Grandview Heights Roundup: Versatile P.J. Tingler giving all to Bobcats boys track squad

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Senior P.J. Tingler has been a versatile performer for the Grandview Heights boys track and field team. Coach Brian Schoch said Tingler "loves the sport and can run about anything from the 100 to the 800 meters, both hurdles and the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays."

Grandview Heights boys track and field coach Brian Schoch guided the Bobcats to three consecutive championships in invitational meets heading into the MSL-Ohio Division meet, which began May 11 and concludes May 14 at Whitehall.

Part of winning the bigger meets comes from depth and versatility, and Schoch said few of his athletes are as versatile as P.J. Tingler.

The senior is a key component in sprints, middle distance and relays for the Bobcats, who will look to have continued success when the postseason begins with the Division III district meet May 18, 19 and 22 at Granville.

“P.J. has a great energy and is a great teammate,” said Schoch, who also coaches the girls team. “He’s a guy that takes track seriously but in a light-hearted way. He’s improved so much from the time he was a freshman to now.

“He loves the sport and can run about anything from the 100 to the 800 meters, both hurdles and the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays. He’s shown that if you stick with it, you can improve so much.”

Tingler likes the team aspect of being the member of a relay, especially the 400 relay. He has been resting a hamstring injury in order to be healthy for the postseason, but he joined Tristin Pierce, Mikael Black and Henry Murphy to win the event in 46.37 seconds in the Bobcat Booster Invitational on April 23.

“I run in anything from the (open) 100 to the (open) 800,” Tingler said. “I’m the anchor of the (400 relay) and they’ve been testing me in the (3,200 relay). I much prefer the (400 relay). It’s shorter.

“I love anchoring the (400 relay). I have been doing it for four years now in high school, so I can pretty much do it in my sleep. There’s one straightaway and then all of the fans at the finish line.”

Tingler fell in love with track when he started running in the eighth grade.

“Track’s my favorite sport,” he said. “There are so many things you can do. It’s not discriminatory against anyone. If you’re bigger you can throw, or if you’re better at jumping you can be in the high jump or long jump. Then there’s the hurdles, the sprints, there’s distance. It’s awesome.”

Tingler liked track so much, he gave up football to join the cross country program as a sophomore. Despite being a sprinter at heart, he worked his way into becoming a distance runner.

“I went out for cross country partly to help with my endurance, but also so I’d have a fall sport,” Tingler said. “I played football for eight years and then I wanted an alternative, so I went out for cross country. I can’t believe that I lasted three whole years. That helped with the 400 for the (1,600 relay). Now the (400 relay) and (800 relay) are so easy.”

Schoch said the move definitely helped with Tingler’s versatility and helped him work harder.

“P.J. runs cross country, but he’s more of a speed guy,” Schoch said. “His form has gotten a lot better as he’s gotten older. When you watch his stride as a freshman and see it now, it’s so much different.

“We had optional workouts in January and February and he was there for all of them. This season in particular, he’s had the mindset of working to get better, and you could see his improvement even before we officially started practice.”

Tingler has a 3.7 GPA and plans to attend Columbus State before transferring to Ohio State to study political science and business.

He wants to make the most of his final season.

“I’ve learned that we have to take things by the moment,” he said. “We didn’t have last season (because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic), but we have this season. This is my last time, my last season. I better give my all every practice and every meet. You have to enjoy the little things.”

Softball team wins two

more league contests

The softball team won two more MSL-Ohio games, defeating Wellington 21-6 on April 28 and 16-6 on April 30 in a pair of five-inning contests to improve to 3-6 in league play.

The Bobcats still have a league game with Columbus Academy that was postponed May 3. They were 5-16 overall after defeating Briggs 8-3 on May 6.

Through 20 games, Emma Murphy led in batting average (.489), home runs (2), RBI (18) and on-base percentage (.724). She also had scored 20 runs and had seven doubles, four triples and 12 stolen bases. 

Aylish O’Harra was batting .462 with six RBI, 10 runs and six stolen bases.

Sami Swartz led in runs (27), triples (5) and stolen bases (20) while batting .431 with 12 RBI and seven doubles. Eryn O’Harra was hitting .386 with nine RBI and three runs, and Maggie Lyon was hitting .365 with 14 RBI, 10 runs, five doubles and five stolen bases.

The Bobcats were seeded 16th of 18 teams in the Division III district tournament and opened in the second round May 12 at sixth-seeded Johnstown. The winner plays second-seeded North Union or 18th-seeded Africentric in a district semifinal May 17 at the home field of the better seed.

Grandview's Hayden Roemer returns the ball during a first-doubles match with Connor Hayes against Wellington on April 27.

Boys tennis team

set for sectional 

The boys tennis team plays in a Division II sectional May 13 and 15 at Academy.

Kieren Bode, Max Lauer and Tyler Schmied will play singles for the Bobcats, who were 10-3 overall after defeating Jonathan Alder 3-2 on May 6.

Connor Hayes and Hayden Roemer are one doubles team, and Jake Leach and Adam Narcelles also will compete together in the postseason.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 20 and 22 at Academy.

The Bobcats finished 3-3 in the MSL-Ohio after losing 5-0 to Wellington on April 27.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen