Eric Hamner will have to get the most from his runners if the Johnstown-Monroe High School girls cross country team expects to qualify for a fourth consecutive Division II state meet.

Eric Hamner will have to get the most from his runners if the Johnstown-Monroe High School girls cross country team expects to qualify for a fourth consecutive Division II state meet.

The Johnnies have five girls out for the team, although two earned all-state honors last year. Senior Meghan Schulze finished ninth in the state meet at Scioto Downs in a personal-best 19 minutes, 2.3 seconds, and senior Stephanie Loshbough was 21st in 19:20.1. The top 25 finishers earned all-state honors.

Also back are juniors Lauren Baldwin and Jessica Turner. Newcomer McCalah Mast, a sophomore, rounds out the roster.

"We'll be fine up front (with Meghan and Stephanie)," said Hamner, who is in his fourth season as coach. "We need to close the gap between second and third and fourth to be less than two or three minutes. We need them to be finishing around (the) 21(-minute range)."

As a team at state last year, the Johnnies finished 16th (307 points) behind champion Minster (158).

Katrina Cartwright (123rd, 21:59.7) and Sarah Mast (133rd, 22:34), both 2011 graduates, followed Schulze and Loshbough at state. Baldwin (136th, 22:33.9) and Turner (137th, 22:37.5) also competed.

In the regional at Pickerington North, the Johnnies were fourth (153) to earn the final state-qualifying spot ahead of Mount Gilead (164). Galion Northmor (94) was regional champion followed by Fredericktown (117) and Grandview (122).

Schulze led the Johnnies by finishing fourth (19:41.3) and was followed by Loshbough (sixth, 20:02.9), Cartwright (50th, 22:05.9), Turner (67th, 22:26.9), Sarah Mast (90th, 23:36.8) and Baldwin (98th, 24:07.1).

In the district 1 meet at Watkins Memorial, the Johnnies were second (69) of eight teams behind Northmor (43) and ahead of the other two regional qualifiers, Centerburg (81) and Berne Union (103).

Schulze won the race in 19:05.55 and Loshbough was second (19:22.03), followed by Cartwright (16th, 21:05.04), Turner (26th, 22:04.34), Baldwin (30th, 22:23.22) and Sarah Mast (40th, 23:41.32).

In the four-team MBC meet at the Hartford Fairgrounds, Johnstown finished second (43) behind Fredericktown (37) and ahead of Centerburg (45) and Loudonville (103). Loshbough (second, 18:48) led the Johnnies followed by Schulze (third, 18:52), Turner (12th, 21:24), Cartwright (13th, 21:43), Baldwin (20th, 22:36), Sarah Mast (22:48) and then-freshman Alyi LaRoche (29th, 24:55).

The boys team has six runners, but only two are returning from last year in senior Jacob Wall and junior Bryon Foltz. Junior Tyler Estep was a two-year letterwinner at Northridge.

Sophomore Gary Harper plans to run and play soccer for the Johnnies. Freshmen Stephen Harper and Kaleb Walker round out the roster.

"We've got a pretty good group of guys," Hamner said. "I think Tyler can break 17 (minutes) this year and Jacob can break 18, and we'll see how the other develop as the season progresses. Finishing top three in the league is definitely a goal."

Last year, Johnstown competed in the Division II, district 1 race, but did not have enough runners for a team score. Granville (19) won the eight-team event to advance to regional with Centennial (97), Lakewood (108) and Caledonia River Valley (113).

James Platt, a 2011 graduate, finished 13th (17:27.68) to qualify for regional as the top 16 individuals advanced. Wall was 18th (17:46.34).

Platt finished 18th (17:31.3) at regional but did not qualify for state as the top 16 advanced.

The Johnnies finished sixth (142) in the MBC meet behind Fredericktown (44), Centerburg (65), Northridge (69), East Knox (98) and Loudonville (119) and ahead of Utica (192). Wall (10th, 17:45) led the way for Johnstown, followed by Platt (21st, 18:54), 2011 graduate Jon Holbrook (26th, 19:18) and Foltz (40th, 22:03).

•The newly formed girls golf team opens its season Monday, Aug. 29, against Granville and Lakewood at Harbor Hills. The Johnnies have their second match on Sept. 7 against Centerburg and Hilliard Davidson at Table Rock.

The roster includes senior Samantha Henson, juniors Kourtney Deflinger and Samantha Epling and freshman Ashley Arnold.

"Kourtney and Ashley played middle school golf with the boys and Samantha Henson's family owns Hillcrest Golf Course (near Johnstown)," said Chris Carlisle, who coaches the Johnnies' girls and boys programs. "We have girls who have played golf, but just not at the varsity level."

The Johnnies will play Centerburg on Sept. 21 at Clover Valley before playing in the Division II sectional on Sept. 26 at The Players Club at Foxfire. They also are scheduled to play Westerville South on Sept. 27 at Clover Valley.

•The baseball and softball programs are looking for new head coaches.

Justin Richards recently resigned as baseball coach and Megan Sheasby has resigned as softball coach.

Richards coached the baseball team for one season and led the Johnnies to their first district championship game appearance since 2006. They lost to Heath 7-2 in a Division III district final last spring to finish 15-9 overall.

Richards lost his teaching position at the high school after Mike Carter was not renewed as athletics director and returned to teaching physical education.

Since then, Richards was hired to teach at Legend Elementary in Newark.

"I resigned (as coach) because I wanted the best for the kids," Richards said.

"I don't get out of school until 3:30 (p.m.) and I don't want to cheat the kids by taking too much time to get over there to practice and games. That would be selfish on my part.

"I really wanted to continue with this group because I think they will have a great season next year, and I wanted the best for them. They should be a good team."

Johnstown finished third (9-5) in the MBC last season, behind Fredericktown (12-1) and Utica (10-4).

Senior catcher Matt Smith, who was first-team all-district, leads a group of seven starters expected to return. The others are seniors Taylor Baughman (OF), Hunter Cecil (3B/P), Derek Hastings (2B) and Harley O'Flaherty (1B/P), and junior outfielder Scott Sammons.

Sheasby said it was time to "step back" after two years leading the softball program and numerous years of playing multiple sports at Danville High School and Kenyon College.

"It was something that was very well thought out, and I think it was the right decision," said Sheasby, who will continue as a science teacher at the high school. "It has nothing to do with the girls because I had a great time coaching.

"I played both basketball and softball in college and I got into coaching when I was just starting my career and I felt like it was getting to be too much. I might coach later, but right now I need to step back."

The Johnnies were 10-35 overall in Sheasby's two seasons, including 5-14 last spring.

They were fifth (5-8) in the MBC behind co-champions Loudonville and Northridge (12-2).

Senior infielder Kelcey Spang led the team in batting average, hitting .302 with six RBI, two doubles and three runs. Senior infielder Meagan Yanczura batted .295 with one home run, six doubles and 20 RBI. Junior outfielder Keymell Cartwright hit .280 with nine runs, three stolen bases and three RBI.

Senior pitcher Carly Pickard had a 5.11 ERA in 88 innings with 60 strikeouts and 32 walks. She also batted .263 with seven RBI.

Also expected back are senior Taylor Branstool (C) and juniors Lauren Baldwin (OF), Karissa Hurst (INF), Kim Meyers (P) and Amanda Williams (INF). Sophomore Natalie Carpenter (INF) also played varsity.