Toni Woods of the Groveport Madison High School girls track and field team continues to be a work in progress this season.
The junior has had to play catchup in her running events because of "aches and pains" and is just learning a new technique in the long jump, according to coach Matt Fenzel.
"We have been working with her to become more technically sound in the long jump because she has all the tools," Fenzel said. "She's got our school record (17 feet, 3 1/2 inches) right now, but she did that last year and she accomplished that without the proper technique. She's a very special athlete, but she's been a little behind in her (sprint) times because she hasn't been fully healthy and the weather has not cooperated."
Woods has cleared 17-3 twice this season.
"My goals are to reset the school record and make it to state," Woods said. "I eventually want to get that record to 18 (feet), but the coaches want me to get more lift. I'm relying too much on my speed and they want me to keep more weight underneath me for better spring, where I can keep the momentum rather than going straight out.
"I know it'll push me back some and (my distance) may not be as good for a while until I get everything down, but I'm hoping it clicks soon. I think I nearly have it all together now and I'll start putting up better numbers soon."
Woods finished eighth in the long jump (16-7 3/4) in the Division I indoor state meet March 3 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva. Last spring, she placed eighth (16-6 1/4) in the Division I, district 1 meet after winning the OCC-Capital Division title with her school-record performance.
Woods remained in the area honor roll last week in the long jump. She also competes in the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relays, which were in the area honor roll with times of 51.49 seconds, 1:47.49 and 4:17.82, respectively.
The Cruisers finished seventh (59 points) in the eight-team Milt Will Invitational on April 27 at Canal Winchester, behind champion Pickerington North (154). The 400 relay of Atanna Gunnell, Chenise Smith, Emily Allen and Emani Anthony placed second (51.87) and the 800 relay of Gunnell, Smith, Allen and Woods was third (1:47.49).
Also placing third were Gunnell in the 200 (27.5), Madison Young in the 400 (1:02.02) and Melanie Torres in the 3,200 (12:29.54).
"I think I should be doing better in the 400 and I run every race trying to get my PR," Young said. "The coaches tell me I'm on track, but I believe I should be doing better. But we've only had two meets with decent weather so far. I'm placing well, but my times aren't there."
Woods did not compete in the long jump in the Milt Will Invitational.
The boys team finished eighth (51) in the meet behind champion North (143). Tahzmere Givens won the 300 hurdles (42.92), joined Kahari Davis, Esco Davis and Jalil Underdown on the second-place 400 relay (44.65) and was part of the fourth-place 1,600 relay (3:38.31) with Lonnie Stuckey, Kahari Davis and Rafael Soler.
Placing third were Underdown in the 100 (11.45) and Deahmi Guinn in the discus (123-8).
Softball team closes in on league title
The softball team entered the week with an opportunity to close out its second consecutive OCC-Capital title.
The Cruisers were 16-3 overall and 7-0 in the league before playing Newark on April 30. The Wildcats were second in the league at 5-2.
Groveport, which beat Newark 6-5 on April 18, played host to Big Walnut in an OCC-Capital game May 2 and concludes league play Thursday, May 3, at Big Walnut.
Groveport, which went 10-0 in the league last year, will conclude the regular season with games Friday, May 4, at Westerville North and Saturday, May 5, at home against Watkins Memorial and Ready.
The Cruisers defeated Canal Winchester 14-2 on April 25, New Albany 13-2 on April 26 and Franklin Heights 10-0 on April 27 in league games.
Sara Gockenbach threw a no-hitter in the five-inning win over Franklin Heights.
Through 19 games, Gockenbach was 16-3 with a 1.28 ERA, 164 strikeouts and 23 walks in 104 1/3 innings.
MacKenzie Maddy led the Cruisers in batting average (.523), doubles (10) and runs scored (26) and Lane White was batting .507 with nine doubles, four home runs, 25 runs and 15 RBI. Macy Sporleder was batting .375 with 16 runs and 21 RBI.
Other offensive leaders were Makayla Smith (.365), Carsyn Saunders (.347), Gockenbach (.344, 15 runs), Ally Maddy (.340), Jodi Kern (.321, 17 RBI) and Milan Caldwell (.306).
Baseball team in midst of busy week
The baseball team was 10-7 overall and 5-5 in the OCC-Capital before playing at New Albany on April 30.
That was the first of seven games in seven days to close out the Cruisers' regular-season schedule.
Groveport rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat Briggs 6-4 in the second game of a doubleheader April 28, as Colin Rice allowed four hits to get the win on the mound and Daniel Fairchild earned a save.
Caleb Caldwell threw a three-hitter in the Cruisers' five-inning, 12-2 win in the first game against Briggs.
Groveport managed just four hits in a 3-2 loss to Canal Winchester in a league game April 27.
Below are the coming schedules for the Groveport Madison baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
*May 3 -- At Franklin Heights in makeup from April 25. The Cruisers beat the Falcons 14-0 on April 2 and 11-0 on April 4.
*May 4 -- At Big Walnut. The Cruisers lost to the Golden Eagles 7-1 on April 20.
May 5 -- At Johnstown with Logan
May 7 -- At 17th-seeded Dublin Jerome in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at fourth-seeded Hilliard Davidson in the second round May 9. The Cruisers are seeded 28th of 48 teams.
*May 3 -- At Big Walnut in makeup from April 24
May 4 -- At Westerville North
May 5 -- Home vs. Watkins Memorial and Ready
May 9 --Home vs. 26th-seeded Olentangy Orange or 31st-seeded DeSales in second round of Division I district tournament. The Cruisers are seeded fourth and have a first-round bye.
May 3 -- At Teays Valley
TRACK & FIELD
May 4 -- Hilliard Bradley Invitational