Brian Schoch was pleased with the early returns for his Grandview Heights High School boys cross country team, but he wants to see that effort consistently throughout the season.

Brian Schoch was pleased with the early returns for his Grandview Heights High School boys cross country team, but he wants to see that effort consistently throughout the season.

The fourth-year coach watched Grandview finish fifth (130) in the 12-team New Albany Classic on Aug. 22 behind champion New Albany (24). But the Bobcats were one of two Division III teams scoring in the meet and finished the highest of any non-Division I team. DeSales, a Division II team, was seventh (190).

"In the first meet, I want to see where we're at," Schoch said. "The kids were amped up to be there, but I don't take too much stock in the first meet. It's a chance to see where we are and go from there."

Junior Luke Evans led the Bobcats in the opener, finishing fourth in 17 minutes, 3 seconds as Zack Buck of New Albany won in 16:42. Senior Chase Gage (22nd, 18:21) was next for Grandview followed by junior Josh Smith (18:29), sophomore Eli Reed (30th, 18:40), sophomore Peter Mathes (75th, 19:54), sophomore Jon Faris (86th, 20:14), sophomore Josh Clark (161st, 22:07) and sophomore Owen McCormick (100th, 24:10).

Sophomore Quinn Williams also is a member of the nine-athlete roster.

"We had no seniors last year and have everyone back," Schoch said. "Last year, Chase was the only runner who had ever run a varsity race before and now everyone knows what they are doing. Not only that, but we have seven runners with state-meet experience."

The Bobcats finished 14th (295) in the 16-team Division III state meet last season at National Trail Raceway, behind champion McDonald (74). Evans finished 21st (16:26.78) to earn all-state honors by placing in the top 25.

Gage (74th, 17:55.42) was next for Grandview, followed by Reed (103rd, 17:55.42), Smith, (107th, 17:59.18), Mathes (140th, 19:45.95), McCormick (147th, 20:27.8) and Faris (149th, 21:06.66).

In the regional meet at Pickerington North, the Bobcats finished third (112) of 16 teams, behind Sugarcreek Garaway (77) and Bellaire St. John (108). Liberty Union (128) earned the fourth and final state-qualifying spot.

Grandview finished third (75) of 10 teams in the district 1 race at Watkins Memorial behind Liberty Union (29) and Mount Gilead (66). Fredericktown (87) earned the fourth and final qualifying spot.

In the MSL-Cardinal Division meet at Licking Heights, the Bobcats were second (38) behind Liberty Union (23) and ahead of Licking Heights (72), Fisher Catholic (99) and Berne Union (133).

Girls runners aiming high

Because of injuries, the girls cross country team had only three runners compete in the opening meet at New Albany, but those who didn't compete were held out only as a precaution.

"We have a couple of girls who didn't run because of minor injuries, but they will be OK shortly," said Schoch, who has seven girls out this fall. "We have a really solid group and I can't say enough about their work ethic."

Newcomer Ali Lachey, a sophomore, led the Bobcats by finishing fourth (20:38) behind champion Leah Wallace (18:56) of Reynoldsburg. Junior Halli Bair (16th, 21:29) and freshman Emma Wheeler (58th (24:31) also competed for Grandview as Upper Arlington (38) won the 12-team event.

The girls roster has no seniors. The other runners are junior Hanley Baird and sophomores Emma Hecker, Emma Mihocik and Madison Osborne.

"I don't want to get too far ahead of myself because three of the girls have never run a 5K race before, but the way we are practicing, we can have a pretty good season," Schoch said. "We're ouchy right now with injuries, but I love the way they compete. This group wants to be good and you can tell that by the way they want to be out here running."

Last season, the Bobcats finished 10th (233) of 16 teams in the Division III regional at Pickerington North, behind state-qualifiers Mount Gilead (85), Fisher Catholic (117), Beverly Fort Frye (155) and Columbus Academy (155). They had no individuals qualify for state.

Grandview finished fourth (96) for the final regional-qualifying spot from the eight-team district 1 meet, behind Mount Gilead (33), Galion Northmor (83) and Academy (90).

The Bobcats finished second (43) in the MSL-Cardinal meet behind Fisher Catholic (31) and ahead of Berne Union (73), Liberty Union (88) and Licking Heights (95).

Versatility key for volleyball team

The girls volleyball team returns six starters from a squad that finished 8-16 overall last season after losing to second-seeded Bloom-Carroll 25-21, 25-11, 25-9 in a second-round Division III district tournament match.

Those starters are seniors Courtney Collier (middle hitter) and Maureen Flanagan (setter/outside hitter), juniors Natalie Ferris (outside hitter/right-side hitter) and Grace VanFossen (back row) and sophomores Emma Bulla (back row) and Allison Voelker (middle hitter).

Newcomers include junior Maddie Bills (right-side hitter/middle hitter) and freshmen Libby Jump (setter/outside hitter) and Mary Emma MacLeod (right-side hitter/middle hitter).

"We're all-around more athletic than we have been in the past, but we're also smaller," fourth-year coach Karla Fairbanks said. "The girls are versatile in their skills and can be interchangeable. They are more aggressive and defensively sound."

The Bobcats open Thursday, Aug. 30, at home against Fisher Catholic in an MSL-Cardinal match.

Last season, Grandview finished 5-9 in the MSL-Cardinal behind co-champions Harvest Prep and Licking Heights (both 13-1).

"We don't have a lot of depth and I intend on using all nine players in the varsity lineup," Fairbanks said. "We want to be aggressive and go after every ball. You don't not go for a ball this year. We go for everything."