In just her third year in the pole vault, Morgan Lemponen is leaping to new heights for the Grove City High School girls track and field team.
The senior established a program record of 11 feet, 3 inches earlier this season and entered the postseason looking for continued success.
The boys and girls teams are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet, which began May 14, continues Thursday, May 16, and concludes Saturday, May 18, at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advance to regional Wednesday, May 22, and May 24 at Pickerington North.
Lemponen prepared for district by finishing third in the pole vault (9-6) in the OCC-Ohio Division meet held May 9 and 11 at Groveport.
"This has gone very fast and I think that I've grown a lot in this short amount of time, and I'm super excited to get to continue it in college," Lemponen said. "I have a really good shot of making it to regional. It would mean the world. Being able to set goals and then accomplish them and seeing all the progress that I've made in between means a lot."
Lemponen will attend High Point University in North Carolina.
Following her freshman season, Lemponen said she was looking for a new challenge and decided to try the pole vault. She set the program record for the first time last season at 9-7, eclipsing 2014 graduate Danielle Shipley's 9-6.
"I just thought I'd try it," she said. "I was really shy my freshman year and thought let's try this, and then I stuck with it."
Lemponen credits her improvement to hard work and making a commitment over the summer.
"That's a significant difference," she said. "I just put in a lot more work and I decided over the summer that this is something I wanted to do and I really put my mind toward it."
The Greyhounds finished sixth (20 points) in the league meet behind Gahanna (176), Lancaster (125), North (79), Pickerington Central (72) and Reynoldsburg (51).
For the boys, Adam Meister was second in the 800 meters (1 minute, 57.03 seconds) and Kingston McKinstry was second in the long jump (22-3 3/4) as Grove City finished sixth (29) behind Central (158), Lancaster (108), North (97), Reynoldsburg (72) and Gahanna (59).
Baseball team opens postseason
The 16th-seeded baseball team was 11-15 before opening the Division I district tournament against 38th-seeded Westland on May 13.
The winner played 15th-seeded Central Crossing in the second round May 15, with that winner playing fifth-seeded Gahanna, 37th-seeded Thomas Worthington or 44th-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at a neutral site. The district final is Wednesday, May 22, at a neutral site, with top-seeded New Albany as the likely opponent.
Grove City defeated Gahanna 7-1 on April 15, 5-0 on April 17 and 2-1 on May 6 in OCC-Ohio play. It also beat Thomas 8-1 on April 1.
Softball team reaches district semifinal
The 12th-seeded softball team was 19-8 before playing third-seeded Delaware in a Division I district semifinal May 13.
The winner plays sixth-seeded Lancaster or 19th-seeded Dublin Coffman in a district final Friday, May 17, or Saturday, May, 18 at Pickerington Central.
The Greyhounds lost to Lancaster 5-1 on April 10 and 3-2 on April 22 in OCC-Ohio play.
Grove City opened the tournament with a 14-0 five-inning home win over 42nd-seeded Licking Heights on May 6. Sydney Sharron and Mylie Torres both hit home runs.
Grove City then defeated 21st-seeded Canal Winchester 10-0 in five innings May 8 at home as Sharron and Maddie Wilcox homered.
Boys tennis team closes season
The boys tennis team closed its first season under coach Josh Chandler at 9-10 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio.
The Greyhounds competed in a Division I sectional May 9 at Hilliard Bradley, with juniors Kaleb Coakley and Tyler Fulk going 1-1 in doubles to finish a win shy of qualifying for district.
Senior Tyler Sander and juniors Corbin Nickoloff and Brayden Smith all went 1-1 in singles, and sophomores Nicholas Bungart and Jesse Stevens went 1-1 in doubles.
"I had a blast with the team this year," Chandler said. "All of my guys are great kids with great families. I'm very excited to be able to work with our returning players in the offseason to see if we can't make a huge improvement from year one to year two."
Sander, the team's only senior, has enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
Juniors Chase Baisden, Paul Gosu, Holden Shea, Dominik Smith and Eddie Stevens also are eligible to return.