Grandview Heights Roundup: Cate Stanley's hard work lands her at first singles

Scott Hennen
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Cate Stanley, a former soccer player, has worked her way up to the first-singles court for the Grandview Heights girls tennis team. “Cate is always battling, and she never gives up,” coach Kathy Kinnard said.

Grandview Heights’ Cate Stanley had been a soccer player, but when she entered high school she knew it was time for a change.

Stanley decided to give tennis a try, and she has worked her way up through the Bobcats’ girls program to reach the No. 1 singles court as a senior. Facing some of central Ohio’s top players in the MSL-Ohio Division, she had a 6-10 record before a match against Westland on Oct. 5.

“I was going to play soccer but I realized that wasn’t my thing,” Stanley said. “I heard there were some open courts (in tennis) so I decided to join. I ended up loving it so much.

“I love the team. The girls are my favorite people ever, and I really love the sport. It’s one of the first sports that I tried that I felt confident in and I excelled in.”

Coach Kathy Kinnard said Stanley is a hard-working player who bided her time at the j.v. level through much of her first three seasons, but has made a smooth transition to varsity.

“Cate is always battling, and she never gives up,” said Kinnard, whose team was 7-9 overall after defeating Canal Winchester 3-2 on Sept. 30. “She doesn’t have a power shot, but she plays a lot of balls and forces her opponents into making mistakes. She makes (her opponents) use all of their skills against her.

“She’s in a tough position at No. 1 singles and plays everyone’s best player in our tough league. I’m always concerned that (our No. 1 singles players) will get down on themselves, but Cate doesn’t get discouraged and has been able to maintain herself.”

Stanley finished 1-6 in the MSL-Ohio, leaving her with the same record as the Bobcats in league play. Columbus Academy went 7-0 to win the title.

“It’s kind of scary (at first singles),” Stanley said. “On varsity, you’re playing higher levels of people. It requires a really strong commitment to the team, and it’s tough knowing you’re going up against really tough people. You’re playing the best.

“I just go into some matches thinking that even though I might not win this, I might as well work on other things. Things like winning a game or a point, or seeing how I can hit her serves or hit her shots, or can I get a close shot off of her. I’ve learned that winning isn’t always the most important thing.”

Stanley’s transition to the varsity lineup was aided by the time she spent on the court this summer. With limited options during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, she was a mainstay on the McKinley Park courts.

“As soon as they opened up the courts, I was down here all of the time,” she said. “I really think that helped my game. I was coming down to the courts and playing every other day with a friend or a member of my family.”

Stanley enters the postseason playing singles along with teammates Dylan Dobbs-Euans and Lydia Robertson in a Division II sectional Thursday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 10, at Academy. 

The doubles teams feature Juliana Bongiorno and Kate Kukura, and Audra Naile and Marit Swanson.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 15 and 17 at Academy.

“I like singles because I like having control of the court,” Stanley said. “In doubles, I’m always watching the ball and I like to always be the first one there. It involves a lot of trust in your partner, which is good, but when I play I like being the one making all of the decisions.”

One decision Stanley has made is that she only will play intramural tennis or against friends in college. She has a 4.3 GPA and plans to major in “a math field or something to do with conservation.”

“(Kinnard) has taught me to play hard and have fun,” Stanley said. “That means even if I feel miserable after a match, I need to remember that I did the best that I could do. Any time you play tennis, it’s about the passion and fighting for every point and to keep battling throughout the match.”

Boys golf team

advances to district 

The boys golf team finished sixth in a Division III sectional Sept. 29 at Darby Creek to advance to the district tournament Thursday, Oct. 8, at Denison Golf Club. 

The top six teams qualified for district, from which the championship team and the top golfer not on that team will advance to state Oct. 16 and 17 at NorthStar.

Grandview sophomore Colin Cleary shot 79 at sectional to finish as runner-up to medalist Carsten Judge (73) of Wellington.

“Colin was 1-over (par) on the back nine, going 42-37 for us,” coach Kevin Richards said. “I think he could have shot a 75 or 76. He was playing that well. He four-putted the second hole and then played incredibly well after that."

The Bobcats totaled 370. The other district qualifiers were Worthington Christian (330), Centerburg (340), Fairbanks (340), Newark Catholic (348) and Wellington (368).

Senior Brendan Cleary (89) was next for Grandview, followed by junior Jack Greer (92) and sophomores Jacob Larson (110) and Nick Hayes (113).

“Brendan is our only senior, and it’s great that he gets a chance to play at district,” Richards said. “It’s a really cool thing for these kids to make it to district, and they’re excited for that chance.”

The Bobcats last reached district in 2016 when they finished second (347) at Apple Valley behind Newark Catholic (334).

Amicon, Palmisciano

take second at Jerome

Senior Derek Amicon and freshman Madeline Palmisciano led the boys and girls cross country teams by finishing second in the group A varsity race in the Celtic Clash on Sept. 26 at Dublin Jerome.

Amicon, the defending Division III state champion, was second in 15 minutes, 47.02 seconds, behind Fredericktown’s Thomas Caputo (15:34.05). The Bobcats finished sixth (163 points) of 11 teams behind champion Fredericktown (42).

Freshman Denison Murphy (fourth, 16:19.92), freshman Noah Curfman (21st, 17:36.5), senior P.J. Tingler (77th, 20:43.5) and freshman Nathan Reese (81st, 20:57.55) also scored.

Palmisciano (18:55.95) was second behind Jonathan Alder’s Morgan Hicks (18:36.42) as the Bobcats were third (136) of 12 teams behind Jonathan Alder (54) and Buckeye Valley (55).

Sophomore Greta Tew (19th, 21:05.84), junior Nina Brown (29th, 22:10.24), freshman Jillian Curfman (32nd, 22:30.61) and junior Sosi Mahdasian (55th, 24:11.78) also scored.

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