Grandview Heights Roundup: Runners satisfied with performance at state

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Grandview sophomore Greta Tew is hugged by freshman teammate Maddie Palmisciano after the Division III state cross country meet Nov. 7 at Fortress Obetz. The Bobcats girls team reached state for the first time since 2012.

Derek Amicon wasn’t able to repeat as the Division III boys cross country state champion, but the Grandview Heights senior was able to take some peace of mind away from his final high school race.

On Nov. 7 at Fortress Obetz, Amicon placed third in 15 minutes, 43.4 seconds, finishing behind Fredericktown’s Thomas Caputo (15:31.5) and Belpre’s Eli Fullerton (15:36.4). The top three were the same as in the regional at Pickerington North a week earlier.

Amicon won the state race last fall in 15:42.5 at National Trail Raceway.

“The goal was to stick with (Caputo and Fullerton), and I knew that meant I had to stick with that pack,” said Amicon, who was running at state with freshman teammate Denison Murphy while the Grandview girls team also competed. “It was hard in the middle. I was struggling, but I was able to stick with that pack.”

Amicon burst ahead of Canfield South Range’s Spencer Bush (15:43.9) at the finish line.

“Then they started to break away and I didn’t quit but they were kicking it, and I knew they really wanted it bad,” the Cornell recruit said. “I really just made a point of getting third. I wouldn’t have been happy with fourth or fifth.”

Murphy, who finished 54th (16:51.5), said he was pleased with his performance.

“I came out and thought I was slow and then I saw that I was running the time that I wanted,” Murphy said. “Derek told me to enjoy it and not to worry too much because it’s my first year and that I had the opportunity to do well.

“This is a really good experience. Hopefully in the coming years we can come as a team.”

Grandview freshman Denison Murphy sprints to the finish during the Division III state meet Nov. 7 at Fortress Obetz. Murphy finished 54th.

The girls finished 18th (432 points) of 20 teams behind champion West Liberty-Salem (55). Freshman Madeline Palmisciano (93rd, 20:59.9) and sophomore Greta Tew (110th, 21:20.8) led the Bobcats, who were competing at state as a team for the first time since 2012.

“Coach (Chris Szabo) told us to have fun because it was a great opportunity for us,” Tew said. “We didn’t have anything at stake and our team was just really happy to be here. I tried to have fun and go race.”

Junior Nina Brown (120th, 21:35.5) and freshmen Jillian Curfman (151st, 22:35.3) and Eleanor Kukura (158th, 22:57.7) also raced, while junior Sosi Mahdashian did not compete because of shin splints.

“We were just excited that we had the experience to go to state,” Brown said. “It was a great year even though it was hard in the beginning because we didn’t know that we would have a whole season. The team is really tight and it’s been my best season for sure.”

The girls team qualified for state by earning the fifth and final qualifying spot from regional with 183 points. The boys team just missed advancing, finishing sixth (165) at regional behind fifth-place Galion Northmor (163).

“The girls have a young team with no seniors, so they’re all coming back,” said Szabo, who completed her sixth season. “(The trip to state was) just a really good experience for them. The boys were only two points away from qualifying, so maybe they can be here next year.”

Junior forward Jack Mollette and the Grandview boys soccer team saw their season end with a 2-1 loss at Wheelersburg on Nov. 7 in a Division III regional final. The Bobcats finished 13-4-4.

Boys soccer squad

continued strong play

The boys soccer team fell short of reaching a Division III state semifinal, falling 2-1 at Wheelersburg on Nov. 7 in a regional final.

The Pirates scored a pair of goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half to knock off the Bobcats, who were seventh in the final state poll and finished 13-4-4 overall.

Junior midfielder Connor Hayes scored off an assist from sophomore midfielder Gunnar Szynal, and junior goalie Owen Carter had two saves.

“We’re disappointed, but you have to give credit to Wheelersburg,” fifth-year coach James Gerdes said. “For whatever reason we came out flat in the second half and (the Pirates) seized control with a couple of goals six minutes apart. We lost our focus and struggled to find our rhythm after that.”

Senior midfielder Adam Bechtel and senior forward Kai Iisaka had one goal and one assist apiece to help lead Grandview past host Berlin Hiland 4-1 on Nov. 4 in a regional semifinal.

Sophomore forward Will DeVere and junior forward Jack Mollette also scored, and Carter had seven saves.

The second-seeded Bobcats won their seventh consecutive district championship Oct. 31 by defeating top-seeded and host Worthington Christian 1-0 (4-2 shootout), and they tied Whitehall for second (4-2) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind the Warriors (5-1).

Bechtel (11 goals, 6 assists) and Iisaka (9 goals, 9 assists) were first-team all-district and all-league. Defender Johnnie Herlihy (second-team all-league) and forward Henry Murphy (5 goals, 3 assists) rounded out the senior class.

“The seniors were a really good group and they had a nice mix of personalities,” Gerdes said. “It all came back to good leaders that Adam and Kai were for us. We had some inexperience back but we got better and better as the season went on.”

DeVere (second-team all-league) had a team-high 15 goals along with two assists, and Hayes had eight goals and seven assists. Junior midfielder Keegan Kearney and sophomore forward Danny Claypool both had five goals and four assists.

Carter had 91 saves and 10 shutouts. Juniors Collin Haj Abed (forward) and Joe Kessler (defender) also were starters.

“We have basically our whole lineup expected back,” Gerdes said. “The boys already were talking about coming back next year and going further.”

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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CROSS COUNTRY

MSL-Ohio standings: Boys — Bexley (35), Columbus Academy (50), Grandview (64), Buckeye Valley (87), Worthington Christian (131) Whitehall (181), Wellington (189); Girls — Bexley (30), Buckeye Valley (54), Grandview (78), Columbus School for Girls (99), Academy (104), Whitehall (170)

Seniors lost: Boys — Derek Amicon, Brady Long and P.J. Tingler; Girls — None

Key returnees: Boys — Noah Curfman, Ian Matney and Denison Murphy; Girls — Nina Brown, Eleanor Kukura, Sosi Mahdashian, Greta Tew and Madeline Palmisciano

Postseason: Boys — Second (65) at district behind Mount Gilead (39), sixth (165) at regional behind champion Mount Gilead (79); Girls — Second (78) at district behind Liberty Union (76), fifth (183) at regional behind champion Mount Gilead (58), 18th (432) at state behind champion West Liberty-Salem (55)

BOYS SOCCER

Record: 13-4-4 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Worthington Christian (5-1), Grandview and Whitehall (4-2), Academy (2-2-2), Buckeye Valley (2-4), Bexley and Wellington (both 1-4-1)

Seniors lost: Adam Bechtel, Johnny Herlihy, Kai Iisaka and Henry Murphy

Key returnees: Owen Carter, Danny Claypool, Will DeVere, Collin Haj Abed, Connor Hayes, Keegan Kearney, Joe Kessler and Jack Mollette

Postseason: Defeated Ready 13-0; def. Fisher Catholic 9-0; def. Worthington Christian 1-0 (4-2 shootout); def. Berlin Hiland 4-1; lost to Wheelersburg 2-1 in Division III regional final