
Sanzo took over a team that lost five senior starters after finishing 13-10 overall and third (7-5) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind London (12-0) and Worthington Christian (10-2).
The Bobcats have only two players who started matches last season in senior setter Jayla Coplan (252 assists, 57 aces, 110 digs) and junior middle hitter Katherine Taylor (32 kills, 38 blocks).
"We're definitely a young team," said Sanzo, who coached the seventh-grade team last fall. "I like that they are young and that we can grow together with them. They will be a strong team once they get to know each other and learn how to play with each other."
Joining Coplan and Taylor in the starting lineup are junior Mackenzie Bush, sophomores Leila Meyer and Linnea Milner (outside hitter) and freshman Hannah Yochem. Sanzo said Bush, Meyer and Yochem are utility players with both front-row and back-row duties.
"We'll run a 5-1 attack after they ran both a 6-2 and 5-1 last season," Sanzo said. "We're getting them to learn to move a little faster and getting them used to where their teammates are on the court. Some of them haven't played together before."
The Bobcats were 0-7 after losing to Worthington Christian 25-11, 25-9, 25-10 on Aug. 31 to open league play.
Grandview lost to West Jefferson 25-15, 25-11 and Madison Plains 25-14, 25-9 to open the season Aug. 19. It then lost to Columbus School for Girls 25-14, 25-9, 25-11 on Aug. 24 before losing to Delaware 25-12, 25-15, Marion Elgin 25-12, 25-9 and Northridge 25-20, 25-16 on Aug. 26 in the Cardington Invitational.
Aug. 30 -- Canal Winchester Invitational
Sept. 9 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 16 -- Bobcat Invitational
Sept. 23 -- Pickerington Central Tiger Invitational
Sept. 30 -- Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club
Oct. 7 -- Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 14 -- MSL-Ohio meet at London Country Club
Aug. 19 -- at West Jefferson with Madison Plains
Aug. 24 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Aug. 26 -- Cardington Invitational
*Aug. 31 -- at Worthington Christian
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Whitehall
*Sept. 7 -- at London
Sept. 9 -- at Amanda-Clearcreek
Sept. 12 -- at Ready
*Sept. 14 -- at Bexley
*Sept. 18 -- at Columbus Academy
Sept. 23 -- vs. Buckeye Valley
*Sept. 26 -- vs. Worthington Christian
*Sept. 28 -- at Whitehall
*Oct. 3 -- vs. London
*Oct. 7 -- vs. Bexley
Oct. 9 -- vs. Delaware Christian
Oct. 10 -- at Shekinah Christian
*Oct. 12 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Oct. 14 -- vs. Cristo Rey
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:
Sept. 12 -- Columbus Academy at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 13 -- West Jefferson at National Road
*Sept. 7 -- London at London Country Club
Sept. 12 -- Ready at National Road
Sept. 13 -- Licking Heights at High Lands
*Sept. 13 -- At London
*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. London
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Ready
Sept. 11 -- At Central Crossing
*Sept. 12 -- At Bexley