The Grove City High School boys swimming and diving team features a solid nucleus, including a talented athlete who missed the past two seasons to focus solely on competing at the club level.
Senior Spencer Tussing should specialize in freestyle events. He competed in the Division I state meet as a freshman, finishing 15th in the 500-yard freestyle (4 minutes, 39.59 seconds) and 22nd in the 200 free (1:44.95) and swimming on the eighth-place 400 free relay (3:11.9).
The Greyhounds finished a program-best eighth at state that season.
Tussing has committed to the University of Tennessee.
"I'm happy that Spencer is back and I hope he has a good season," said coach Amy Miller, who is in her seventh season.
After failing to qualify a swimmer for state the past two seasons, the Greyhounds are looking to make the trip to Branin Natatorium in Canton.
"We'd like to (advance) as many kids on to district and then on to state as possible," Miller said. "You're always looking for people (to qualify for state). That's your big motivation to get somebody to go to state, especially when you've been there before."
A key returnee is senior Justin Christensen, who competes in all strokes. He led the Greyhounds at district last season, finishing 10th in the 500 free (4:46.95) and 16th in the 200 free (1:48.55).
Sophomore Gregory Kingsbury, who specializes in freestyle events, finished 30th in the 100 free (51.47) and 31st in the 50 free (23.19) last season at district.
"I felt like I really came out and had a good freshman year," Kingsbury said. "I really put up some good times and I hope that sets the pace for my remaining three years."
Other returnees are senior Jordan Hedges (200 individual medley, butterfly), juniors Will Hutchison (breaststroke), Joseph Martin (free), Jaron Routh (backstroke, 200 IM) and Nicholas Swanson (distance free) and sophomore Raul DeMesa (200 IM, breast).
Freshman Jacob Antonell (back, free) rounds out the team.
"The boys are looking really good," Kingsbury said. "We have some new swimmers on the team. We have a returning swimmer, Spencer Tussing, (who is) a (Division I college) recruit. He has fantastic times and that's going to give us some shots in good meets. It's going to allow us to maybe qualify for state. Justin Christensen is a fantastic swimmer as well. We just have a lot of weapons."
Grove City finished 29th (25) in the 35-team Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 8 at Ohio State behind champion Hunting Valley University School (396.5).
The girls team should be led by seniors Olivia Jordan (back, free), Elizabeth Siegwarot (breast, free) and Lillian Trimble (free).
Siegwarot is in her second season on the team.
"I just want us to grow and get better as a unit and not just individually because swimming is such an individual sport, but there's so many team aspects to it," she said. "I would love us to come together and help each other out, cheer each other on and really have a family environment."
Other returnees are seniors Nicole Deschene (breast, free), Alayna Moscinski (back, free), Rachel Rader (free) and Olivia Ward (free), junior Reese Rader (free) and sophomores Madelyn Holcomb (200 IM, fly) and Rocsi Rader (free, fly).
Other swimmers are junior Carli Frey (fly, breast), sophomore Lashay McGhee (sprints) and freshmen Audrey Bueter (all strokes), Kendra Jackson (free), Kennedy LaVigne (free), Kelsey Melendez (fly), Emma Pancake (breast), Hannah Routh (back, 200 IM) and Lauren Wahl (back).
The Greyhounds finished 17th (51) in the 38-team Ned Reeb Invitational behind champion Upper Arlington (391.5). Hannah Routh was sixth in the 100 back (59.06) and seventh in the 100 fly (58.91).
"I like the dedication that the kids have and the respect that they have towards each other," Miller said.
Boys basketball team out to strong start
The boys basketball team was 3-1 overall before playing Groveport on Dec. 11.
Grove City opened OCC-Ohio Division play with a 40-38 loss at Lancaster on Dec. 7. William Morrison led the Greyhounds with a game-high 16 points.
Cole Crager scored 15 points and Brock Waits added 13 in a 50-43 win at Briggs on Dec. 5.
"The team is playing with good chemistry and shooting the ball with great confidence," coach Eric Saxton said. "We (were) shooting over 35 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent from the free-throw line (through three games). We (had) a two-to-one ratio in assists to turnovers, which is unheard of in high school basketball.
"Our kids (took) 10 charges in (the first) three games, showing they are willing to sacrifice their body if it helps the team succeed."
Girls basketball team loses first four games
The girls basketball team was 0-4 overall before playing Groveport on Dec. 11.
The Greyhounds fell to 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio with a 56-40 loss to visiting Lancaster on Dec. 7. Ellie Pollock-Ballard led Grove City with 12 points.
The Greyhounds, who lost 56-41 at Marysville on Dec. 8, opened league play with a 41-27 loss to visiting Pickerington North on Dec. 4. Alyssa Fuchs had seven points and Madison Grube added six.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 30 -- Gahanna at Gahanna YMCA
Dec. 4 -- Grove City Christian and Lancaster at Grove City YMCA
Dec. 8 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 10 -- Whetstone Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 18 -- Wellington and Whetstone at Grove City YMCA
Dec. 22 -- Mount Vernon Invitational at Kenyon College
Dec. 28 -- Groveport and Hilliard Bradley at Grove City YMCA
Jan. 7 -- Whetstone at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 15 -- Grandview and Grove City Christian at Grove City YMCA
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Ohio meet at Upper Arlington
Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City boys basketball, girls basketball and gymnastics teams:
*Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg
Dec. 18 -- At Franklin Heights
*Dec. 14 -- At Reynoldsburg
Dec. 18 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
Dec. 15 -- Hilliard Invitational at Hilliard Davidson