When Grove City junior golfer Lizzie Saur tees off in the Division I state tournament Friday, Oct. 18, at Ohio State's Gray Course, she will be making history.
Saur is the girls team's first state qualifier, earning the berth by carding a 78 in the district tournament Oct. 8 at New Albany Links. Mount Vernon's Maggie Williams (74) earned the district's other individual-qualifying berth to state.
The state tournament will conclude Saturday, Oct. 19.
Grove City's program was formed in 2013.
"I'm super excited," Saur said. "I'm glad our program is getting better and better each year. I'm happy I have the opportunity to go (to state). ... Most importantly, I want to enjoy the experience, do well and have fun."
Grove City finished sixth (374) in the nine-team district tournament behind state-qualifiers New Albany (305) and Upper Arlington (314).
"The conditions were tough, but I'm still happy with my score," Saur said. "The greens have a lot of slope in them and you just can't miss many shots because of all the trouble around the greens."
Coach Megan Blaney said Saur will play a practice round Thursday, Oct. 17, at Ohio State to help her prepare for state.
"I just hope that she experiences the state tournament for what it is," Blaney said. "I hope she has fun and I hope she plays freely, plays loosely and just really enjoys herself and the moment because she's earned it. She deserves to be there."
Also competing at district were senior Abby Jones (87), freshmen Chloe Seeley (101) and Rachael Jones (108) and sophomore Katie Thurn (122).
Saur also helped the Greyhounds capture their first OCC-Ohio Division title. She earned league Player of the Year honors with a 73.3 average.
Girls soccer team captures league title
The girls soccer team earned its first league title since 1983 with a 4-3 win over visiting Pickerington North on Oct. 10.
The Greyhounds went 4-0-1 in the OCC-Ohio to finish ahead of runner-up Gahanna (3-0-2).
Grove City tied Gahanna at 2 on Sept. 24.
"Thirty-six years is a long time between league titles," coach Josh Keller said. "We're accepting it for what it is, but the team is focused and wants to make a deep run in the (Division I district) tournament. It's going to be difficult."
Anjuli Anderson, Kennedy Fulks, Natalie Querry and Alexia Jones each scored against North, and goalkeeper Madison Evans had two saves.
"I work in a really good community," Keller said. "The school has a lot of spirit. The crowd was fantastic. It was big (and) it was loud. It really helped the team. It was a great day to be a Greyhound."
The win was the first for the Greyhounds in the series, which dates to 2006. The Panthers now lead 10-1-2, with the teams playing to 1-all ties in 2011 and 2015.
Grove City, which is 11-4-1 overall, will play host to 12th-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 42nd-seeded Westland in the second round of the Division I district tournament Saturday, Oct. 19. The winner plays fourth-seeded Westerville North or 44th-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed.
The 11th-seeded Greyhounds took a first-round bye.
"I hope (the league title) gives us more momentum going into the tournament," Keller said.
Football team to visit Reynoldsburg
The football team will visit Reynoldsburg on Thursday, Oct. 17, looking to end a four-game losing streak.
The Dawgs are 1-6 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio after losing to visiting Pickerington North 38-13 on Oct. 11.
Reynoldsburg, which is 5-2 overall and 0-2 in the league, lost 29-28 at previously winless Gahanna on Oct. 11 for its second consecutive loss.
The Raiders were projected to be fifth in Division I, Region 3 this week. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
Zach Nelson rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries to lead the Dawgs against North. He had touchdown runs of 64 and 15 yards.
Blake Stevens added 57 yards on seven carries and Cole Crager had 48 yards on three carries.
Grove City, which trailed 24-0 at halftime, managed 277 total yards.
Michael Whatley passed for 198 yards and two touchdowns and MarcAnthony Gray rushed for 110 yards on 16 carries to lead the Raiders against Gahanna.
Runners compete in league meet
The cross country teams competed in the OCC-Ohio meet Oct. 12, with the boys finishing sixth (173) behind Pickerington North (33), Gahanna (36), host Lancaster (78), Pickerington Central (104) and Reynoldsburg (110).
Brayden Smith led the Greyhounds, finishing 27th in 17 minutes, 39.9 seconds. David Shapoval was 43rd (18:35.1), followed by Devin Dawson (47th, 19:09.1), Bryan Ransburgh (50th, 19:46.6) and Tyler Fulk (52nd, 20:21).
The girls finished sixth (172) behind Gahanna (40), Lancaster (47), North (76), Central (92) and Reynoldsburg (113). Lindsay Donaldson was 36th (22:21.7), followed by Laney Hoyt (38th, 23:34.1), Peyton Zelenak (44th, 24:52), Allison Walker (47th, 25:40.2) and Laura Cruz (48th, 25:50.7).
Boys golf season ends at district
Senior Ian Johnston and junior Jeremiah Bane closed the boys golf season by competing in the Division I district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Johnston tied for 26th (78) and Bane tied for 49th (83) of 72 golfers.
"Both wished they could have played a little better than they did," coach Eric Joreski said. "They just struggled in getting any momentum going during their rounds. However, for each of them to advance to district in back-to-back years says so much about the work and effort they have put into their games over the past few years."
Bane led the Greyhounds in the four-round OCC-Ohio tournament, earning league Player of the Year honors with a 76.25 average.
Johnston also was first-team all-league, and sophomores Nash Linder and Trent Ruffing were honorable mention all-league.
Junior Thatcher Wilson and sophomore Jackson Ware also are eligible to return.
"We had a tremendous year," Joreski said. "We broke the school record for number of victories (155), set the school record for low 18-hole team score (299), won two invitationals and finished second in the league. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but we have turned the page to what we need to work on to get better as individual golfers and as a team."
Grove City went 14-6 in the league to finish second behind Pickerington Central (16-4).
Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City cross country, boys soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 19 -- Boys: Division I, district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby. The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North. Girls: Division I, district 3 meet at Darby. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at North.
Oct. 15 -- Played 24th-seeded Gahanna in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays 19th-seeded Olentangy or 46th-seeded Newark in second round Oct. 17 at home of the better seed. Winner plays 10th-seeded Olentangy Berlin, 11th-seeded Upper Arlington or 50th-seeded Franklin Heights in district semifinal Oct. 22 at home of the better seed. The Greyhounds are seeded 17th.
Oct. 15 -- Played 40th-seeded Logan in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at ninth-seeded Pickerington North in second round Oct. 17. Winner plays 11th-seeded Big Walnut, 12th-seeded Dublin Coffman or 38th-seeded Westerville South in district semifinal Oct. 23 at Central Crossing. The Greyhounds are seeded 14th.