Building from the ground up is the focus of new Reynoldsburg High School cross country coach Bill Crane.

A 2003 Thornville Sheridan graduate who previously coached at his alma mater as well as at Zanesville West Muskingum, Crane inherited a program that has returned most of the top boys and top girls from last season and has seen its overall numbers increase.

Crane has run marathons and is in his fourth year as a teacher at the high school. He is being assisted by Ken Hendrick, whom the athletes call "coach Grandpa" because of his experience in distance running, Crane said.

"We've added about 20 more since last year," Crane said. "We've been working to get the numbers up and are starting a youth running program. We're young and we have a ton of potential. I'm really excited about the freshman class. The next couple years could potentially be solid."

On Aug. 21 in the season-opening New Albany Invitational, the girls placed fourth (125) of 13 teams behind champion Fairfield Union (52) while the boys were ninth (186) of 14 teams behind champion Bexley (67).

For the girls, freshman Avril Moyer was seventh (20 minutes, 46 seconds) and junior Natalie Castello was 16th (22:00).

Other key girls have included seniors Chanel Boykins and Annalese Roach and freshmen Kasey Lichtner, Kristin Sheets, Macey Thompson and Rachel Watkins.

Senior Jared Dye led the boys with a 14th-place finish (18:27). Juniors Zac Albrecht, Brody Swisher and Andy Young, sophomores Grant Boone and Nate Russell and freshmen Mars Davis and Dominic Sabo also have been key runners.

Seniors Brandon Abernathy and Kacey Douglas, sophomores Parker Gutman and Andy Black and freshman John Hayes are others in the program.

"We've increased their mileage and they've handled it well," Crane said. "We expect to surprise people."

Volleyball team
out to strong start

First-year girls volleyball coach Ian Davis likes what he's seen so far.

With an 18-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-20 win over Westerville South on Aug. 29 and a 25-22, 25-16-25-7 victory over Central Crossing on Aug. 31, the Raiders improved to 5-2.

Reynoldsburg opened OCC-Ohio Division action Sept. 5 at Gahanna.

"They're all athletic and all really good kids," Davis said. "The future of the program is really good."

Davis is a 2011 Hilliard Bradley graduate who was second-team all-state as a senior and went on to play for two seasons at Lourdes University in Sylvania.

He teaches at Baldwin Road Junior High and has replaced Matt Bailey, who coached the girls team the past two seasons and started the boys volleyball team last spring.

The top returnee is senior Alexys Mann, a first-team all-league selection who finished with 95 kills, 131 assists and 115 digs as the Raiders went 7-16 overall last season.

Reynoldsburg, which went 0-10 in the league, also returns senior McKhenna Crosson (setter), juniors Tyra Barber (outside hitter/opposite) and Lindsey Long (defensive specialist/libero) and sophomores Olivia Kirksey (outside hitter/opposite) and Jessica Ricks (outside hitter/middle hitter).

Freshman Jordan Brooks (middle hitter/outside hitter) also is a key player.

Others in the program are juniors Aubree Carmichael (middle hitter/opposite) and DeNetra Franklin (defensive specialist/libero).

"A lot of them are great young women who have a bright future outside of volleyball," Davis said. "As a group, they've been resilient."

Football team looks to
avenge loss to Braves

When the football team met Olentangy for a Thursday night game a year ago, it couldn't hold on to a 27-point lead and lost 52-51.

The Braves went on to reach the Division I, Region 2 playoffs and finish 7-4 while the Raiders ended up 6-4 and two spots out of the Division I, Region 3 postseason.

Reynoldsburg will have the opportunity to avenge that loss when it plays host to Olentangy on Friday, Sept. 8.

After opening with a 15-13 loss to New Albany on Aug. 24, the Raiders defeated St. Charles 34-0 on Sept. 1. The Cardinals haven't had a winning season since 2013.

The Braves, meanwhile, followed a 45-24 victory over Hilliard Darby on Aug. 25 by defeating Grove City 21-10 on Sept. 1. The Dawgs entered that matchup as losers of 13 in a row.

In Olentangy's opener, it scored 38 consecutive points after trailing 17-7.

Senior Riley Bruening passed for 64 yards and rushed for 73 and two touchdowns while splitting time at quarterback with junior Connor Haag. Senior running back Ali Iverson rushed 21 times for 87 yards and three touchdowns.

Reynoldsburg also used two quarterbacks in its opener as senior Justin Henry and sophomore Michael Whatley split time.

Boys golfers head
into final stretch

The boys golf team will compete in the final round of the OCC-Ohio tournament Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Turnberry.

During the third round Aug. 30 at Clover Valley, the Raiders shot 374 to finish last behind first-place Grove City (319).

Reynoldsburg is 0-15 in the league. Gahanna is first at 12-3, followed by Grove City (11-4), Pickerington North (10-5), Pickerington Central (9-6) and Lancaster (3-12).

Freshman Jamison Boykins shot 80 and junior Trey Albert carded 87 to lead the Raiders in the third round. Through three rounds, Boykins is averaging 79.67, followed by Albert (86.33) and senior Tanner Wooddell (92.67).

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 21 -- New Albany Invitational

Aug. 26 -- Dan Reid Invitational at Whitehall

Aug. 30 -- Canal Winchester Invitational

Sept. 2 -- Westerville North Classic

Sept. 5 -- Licking Heights Invitational

Sept. 9 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 16 -- Newark Invitational

Sept. 23 -- Pickerington Central Invitational

Sept. 27 -- Rick Mettle Invitational at Walnut Ridge

Sept. 30 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North

Oct. 4 -- Thornville Sheridan Backwoods Invitational

Oct. 7 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington

Oct. 14 -- OCC-Ohio meet at Lancaster

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 19 -- at Franklin Heights with Northland

Aug. 22 -- vs. Newark

Aug. 23 -- at New Albany

Aug. 26 -- vs. Zanesville

Aug. 29 -- vs. Westerville South

Aug. 31 -- at Central Crossing

*Sept. 5 -- at Gahanna

*Sept. 7 -- vs. Grove City

Sept. 9 -- at Westerville North

*Sept. 12 -- at Pickerington Central

*Sept. 14 -- vs. Pickerington North

Sept. 18 -- at Westland

*Sept. 19 -- at Lancaster

*Sept. 26 -- vs. Gahanna

*Sept. 28 -- at Grove City

Oct. 2 -- at Whitehall

*Oct. 3 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*Oct. 5 -- at Pickerington North

*Oct. 10 -- vs. Lancaster

Oct. 11 -- vs. Whetstone

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 7 -- Watkins Memorial at High Lands

Sept. 12 -- Westerville North at Blackhawk

Sept. 13 -- OCC-Ohio at Turnberry

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby

*Sept. 12 -- At Gahanna

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 7 -- At Worthington Kilbourne

*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Gahanna

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 7 -- At Lancaster

Sept. 9 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament

Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester

Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Northland

Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Zanesville

*League contest