It's been a season of firsts for the Grove City girls golf team.

A month after earning their first OCC-Ohio Division title, the Greyhounds qualified for the Division I district tournament for the first time as a team.

Grove City finished third (348) of 12 teams in a sectional Oct. 1 at Mentel Memorial, behind Upper Arlington (297) and Olentangy Liberty (342) and ahead of DeSales (353). The top three teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.

"This is awesome," coach Megan Blaney said. "I'm really proud of them. They've done really well this year. They've stayed positive. They've all improved, so it's really good. ... I was a little nervous. I wasn't really sure what teams were going to come in. I'm happy with us."

At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Gray Course.

Junior Lizzie Saur led Grove City at sectional with a 72, followed by senior Abby Jones with a 78.

"I'm so excited," Jones said. "I've worked so hard for this and to be a part of the program is an honor. We were so nervous. We were sitting there waiting (for the final scores) and we were freaking out."

Sophomore Katie Thrun (95) and freshmen Chloe Seeley (103) and Rachael Jones (121) also competed.

Saur finished third overall behind UA's Julia Rabadam (70) and Emily Hummer (71).

Grove City captured its first league title by finishing first (344) in the fourth and final round of the league tournament Sept. 4 at Mentel Memorial.

The Greyhounds finished 18-2 in league play, ahead of runner-up Pickerington North (16-4), and Saur was OCC-Ohio Player of the Year with a 73.3 average.

Bane, Johnston compete at district

Jeremiah Bane and Ian Johnston represented the boys golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.

Both shot 75 in a sectional Oct. 1 at Darby Creek to earn two of the four individual berths to district. Jonathan Alder's Mychal McKelvey (72) and Hayden Mitchell (75) also advanced.

Grove City finished sixth (314) of 15 teams behind Dublin Coffman (299), Liberty (303), Olentangy Orange (303), Hilliard Darby (311) and Jonathan Alder (313). The top four teams advanced to district.

Nash Linder (82), Trent Ruffing (82) and Connor Estep (83) also competed at sectional for the Greyhounds.

"We played really good golf," coach Eric Joreski said. "(A 314) is a good team score for us. It just was a few strokes short as a team. There is no doubt we are disappointed that we did not advance as a team, but I am proud of the way the guys battled, especially on the back nine. We're obviously really proud of both Ian and Jeremiah."

At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

Football squad to take on North

The football team faces another tough test when it plays host to Pickerington North on Friday, Oct. 11.

The Dawgs fell to 1-5 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Ohio with a 34-12 loss at Lancaster on Oct. 4.

After starting 0-2, North has won three of its last four games to improve to 3-3 overall and 1-0 in the league. The Panthers defeated previously unbeaten Reynoldsburg 21-16 on Oct. 4.

Grove City continues to get hit hard by injuries, as coach Tennyson Varney estimates his team has lost about 10 starters this season.

Junior linebacker Hayden Yerian was the latest loss. He suffered a knee injury against Lancaster.

"I've never had a season like this where I've lost this many kids," Varney said. "We're just piecing it together. We have a lot of j.v. kids playing. They're playing hard. It's just we're competing against good teams."

Jared Knight passed for 81 yards and connected with Justin Catalfina for a 55-yard touchdown against Lancaster. The Dawgs were outgained 372-160.

Blake Stevens (6.5 tackles) and T.J. Franklin (5.5) led the defense.

"I thought our kids played hard," Varney said. "We just have to continue to work and get better. It is what it is. We're filling in with guys who are getting valuable experience and who may not be ready to step out there on a Friday night yet, but those are our guys and we have to be ready to play."

Idris Lawrence had 27 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown to help lead North past Reynoldsburg.

"They're a good football team," Varney said. "They've had a tough schedule. When you have athletes like they have (such as Ohio State commit Jack Sawyer), you're talking like best in the country. We're going to come in and play. They're going to be coached up and play hard. They have a ton of talent, so we'll see."

Girls tennis team wraps up season

The girls tennis team closed its season by competing in a Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Hilliard Bradley.

In singles, senior Emma Smith went 2-1, senior Olivia Norbut went 1-1 and senior Lexi Townsend went 0-1.

Going 1-1 in doubles were the teams of senior Josie Susi and freshman Julie Moore and junior Emma Burke and sophomore Grace Schaffer.

"Everybody but one player made it to the second round," assistant coach Art Susi said. "The girls played really well. They played tough. They played some tough competition. We were real proud with how our girls played."

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district Thursday, Oct. 10, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Reynoldsburg.

"We love our seniors," Susi said. "They've given us a lot of great matches over the last few years."

The Greyhounds finished 11-10 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Lancaster and Reynoldsburg for fourth behind champion Pickerington North (5-0).

Susi called a 3-2 win over Hilliard Darby on Oct. 1 a highlight of the season.

"We finished one game above .500," Susi said. "We were pretty happy that we got that final win against Hilliard Darby. We usually have good matches with them."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Oct. 12 -- OCC-Ohio meet at Lancaster

BOYS SOCCER

*Oct. 10 -- At Pickerington North

Oct. 15 -- Home vs. 24th-seded Gahanna in first round of Division I district tournament. Grove City lost to Gahanna 2-1 on Sept. 24. The Greyhounds are seeded 17th of 52 teams.

GIRLS SOCCER

*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. North

Oct. 19 -- Home vs. 12th-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 42nd-seeded Westland in second round of Division I district tournament. The Greyhounds are seeded 11th of 45 teams.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. North. The Greyhounds lost to the Panthers 25-17, 25-14, 26-24 on Sept. 17.

Oct. 15 -- Home vs. 40th-seeded Logan in first round of Division I district tournament. The Greyhounds are seeded 14th of 49 teams.

*League contest