With an increase in depth and the return of a talented athlete, Grove City High School gymnastics coach Mark Hartley is optimistic about his 23rd season.
The Greyhounds have 13 girls on the roster, an increase from 10 a season ago.
"It's still early," Hartley said. "We've spent the first month trying to get floor routines together, so we really haven't spent any time on the other events. We have a good base. We have some promise and talent this year that we haven't had in a few years."
Grove City should be boosted by the return of junior Anna Stoll, who opted not to compete last season but was 21st in the all-around (33.1) at district as a freshman.
Senior Kaelyn Kuder returns after missing last season with a right knee injury. However, because of the injury, she currently is limited to competing on just the balance beam.
"This is the biggest team we've had in a long time," Kuder said. "Jackson Middle School has a gymnastics team, so they came over and I knew some of the girls from club."
Other returnees are junior Bailey Bennett and sophomore Sophie Legue.
Other gymnasts are juniors Madison Pepper and Celia Perez, sophomores Kayley Donahoe and Gena Kuhn and freshmen Kayla Danton, Emma Claypool, Marissa Rock, Makayla Stroud and Morgan Waterman. Perez is an exchange student from Spain.
Grove City opened Dec. 12 by finishing fourth (122.375) behind first-place Hilliard Darby (129.025) in a seven-team meet at Hilliard Davidson.
Stoll was sixth in the all-around (32.2) to lead the Greyhounds. She tied for third on floor exercise (8.6) and fifth on uneven bars (7.6).
Claypool tied Davidson's Nikia Scurlock for first on vault (8.2). Waterman was seventh on bars (7.4), and Rock tied for 10th on floor (8.0).
The Greyhounds then finished 10th (117.25) in the 14-team Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 15 at Davidson behind champion Dublin Jerome (136.05).
Grove City lost two key contributors from last year in Macy Mills, who graduated, and senior Morgan Lemponen, who is not competing this season. Mills was 40th (31.45) and Lemponen was 61st (30.075) at district last season.
Boys basketball team looks to snap skid
After beginning the season 3-0, the boys basketball team was looking to end a three-game losing streak when it played Franklin Heights on Dec. 18.
The Greyhounds entered the game 3-3 overall. They are 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division after losing to visiting Reynoldsburg 68-53 on Dec. 14. Brock Waits led the Greyhounds with 11 points, and Alex Coffey and Sam Stoll each added 10.
Cole Crager scored a game-high 22 points in a 56-44 loss at Canal Winchester on Dec. 11.
Girls basketball coach picks up first win
The girls basketball team defeated visiting Groveport 44-25 on Dec. 11 for coach Joel Taylor's first win.
Alyssa Fuchs led the Greyhounds with 12 points and Becca Conrad added 11.
Grove City was 1-6 overall before playing Franklin Heights on Dec. 18.
Madison Grube scored 12 points and Fuchs added 11 in a 54-31 loss to visiting Olentangy Orange on Dec. 15.
The Greyhounds fell to 0-3 in the OCC-Ohio with a 59-17 loss at Reynoldsburg on Dec. 14.
Chandler takes over boys tennis program
The boys tennis team will have a new leader in the spring.
Josh Chandler has been named coach, replacing Ronald Smith, who guided the Greyhounds for 16 seasons.
"I'm incredibly excited to hold a coaching position in a sport that I am extremely passionate about," said Chandler, a 2007 graduate of Central Crossing who played tennis for the Comets but does not have any experience coaching the sport.
"I am also very excited about teaching students the game of tennis. I hope this program can be very successful and compete for OCC championships, and I hope to make a positive impact on each and every player that I coach both on and off the court."
Chandler, a third- and fourth-grade special education teacher at Monterey Elementary School, is in his third season as a freshman and assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Central Crossing. He previously was a volunteer boys basketball coach at Grove City.
"Josh brings a passion for tennis to the Grove City program," athletics director Kris Sander said. "During Josh's interview, he expressed a commitment to coach students on tennis fundamentals and tactical strategies, while also building their ability to master the mental game. His enthusiasm for tennis was evident and we are excited to have him as a head coach."
Sander commended Smith for his dedication to the program.
"Coach Smith's ability to build relationships with players was an amazing part of the boys tennis program during his (tenure)," Sander said. "His patience in teaching the game provided opportunities for students at all grade levels to join the game at any point in their high school career. His easygoing nature will be missed."
Dec. 12 -- at *Hilliard Davidson with *Central Crossing, *Franklin Heights, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby and Westland
Dec. 15 -- Hilliard Invitational at Hilliard Davidson
Dec. 20 -- Buckeye Valley, Olentangy Berlin, Olentangy Orange and Westerville Central at Worthington Youth Boosters Gymnastics
Jan. 5 -- Wolfpack Invitational at Worthington Kilbourne
Jan. 15 -- at *Upper Arlington with *Dublin Coffman and Olentangy Berlin
Jan. 16 -- at *Marysville with Central Crossing, Franklin Heights and *Westland
Jan. 19 -- Westerville Central Invitational at Worthington Youth Boosters Gymnastics
Jan. 23 -- at Worthington Kilbourne with Westerville Central
Jan. 29 -- at *Dublin Coffman with Dublin Scioto, Dublin Jerome and Westerville Central
Feb. 9 -- OCC-Central meet at Thomas Worthington
Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Gahanna
*Dec. 21 -- At Gahanna
Dec. 20 -- At West Jefferson