On the first sweltering day of the season, the Grandview Heights High School boys and girls track and field teams delivered performances to match the weather.
The Bobcats won both the boys and girls titles in the Division III, district 2 meet, which concluded May 18 at Watkins Memorial with the temperature in the mid-80s.
"I think the kids stepped up and had a good day," coach Brian Schoch said. "It was a warm day, but they focused through the first heat of the year. We had a lot of kids in multiple events, and they did a good job of handling that."
The boys finished with 163 points to outdistance runner-up Columbus Academy (101) as 14 teams scored. The girls had 124 points as Centerburg (96) was second and 12 teams scored.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional, which began May 22 and concludes Friday, May 24, at Fairfield Union. The top four in each regional event advance to state May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
"Obviously (winning district titles) gives us good momentum," Schoch said. "It's the time of the year that you are hoping to run your best. We talked after the meet about enjoying this for a couple of days and then getting ready for regional."
The girls team advanced all four of its relays to regional. Jenna Richards, Maddy Morosky, Whitney Schaefer and Makenzie Bush comprised the first-place 400-meter relay (51.72 seconds), and Schaefer, Tayler Pierce, Hannah Yochem and Bush were on the runner-up 800 relay (1:46.97). Yochem, Liza DeVere, Morosky and Pierce ran on the second-place 1,600 relay (4:15.15), and Yochem, Nina Amicon, DeVere and Emma Hall were on the third-place 3,200 relay (9:58.4).
Bush won the 200 (26.78), and Amicon was first in the 1,600 (5:22.06) and second in the 3,200 (12:03.13). In the high jump, Pierce won (5 feet, 3 inches) and DeVere was fourth (4-10).
"Coach Schoch says to not worry about it (when high-jumping)," Pierce said. "He wants me to keep my speed on the curve and just jump."
Schaefer was runner-up in the 300 hurdles (47.41) and third in the 100 hurdles (15.78). In the 800, DeVere was third (2:30.05) and Yochem placed fourth (2:31.27).
Morosky was fourth in the 400 (1:00.53), as was Sophie Andrew in the pole vault (8-0).
The boys team had three relays move on, led by the runner-up distance relays. The 3,200 relay of Chris Miller, Derek Amicon, Ravi Kumar and Luke Wallace finished in 8:29.72, and the 1,600 relay of Jack Kessler, Luke Lachey, Kumar and Miller had a time of 3:38.67.
Darreion Davis, P.J. Tingler, Wallace and Iain McCormick were third in the 400 relay (45.89).
Lachey won both the 400 (51.76) and high jump (5-10), and Wallace was runner-up in the high jump (5-8).
"I obviously didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I get to go to regional," Lachey said. "I just have to make sure I'm getting my steps right and running a 'j' right (in the high jump)."
Amicon won the 1,600 (4:28.05) and was runner-up in the 3,200 (10:19.94), and Miller was first in the 800 (2:03.43) and fourth in the 1,600 (4:33.62). Collin Haj Abed won both the 110 hurdles (15.86) and 300 hurdles (42.13) and was runner-up in the long jump (19-6).
McCormick won the pole vault (13-0) and was second in the 100 (11.42), and Connor Dobies was runner-up in the 300 hurdles (43.07). Connor McCormick placed third in the pole vault (11-6), and Mathew Taylor was fourth in the discus (125-2).
Baseball team falls in district opener
The baseball team was upset by visiting and ninth-seeded Northridge 3-1 on May 16 in the second round of the Division III district tournament.
Senior outfielder Sam Freeman, junior third baseman Sam Amurgis and junior first baseman Joey Bertani all had singles to account for the team's three hits.
The fourth-seeded Bobcats, who had a first-round bye, finished 19-8 overall for the program's first winning season since 2009.
"I had three key goals in the preseason and the first was improvement," said fifth-year coach Tyler Fitzgerald, whose team finished second (6-2) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind Bexley (7-1). "I wanted to improve our record in the league and overall, and we did that.
"Secondly was achievement. I wanted to win the league this year and we made strides in that direction but didn't quite get there even though we were the only team in the league to beat the champion, Bexley. The last one was commitment. We wanted to get the kids to prioritize baseball and show up, and they gave it everything they could."
Freeman (honorable mention all-league), Jacob Hollar (2B/OF), Jon Pierce (P/OF) and Gavin Van Horn (SS/OF/P) led an eight-player senior class.
Van Horn (first-team all-league) batted .438 with 17 RBI and team highs in runs (38), stolen bases (14) and on-base percentage (.602). On the mound, the Capital recruit was 5-3 with a 0.89 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 24 walks in 47 1/3 innings.
"Gavin increased his batting average by nearly 200 points from last year and he doubled the number of innings he threw for us," Fitzgerald said. "He had a great year for us."
Hollar (second-team all-league) batted .323 with eight RBI, 37 runs and 12 stolen bases. Pierce (honorable mention all-league), an Ohio Christian recruit, was 6-4 with a 3.47 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 35 walks in 42 1/3 innings.
Bertani (first-team all-league) is the top expected returnee after leading the Bobcats in batting average (.511), home runs (3), RBI (44), doubles (10) and slugging percentage (.739). He also scored 26 runs.
Junior Luke Berlin (second-team all-league; P/OF) led the pitching staff with 49 innings while going 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA, 18 strikeouts and seven walks. Junior catcher Jon-Micah Griffith (second-team all-league) batted .352 with 27 RBI and 18 runs.
Junior outfielder Glenn Cribbs batted .295 with 22 RBI and 10 runs, and Amurgis batted .286.
"We graduate eight seniors, and we should have about the same number next year," Fitzgerald said. "Joey was our top hitter and he should be back, and Luke Berlin led us in innings pitched. We'll have to have some of the other guys step up to fill the holes, but I think they can do that."
Softball players earn MSL-Ohio accolades
Junior Claire Bower (P/1B) led the softball team by being named first-team all-MSL-Ohio.
Earning second-team honors were juniors Taylor Fultz (P/OF), Claudette Moul (2B) and Marissa Tose (SS) and sophomore Sami Swartz (C).