A canceled event gave the Grove City High School cross country program two weeks off from races before it resumes competition Saturday, Oct. 3, in the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club.

A canceled event gave the Grove City High School cross country program two weeks off from races before it resumes competition Saturday, Oct. 3, in the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club.

While coach Joe Dollins welcomed the break in the respect that his runners can heal from routine aches and pains, he hopes their solid performances continue into the most important month of the season.

"Four guys are running in the 17 (-minute range), which is awesome," said Dollins, whose team was scheduled to participate in the Washington Court House Miami Trace Invitational on Sept. 22 before it was canceled. "The girls team is getting better and faster each week, which is exciting to see. The girls team is picking up on race strategies and how to run a smart (3.1-mile) race, which is helping improve their finishing time and helping our team place well."

Doug McIntire has the boys team's best time with a 17-minute, 9.6-second performance Sept. 2 in the Canal Winchester Invitational. He is followed by Adam Glass (17:21.3), Evan Whitaker (17:35.3) and Austin Huff (17:58.7).

McIntire has led Grove City in each race this season.

Sydney Smith has been the girls team's top runner in four of its five races. The only exception was the Best of the South-West meet Sept. 5 at Westland, where Micaila Mountain was second overall (13:19) and Maylene Renninger was third (13:36) in the 2-mile event.

Renninger, a sophomore, has been the Greyhounds' second finisher in three consecutive races.

"Maylene is coming on strong and is really hitting her rhythm," Dollins said. "This (is) her first year running and ... she continues to run hard and gain valuable race experience."

Smith's top time is 20:01.3, set at Canal Winchester.

Other top-five runners for the girls team have included Alyssa Fuchs, Rachel Hitchcock, Sumer McWilliams, Kaitlin Osterman and Savannah Rutherford.

After traveling to London, the Greyhounds will participate in the Hilliard Darby Dash on Oct. 10 before the OCC-Ohio Division meet Oct. 17 at Pickerington Central.

Comets making solid strides

Central Crossing's boys team won three consecutive events before finishing 12th (302 points) of 18 teams in the Bob Reall Invitational on Sept. 26 at Lancaster behind champion Ona (W.Va.) Cabell Midland (44).

C.J. Patrick was 22nd (16:57.5), followed by Greg Patrick (48th, 17:37.5), Ryan Bachman (68th, 17:58.8), Tony Bolanos-Cruz (71st, 18:03.5) and Jake Ferenchak (98th, 18:47.9).

Central Crossing was coming off wins at the Best of the South-West, the Chillicothe Zane Trace Invitational on Sept. 12 and the Shin Splint Invitational on Sept. 19 at Westland.

"The boys have had a great start," coach Doug Boggs said. "C.J. was (the top runner) coming into the season, so no surprise there. Ryan was in a boot a few times over the summer and was a little behind coming into competition season. He looks to be healthy now, and I look for him to push for the top spot soon."

The girls team competed in the open race at Lancaster.

Briana Arriaga was 56th (24:11.4), followed by Diamond Cook (61st, 24:20.6), Melissa Myers (65th, 24:26.3), Mallory Lalonde (100th, 25:11.1), Kylee Risinger-O'Malley (138th, 26:14.8) and Daetona Stasheen (149th, 26:33.8).

"Missy Myers had a great summer and is competing way better than last year," Boggs said. "Briana Arriaga is looking to become the (No.) 1 runner on the girls team. She is looking very strong."

Central Crossing's regular season concludes with the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic and the Darby Dash, before it runs in the OCC-Central meet Oct. 17 at Darby.