"Really athletic" might be the best way to describe the Grandview Heights High School girls track and field team.
The Bobcats lost only two athletes to graduation, which means they return the majority of their roster. Senior Whitney Schaefer, who was a Division III state qualifier in the 300-meter hurdles and as a member of the 800 and 1,600 relays, likes what she has seen from her teammates early in the season.
"The preseason (went) great," said Schaefer, whose team opened April 1 against Dublin Scioto and Olentangy Liberty. "Getting back into shape is awesome, and it's been really fun since it is my senior year. The girls team is looking strong this season. We're really athletic."
Schaefer finished 14th in the 300 hurdles (47.38 seconds) at state and joined 2018 graduate Kacey Murphy, junior Maddy Morosky and sophomore Hannah Yochem on the 12th-place 800 relay (1:48.18) and 13th-place 1,600 relay (4:12.04).
Senior Nina Amicon was sixth in the 1,600 (5:29.52) and 12th in the 800 (2:36.21) at regional. She also was 31st (20:21.1) in the Division III state cross country meet last fall.
"I'm really excited about the season because I think we will be a really, really athletic team," Amicon said. "I think we could be really good."
Coach Brian Schoch said the Bobcats were talented last season, but now they're even better.
"The girls team had success last year, and the combination of not losing a lot and getting some new people helps to set us up for success," said Schoch, who is in his third season of his second stint leading both the boys and girls teams. "We don't have a ton of seniors, but you take people like Whitney and Nina who are competitive in a lot of events and that can go a long way."
Amicon runs anything from the 800 to the 3,200, while Schaefer competes in both hurdles events and can run sprints and relays. Senior Makenzie Bush is back from a knee injury to run sprints and relays along with Morosky and Yochem.
Juniors Liza DeVere (middle distance, high jump) and Emma Hall (3,200) were regional qualifiers last year. Freshman Sophie Andrew is a pole-vaulter and sprinter/hurdler, and junior Pilar Price and sophomore Ashley Rosinski are throwers.
Junior Jenna Richards and sophomore Tayler Pierce are newcomers. Richards, who also plays softball, is a sprinter and will run relays and Pierce, a soccer and basketball standout, will be a sprinter and jumper.
"We (had) a meet (April 1) and everyone (wanted) to see what we can do," Schoch said. "We are seeing a lot of encouraging things in practice and hope that translates into great performances during competition."
Boys track team loaded with youthful talent
The boys track team has only two seniors -- Silas Callison and Quinn Tillett -- on its 34-athlete roster, but it features talented junior and sophomores classes.
"We probably have as many, if not more, boys than we have ever had and we're still relatively young," Schoch said. "We have a small senior class, but we ran so many freshmen and sophomores last year, much more than we have in the past. That will pay off this year."
Junior Chris Miller leads the pack after finishing 12th in the 1,600 (career-best 4:28.5) in the Division III state meet. He also joined 2018 graduates Eli Evans, Eli Hall and Liam Kerr on the 3,200 relay that finished 11th in 8:13.45. That bettered the time of 8:13.67 the same four runners posted to place ninth in 2017.
"We don't have a lot of seniors, and we have a lot of juniors that should help us," Miller said. "We're all getting back into it. We have been looking great."
Miller placed 51st (17:35.5) in the Division III state cross country meet last fall and sophomore Derek Amicon was 22nd (17:04.8). The two make a formidable one-two punch in distance events after Amicon just missed qualifying for state last spring, finishing fifth in the 1,600 (4:35.05) at regional as the top four advanced.
Juniors Jack Kessler (200-800), Ravi Kumar (middle distance) and Luke Wallace (high jump, 100-800) are expected to be top scorers along with Tillett (sprints), junior Jack Freeman (sprints, hurdles) and sophomore Nico Card (sprints).
Junior Luke Lachey did not compete as a sophomore but will help out in sprints and relays and possibly jumps. Freshman Collin Haj Abed is a sprinter, jumper and hurdler.
Junior Iain McCormick is back after missing last spring with a knee injury. He qualified for regional in the pole vault as a freshman, finishing seventh (11 feet, 6 inches).
"I'm feeling great and it's great to be back," McCormick said.
Junior Darreion Davis competes in the shot put and discus but also could see action in sprints and the high jump and long jump. Sophomore Matthew Taylor is a thrower.
"One of the things that's fun as the season goes along is figuring out who best fits where," Schoch said. "We're still trying to figure out what roles everyone will have on the team."
Boys tennis team sees roster increase
Third-year boys tennis coach Kathy Kinnard has more to work with this spring.
After having just seven players last season, which is the minimum needed to fill all courts, the Bobcats have 11 athletes on the roster.
"We have four upperclassmen back and five freshmen coming in that can help us out a lot and some other players that are new to the sport," said Kinnard, whose team went 6-8 last season. "In the spring, kids have legitimate conflicts with the schedule. It's so nice to plug in kids without a drop-off in skills. I think we have that."
The four returnees are seniors Brett Holcomb and Patrick Rowland and juniors Bryan Gilleland and Calvin Horning. Sam Carter played as a freshman and has returned for his senior season.
The five freshmen are Connor Hayes, Sam Hofmans-Currie, Keegan Kearney, Max Lauer and Tyler Schmied. Junior Connor Dunkle is a first-time player.
"You'll probably see some movement between doubles and singles this season," said Kinnard, whose team was 2-0 before opening MSL-Ohio Division play against Worthington Christian on April 2. "Our lineup isn't set. I expect to switch things around the first couple of weeks in order to find the best combinations."
The Bobcats lost just one court in their first two matches, defeating Bloom-Carroll 5-0 on March 26 and Hamilton Township 4-1 on March 27.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
April 4 -- Home vs. Eastmoor Academy
April 6 -- Home vs. Columbus West (DH)
*April 8 -- At Worthington Christian
April 9 -- Home vs. Northridge
*April 10 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
April 4 -- At Fairbanks
April 6 -- At Olentangy Berlin with Big Walnut
*April 8 -- At Whitehall
April 9 -- At Watterson
*April 10 -- Home vs. Whitehall
April 4 -- Home vs. Whetstone
*April 9 -- Home vs. Whitehall
April 10 -- At Grove City
TRACK & FIELD
April 8 -- At Thomas Worthington with Upper Arlington