In his 24th season as coach of the Grove City gymnastics team, Mark Hartley has a rare luxury: a deep roster.
The Greyhounds have 21 athletes, and several have varsity experience.
"This is the biggest team we've had since I've been coach here," Hartley said. "It makes it a little more fun. We have big numbers, it's a good group and they all get along. We have a lot of first-time gymnasts. Our goal is to make sure everyone has a chance to compete on something this year and still stay as competitive as we can with our normal rotations."
Senior Anna Stoll led the Greyhounds at district last season by finishing 33rd in the all-around (32.55), and sophomore Emma Claypool was 60th in the all-around (30.5).
Senior Bailey Bennett, another returnee, and Stoll are being asked to provide leadership for the numerous additions to the roster.
"It's sad because it's our last season, but I'm happy because I'm so proud of myself," Bennett said. "I want to be the best I can be, happy with what we do and learn to have fun while doing it."
Also back are senior Madison Pepper, juniors Cayley Donohoe, Gena Kuhn and Sophie Legue and sophomores Breanna Dunn, Marisa Rock, Makala Stroud and Morgan Waterman.
Freshman Emma Weaver, who has club-level experience, was expected to contribute but is out after breaking her right tibia during practice.
Other gymnasts are seniors Makayla Miller and Jenna Shoaf, juniors Klaine McAllister, Savanna Rudacille and Kamya Wilson, sophomore Madelyn Boyden and freshmen Natalie Foltz, Jenna Neff and Maddie Tarbutton.
The Greyhounds opened Dec. 4 by finishing third (123.85) in a seven-team meet behind first-place and host Hilliard Darby (128.925). They finished ahead of OCC-Central Division rivals Central Crossing (117.025), Hilliard Davidson (115.25) and Franklin Heights (98.95).
Grove City finished eighth (123.625) in the 17-team Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 14 at Darby behind champion Dublin Jerome (135.675). Stoll was ninth on balance beam (8.5).
"It looks like everyone's numbers are up, which is really good for the sport," Hartley said. "Three years ago, we had five or six girls coming to meets."
The Greyhounds are looking to improve on their 14th-place finish (126.5) at district last season and qualify a gymnast for state for the first time since 2015.
"I'm hoping after my last meet of the season I really wrapped things up and gone out and left my best things on the mat," Stoll said.
Boys coach pleased with improvement
Boys basketball coach Eric Saxton is happy with his team's progress.
The Greyhounds were 3-2 overall before playing Groveport on Dec. 17. They are 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio.
"We are getting better each day and that is a tribute to how hard our kids work," Saxton said. "We just need to find more consistency. We have guys that score a lot one game and the next game they don't, or score the majority of their points in one half. We also need to get some scoring from our bench players."
Alex Coffey scored 22 points and Brock Waits added 13 in a 66-54 league loss at Reynoldsburg on Dec. 13.
Waits and Cole Crager each scored 19 points in an 88-50 win over visiting Franklin Heights on Dec. 10.
Girls team matches last year's win total
The girls basketball team has reached last season's win total, as it was 3-4 overall before playing Groveport on Dec. 17.
The Greyhounds finished 3-20 last season.
Grove City fell to 1-2 in the OCC-Ohio with a 70-42 loss to visiting Reynoldsburg on Dec. 13. Madison Grube led the Greyhounds with 17 points.
Ellie Pollock-Ballard scored 15 points in a 48-30 loss at DeSales on Dec. 12.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 20 -- At Gahanna
*Dec. 20 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Dec. 20 -- Washington Court House Miami Trace at Trics Gymnastics
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 20 -- Grove City Christian, Ready and Teays Valley at Pickaway County YMCA
Dec. 21 -- Mount Vernon Small-School Invitational at Kenyon College