Despite losing his top player to graduation, Grove City High School boys golf coach Eric Joreski is confident his team is positioning itself for success.
The Greyhounds are looking to replace Nick Erwin, a four-year letterwinner who capped his prep career by tying for 16th (77) in the Division I district tournament last season. He now is playing baseball at Ohio State.
"We're going to miss Nick, but we'll be all right," said Joreski, who is in his 12th season. "We have a group of very hard-working young golfers. We only have one senior in the program this year. ... The group we have this year has worked their tails off and it showed with some of the scores during tryouts. They've been solid."
Junior Ian Johnston and sophomore Jeremiah Bane were second-team all-league last season. Both competed for the top spot in the preseason.
"This is Ian's third year as a varsity player and both of them had great summers playing in a lot of different tournaments," Joreski said. "They're both relentless workers. They want to be not good golfers, they want to be great golfers and they're constantly working."
Nathan Eberle, the team's only senior, should land a starting spot and is expected to provide leadership.
"I'm ready," said Eberle, who is looking to qualify for his first district tournament. "There's a lot of pressure, but I'm ready to take on the challenge. I don't mind where I play, I'm just ready to get out there and play and try to help my team as much as I can."
Junior Connor Estep also should be in the mix.
A competition for the final starting spot developed in the preseason between sophomore Thatcher Wilson and freshmen Nash Linder, Trent Ruffing and Jackson Ware.
"I'm excited about this group," Joreski said. "They have put in a ton of effort into their games. ... They have high expectations and the one thing we're preaching to our kids is they have to believe in themselves because they have put in the time and they have the ability."
The Greyhounds, who went 13-7 in the four-round OCC-Ohio Division tournament last season to finish third behind champion Gahanna (17-3), opened league play by finishing fourth (326) on Aug. 7 at Darby Creek behind the first-place Lions (300). Bane tied for sixth with a 78.
Grove City finished fourth (326) in the second round Aug. 13 at Apple Valley, behind first-place Gahanna (311).
"The league looks pretty strong," Joreski said. "We had a new champion last year in Gahanna and they have just about everybody back, so they're going to be very strong. Pickerington North is always going to be strong. Pickerington Central has a very good young team, so it's going to be a battle.
"All you can ask for is you put yourself in position in those first three rounds to have a chance in that final round."
Sophomore to lead girls golf team
Sophomore Lizzie Saur is back to lead the girls golf team after emerging as its top player last season.
Saur is looking for a return trip to the Division I district tournament after tying for 33rd (85) last fall. She also was first-team all-OCC-Ohio.
Grove City opened Aug. 6 by finishing 12th (425) in the 15-team Gahanna Invitational at Jefferson behind champion New Albany (295). Saur led the Greyhounds with a 78.
The Greyhounds opened league play Aug. 8 at Cooks Creek, finishing fourth (407) behind first-place Pickerington North (342). Saur led the Greyhounds with an 87.
"A couple of the girls have very strong feelings of going to district this year. That will be our team goal," sixth-year coach Megan Blaney said. "Can we make it there as a team? I know a few girls if they can't get there with their team, they will absolutely make a run for it as an individual."
Junior returnee Abby Jones is expected to be the No. 2 golfer. Freshman Katie Thrun has emerged as the No. 3 golfer, while sophomore returnee Ysabel Gomez is No. 4.
"I can tell that Katie has a real knack for the game and it looks like it comes easy for her," Blaney said. "She seems pretty athletic. She'll be a good third scorer for us and she has great room for improvement."
Junior Alexis Hyder is the No. 5 player. Freshman Samantha Paduchik also is looking to contribute.
"The team is looking really good," Blaney said. "I can tell that my girls have put in some work over the summer. A few of them are really dedicated. They're playing in tournaments, they're practicing and (they're) taking lessons. I can see that their dedication has paid off."
Last season, Grove City went 11-9 in the OCC-Ohio to finish third behind co-champions Pickerington North and Gahanna (both 18-2).
Witteman begins landmark season
Girls tennis coach Dan Witteman is celebrating his 30th season with the program.
The Greyhounds opened Aug. 13 against Teays Valley and begin OCC-Ohio play Aug. 23 at Lancaster.
Grove City lost five of its seven starters to graduation, with senior Becca Bane and junior Olivia Norbut being the only returning players. Both competed for the first-singles spot in the preseason, with Norbut holding a slight edge, according to Witteman.
Juniors Lexi Townsend and Emma Smith competed for the third-singles position.
Seniors Jenna Stroud and Alaynah Burke will play first doubles early in the season, with senior Emma Olander and junior Josie Susi at second doubles.
"We've taken some pretty positive steps forward," Witteman said. "We're starting to come together. Where people are going to play is becoming more clear now."
Last season, the Greyhounds finished 18-4 overall and went 2-3 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Gahanna and Lancaster for third behind champion Pickerington Central (5-0).
"The league is always tough," Witteman said.
Grove City again will play in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I team tournament. It will face Reynoldsburg in the first round Aug. 28, and the match also will serve as a league contest.
Aug. 6 -- Teays Valley Invitational at Foxfire
Aug. 7 -- OCC-Ohio at Darby Creek
Aug. 11 -- Fairfield Federal Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 13 -- OCC-Ohio at Apple Valley
Aug. 21 -- Olentangy Berlin at Bent Tree
Aug. 23 -- Pickerington North at Cumberland Trail
Aug. 28 -- OCC-Ohio at Denison Golf Club
Aug. 30 -- Hilliard Davidson at Hickory Hills
Sept. 1 -- Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle
Sept. 4 -- Lancaster Invitational at Lancaster Country Club
Sept. 8 -- Hickory Hills Invitational at Hickory Hills
Sept. 10 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Ohio at Turnberry
Sept. 15 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 18 -- Dublin Scioto and Hilliard Bradley at Pinnacle
Sept. 22 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 25 -- Olentangy Berlin and Pickerington Central at Pinnacle
Sept. 29 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 6 -- Gahanna Invitational at Jefferson
Aug. 8 -- OCC-Ohio at Cooks Creek
Aug. 10 -- Pickerington North Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 13 -- Hilliard Davidson at Rolling Meadows
Aug. 16 -- OCC-Ohio at Royal American
Aug. 20 -- Ready at Foxfire
Aug. 21 -- Westerville North at Royal American
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Ohio at Westchester
Sept. 4 -- Hilliard Davidson at Oakhurst
Sept. 6 -- Westerville Central at Oakhurst
Sept. 11 -- Westerville South at Pinnacle
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Ohio at Royal American
Sept. 13 -- Hilliard Bradley at Oakhurst
Sept. 15 -- Bloom Carroll Invitational at Pine Hill
Sept. 18 -- Westerville North at Oakhurst
Sept. 20 -- Westerville Central at Royal American
Sept. 24 -- Hilliard Bradley at Thorn Apple
Aug. 13 -- at Teays Valley
Aug. 14 -- vs. Hamilton Township
Aug. 18 -- SWCS tournament at home
Aug. 20 -- vs. Westerville Central
Aug. 21 -- vs. Worthington Christian
*Aug. 23 -- at Lancaster
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
*Aug. 30 -- vs. Gahanna
*Sept. 4 -- at Pickerington Central
*Sept. 6 -- vs. Pickerington North
Sept. 10 -- at Hilliard Darby
Sept. 11 -- vs. Ready
Sept. 12 -- vs. Westerville South
Sept. 13 -- vs. Marysville
Sept. 17 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 18 -- vs. DeSales
Sept. 20 -- at Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 25 -- vs. Delaware
Sept. 26 -- vs. Grandview
Sept. 27 -- vs. Hartley
Oct. 1 -- at Watkins Memorial
Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 20 -- New Albany Invitational
Aug. 17 -- At Westerville North
Aug. 17 -- At Westerville North
Aug. 21 -- At Dublin Scioto
Aug. 21 -- At Franklin Heights