Hartley Roundup: Girls runners primed for strong season

JARROD ULREY
julrey@thisweeknews.com
Junior Rebecca Tepper is among the top returnees for the Hartley girls cross country team and second-year coach Jim McKay.

A strong top of the lineup, which includes a key addition and the return to health of a program veteran, has the Hartley girls cross country team excited for its prospects this fall.

Junior Rebecca Tepper, who was 28th (20 minutes, 41.7 seconds) in last year's Division II district meet to miss advancing to the regional by four spots, has combined with freshman Piper Minnich to give the Hawks a strong one-two punch.

Senior Ellie Kitsmiller has battled injuries the past two seasons but is off to a solid start, and classmate Megan Luallen is another veteran in the lineup.

"We've got everybody from our top seven from last year back and three really good freshmen who have come in," second-year coach Jim McKay said.

Hartley, which is host to the Central Ohio Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Three Creeks Metro Park, opened Aug. 29 with a runner-up finish (64 points) behind Watterson (60) in the nine-team section 1 race of the Newark Catholic Invitational. Then on Sept. 5 in the Gold race of the Westerville North Classic, the Hawks were third (92) of eight teams behind Jonathan Alder (51) and Teays Valley (86).

Senior Pailyn Groene and sophomores Delaney McKay and Jackie Radous also are key returnees. Senior Anna Woods has been out with an injury but is expected to return.

Sophomore Anna Torrell and freshmen Natalie Dinovo and Katie Morrow are others looking to contribute.

"Rebecca Tepper was second in the CCL last year and is a very good runner who's in the best shape of her life," coach McKay said. "With Ellie Kitsmiller, it's just so exciting to have her back because she's a really hard worker and a talented girl. She's really coming on."

Senior duo leading boys runners

The boys cross country team has two of its top competitors back from last season in seniors Luke Vautour and Eayuel Gebrtsadik.

Vautour finished 18th (17:33.2) in last year's Division II, district 2 meet to miss advancing to regional by two spots.

"Luke and Eayuel are two of the hardest workers I've ever coached," coach McKay said.

Senior Luke Brandewie, who was the team's No. 3 runner most of last year, is out for the season with an injury.

Hartley finished eighth (205) in the 10-team Gold race of the Westerville North Classic behind champion Olentangy (41) as Vautour was eighth (17:29.1) and Gebrtsadik placed 14th (18:04).

Junior Simon Sybert is the only other key returnee.

Freshman Nathan Ogden is the team's No. 3 runner.

Senior Zach Adams, juniors Brighton Chen, Luke Eschmeyer and Blake Franz and freshman Andrew Bassetti are others battling for spots. Eshmeyer is a transfer from Gahanna who missed last year with an injury and is eligible for the entire season.

"We've got Luke Vautour back and he's been phenomenal," coach McKay said. "He's got the 11th-fastest time in school history and has put a lot of miles in in the offseason. We also have Eayuel Gebrtsadik, who is an incredibly hard worker and right behind Luke. We have a couple really good freshmen who came in, Nathan Ogden and Andrew Bassetti, and they're going to have to step up but they're both very talented."

Field hockey team 'eager' to achieve

The field hockey team continued a gradual climb last season when it finished 5-12 after winning two games in 2017 and three in 2018.

For that improvement to continue this fall, the Hawks will have to grow up quickly.

There are only two seniors in the program and Hartley has nine new starters, but fourth-year coach Bridget Ebenhack believes the players have the right approach.

"We have a very young, very eager group of girls," Ebenhack said. "I hope that we can continue to make progress and come together as a unit. This is a competitive group and I think as we gain experience and grow confidence, we'll start to see success."

Hartley was 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division after losing to Thomas Worthington 4-0 on Sept. 4.

Junior Caitlin Abel, who had four goals last season, and senior Annie Hofherr are returning forwards.

The only other senior is defender Gracie Wolfinger.

Junior Sophia Kanowsky (midfielder) and sophomores Marie Burkhart (forward) and Jenna Ryan (midfielder) are other returnees.

Freshman Brooke Burchfield is the goalie.

Also looking to contribute are juniors Alex Elmelegy (forward), Taryn Jones (defender), Rylan King (defender), Caroline Moran (defender) and Katie Wilson (midfielder), sophomores Betale Getahun (defender), Grace Goodwin (midfielder) and Jamie Zang (midfielder) and freshmen Rachel Fadel (forward) and Maggie Taylor (midfielder).

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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At a glance

CROSS COUNTRY

*Coach: Jim McKay, second season

*Top athletes: Boys -- Eayuel Gebrtsadik, Nathan Ogden, Simon Sybert and Luke Vautour; Girls -- Ellie Kitsmiller, Megan Luallen, Piper Minnich and Rebecca Tepper

*Key losses: Boys -- Adam Dinovo, Cameron Johnson and Chase Orndoff; Girls -- Katelyn Sheely

*2019 CCL standings: Boys -- Watterson (35), Hartley (46), St. Charles (59), DeSales (71), Ready (155); Girls -- Watterson (37), DeSales (38), Hartley (53), Ready (119)

*2019 postseason: Boys -- Seventh at district; Girls -- Eighth at district

FIELD HOCKEY

*Coach: Bridget Ebenhack, fourth season

*Top players: Caitlin Abel, Annie Hofherr, Sophia Kanowsky, Jenna Ryan and Gracie Wolfinger

*Key losses: Alyssa Carfagna, Tori Garey, Samantha Hanson, Mia Innes and Audrey Ryan

*Last season: 5-12 overall

*2019 COFHL-East standings: Columbus Academy (8-0), Watterson (7-1), New Albany (6-2), Worthington Kilbourne (5-3), Granville (3-5), Hartley (2-6), Bexley (1-5-2), Lancaster (1-6-1), Columbus School for Girls (1-6-1)

*2019 postseason: Lost to Olentangy Orange 1-0 in first round of district tournament