Grove City Christian School cross country coach Mindy Bankey hopes her athletes' hard work during the season will lead to success at the district level and beyond.

"We have a great group of runners," said Bankey, who is in her fifth season. "Coach Mason Sturm and I are blessed to have such a hard-working crew and are excited as the meets continue and we see continued improvement."

The Eagles opened the season Aug. 20 in the New Albany Classic. The boys did not have enough runners for a team score, with senior Will Mayhew leading the Eagles by finishing 61st of 175 runners in 20 minutes, 47.9 seconds.

Mayhew, who has been competing since seventh grade, led the Eagles in the Division III, district 2 meet last season, finishing 68th (20:56.77).

"It's been fun to watch Will grow and compete all of these years," Bankey said. "He is much stronger this year as a result of spending the summer in basic training (for the Army National Guard). He's had two good races to date and should continue to see his times improve."

Also back is junior Colton Sisler, who finished 105th (22:39.7) at New Albany. He was 74th (21:59.67) at district last season.

"Colton worked hard in the offseason and as a result is much stronger and has seen his times improve, too," Bankey said.

Freshman Dillon King was 104th (22:37.8) at New Albany and junior Michael Flowers, who is in his first season on the team, was 164th (28:48.4).

Senior A.J. Gillespie, the goalkeeper for the boys soccer team, is in his first season on the cross country squad and will compete in meets when it doesn't conflict with soccer.

The Eagles also did not have enough runners for a team score in the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 25 at Pickerington North and the Circleville Kiwanis Invitational on Sept. 1.

Sisler was the Eagles' top runner at North (189th, 21:39.5) and Mayhew led the team at Circleville (120th, 20:49.5).

Mitchell leading girls runners

The girls cross country team consists of six juniors.

Rachel Mitchell led the Eagles at Pickerington North, finishing 118th (24:29.79) of 342 runners as the team was 25th (748 points) of 27 teams behind champion Olentangy Berlin (102).

Mitchell was 21st (22:12.37) in the district 2 meet last season.

"Rachel remains our strongest runner for the girls," Bankey said.

"She's a workhorse and pushes day in and day out. She's focused and goal-driven and I anticipate seeing her times drop, especially as she strives to excel in the MSL-Cardinal Division and on from there."

Sydney King finished 132nd (27:06.3) of 221 runners at Circleville to lead the Eagles, who finished 20th (570) of 20 teams behind champion Fairfield Union (55).

Other runners are Hannah Allen, Natalie Bankey, Madeline Bliss and Maggie Isner.

The girls race at New Albany was canceled near the midway point because of bad weather.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City Christian cross country, boys golf, boys soccer and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 15 -- Friendship Invitational at Cedarville

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 14 -- Village Academy at Darby Creek

Sept. 15 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club

Sept. 18 -- MSL-Cardinal postseason tournament at Denison Golf Club

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 15 -- Home vs. Zanesville Rosecrans

Sept. 18 -- At Central Crossing

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Fisher Catholic

*Sept. 18 -- At Millersport