Grandview Heights Roundup: Derek Amicon shifts cross country training into overdrive

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Grandview Heights' Derek Amicon competes in last year's Division III state cross country meet on the way to winning the championship. Amicon won his second consecutive MSL-Ohio title Oct. 17 at Buckeye Valley.

Derek Amicon entered the Division III postseason believing the additional foot speed that he gained this season would make a difference.

The senior Grandview Heights boys cross country standout continued to hone his skills after winning the individual state championship last fall. His quest to defend that title began in the district meet Oct. 23 at Hilliard Darby.

“Earlier in the season (my training) was about the same (as last year) but I started to do some more speed work, and I’m a lot faster,” said Amicon, who holds the program record of 15 minutes, 36.6 seconds set at district last season at Darby. “I think I have a lot more foot speed this year. I’m significantly faster than last year.

“Foot speed is important at the end of the race, but that’s not the only part. Foot speed translates to the whole race. If you are fast on your feet, you are fast in long distance, short distance, whatever it is. It helps out-kicking at the end of the race.”

Amicon won his second consecutive MSL-Ohio Division title Oct. 17 at Buckeye Valley in 16:20.4, finishing ahead of runner-up Luke Nester (16:38.1) of Columbus Academy. He said it was a good start for what he wanted to accomplish during the postseason.

“It was between me and Luke, and I have raced him since the seventh grade,” Amicon said. “That's a fun course. It’s not super-fast, but it’s fun in the woods there. The two of us wanted to see what kind of time we could put up and I think it went well.”

Last fall, Amicon won league, district and regional titles before finishing first at state in 15:42.5 at National Trail Raceway.

Coach Chris Szabo said Amicon has continued to improve.

“Derek’s a year stronger, and he’s doing things he wasn’t doing last year,” Szabo said. “Will he be faster? That will depend on the weather and the competition.

“He ran a smart race (in the league meet). He ran to win. He ran a controlled race and stayed with the top guys. He stayed with Luke Nester and then picked up the pace to see if (Nester) could stay with him."

The boys team finished third (64 points) in the league behind Bexley (35) and Academy (50). Denison Murphy (third, 17:22.4) was next for the Bobcats, followed by Noah Curfman (14th, 18:36.9), Ian Matney (17th, 18:52.9), P.J. Tingler (29th, 20:09.6), Brady Long (34th, 20:52.6) and Les Campbell (37th, 21:55.8).

The girls team also placed third (78) behind Bexley (30) and Buckeye Valley (54). Freshman Madeline Palmisciano (10th, 21:07.6) led Grandview, followed by Greta Tew (16th, 21:49.9), Nina Brown (18th, 22:37.1), Jillian Curfman (19th, 23:07.4), Sosi Mahdasian (22nd, 23:23.6) and Eleanor Kukura (28th, 24:04.7).

“As a team, the girls did what we expected them to do,” Szabo said. “Maddie didn’t have her best race, but she’s a freshman and is gaining more experience. It was her first league meet.

“I think she’s in a good mindset. (The league meet) was a good learning experience against different competition.”

The boys competed in the district 1 meet and the girls were in district 2. The top three teams and top 12 individuals in both races advanced to regional Saturday, Oct. 31, at Pickerington North.

The top five teams and top 20 individuals at regional qualify for state Nov. 7 at Fortress Obetz.

Yochem, Sanzo leading

girls volleyball team

Taylor Sanzo and Hannah Yochem led the girls volleyball team into the Division III district tournament.

The eighth-seeded Bobcats were 14-8 before playing 10th-seeded Fairbanks on Oct. 24 in the second round.

Through 22 matches, Yochem led the team in kills (318) and digs (200) and also had 42 aces and 11 blocks. Sanzo had a team-leading 586 assists to go with 123 digs and 56 aces.

Addi Henn led with 64 aces and had 154 digs, and Rachel Hartman led with 38 blocks.

The Grandview-Fairbanks winner played in a district semifinal Oct. 28 against second-seeded Northridge or 18th-seeded Marion Elgin.

The district final is Saturday, Oct. 31, at the home of the better seed. Possible opponents include third-seeded Cardington and seventh-seeded Worthington Christian.

DeVere, Bechtel lead

boys soccer team

Will DeVere and Adam Bechtel were the top scorers for the boys soccer team as it entered the Division III district tournament.

The second-seeded Bobcats were 9-3-4 before playing 12th-seeded Ready or 13th-seeded West Jefferson on Oct. 26 in the second round.

DeVere had 11 goals and two assists through 16 games, and Bechtel had seven goals and three assists. Kai Iisaka had four goals and seven assists, and Keegan Kearney had five goals and three assists.

The second-round winner advanced to a district semifinal Oct. 28 against seventh-seeded Tree of Life or ninth-seeded Fisher Catholic.

The district final is Saturday, Oct. 31, at the home of the better seed. Top-seeded Worthington Christian is a possible opponent.

Senior Lindsey Bertani switched from being a center-midfielder to a defensive center-back, and that helped spark the Grandview Heights girls soccer team's run to a Division III district final Oct. 31 against Columbus Academy.

Top-seeded girls

team opens district

The top-seeded girls soccer team had an 11-day layoff before opening the Division III district tournament against 10th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek on Oct. 24 in the second round.

The Bobcats improved to 11-2-3 by defeating Tree of Life 9-1 on Oct. 13. Tayler Pierce had three goals, and Lucia Mastroianni and Zoey Miller both scored twice.

The second-round winner advanced to a district semifinal Oct. 27 against fourth-seeded Fairbanks or fifth-seeded Fisher Catholic.

The district final is Saturday, Oct. 31, at the home of the better seed. Second-seeded Columbus School for Girls, third-seeded Wellington and sixth-seeded Academy are possible opponents.

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