Grandview Heights Roundup: Balance lifts Bobcats boys track team to MSL-Ohio title

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Derek Amicon won the 1,600 and was second in the 800 as the Grandview Heights boys track and field team captured the MSL-Ohio title May 14 at Whitehall. Amicon also ran on the runner-up 3,200 relay and third-place 1,600 relay.

The Grandview Heights boys track and field team used muscle and depth to win its first league championship since 2017.

The Bobcats scored 176 points to outdistance runner-up Bexley (109) in the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 11 and 14 at Whitehall. Collin Haj Abed won three events and Owen Billiter and Matthew Taylor dominated in the throws to help secure the victory.

“To score that many points, you need a lot of points from a lot of different areas,” coach Brian Schoch said. “We had a big day in the field, and we were able to score a lot across the board in the (running) finals on the second day.”

Haj Abed won the long jump (20 feet, 8 1/4 inches) and the 110-meter hurdles (14.93 seconds) and 300 hurdles (41.01). He joined Tristin Pierce, Henry Murphy and P.J. Tingler on the second-place 400 relay (45.45).

“I had a (personal record) in the 110 (hurdles), and I was really happy to get below 15 (seconds) in that,” Haj Abed said. “I’m getting closer to the (program) record (of 14.8) by Jordan Beight (in 2017). I would like to get that.”

Billiter won the discus (127-6) and was third in the shot put (38-8 1/2), and Taylor was runner-up in the discus (125-5) and shot put (39-7 1/2).

Connor McCormick (13-0) and Murphy (10-0) took the top two spots in the pole vault, and Jason Reasor won the high jump (5-8) while Adam Bechtel was third (5-6).

“We put up a big number on the first day and the second was equally impressive,” Schoch said. “A lot of things came together and we were able to put in a really impressive performance.”

Derek Amicon won the 1,600 (4:21.73) and was second in the 800 (1:58.32). He joined Denison Murphy, Riley Oller and Bechtel on the runner-up 3,200 relay (8:30.84) and Bechtel, Tingler and Pierce on the third-place 1,600 relay (3:33.46).

Denison Murphy was runner-up in the 3,200 (10:07.97) and third in the 1,600 (4:35.19). Connor Dobies was second in the 300 hurdles (41.86) and third in the 110 hurdles (16.72).

Tayler Pierce won the high jump (5-0) and Sophie Andrew was first in the pole vault (8-0) to lead the girls team, which finished fourth (74) behind champion Buckeye Valley (165.33).

“I have not been jumping as well as I did as my sophomore year with the year off,” said Pierce, referring to last year’s season cancellation because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. “That interrupted the rhythm that I had going. I’m glad to be jumping again and going against good competitors that will help me do even better.”

Hannah Yochem was second in the 300 hurdles (49.15) and third in the 100 hurdles (17.4). Madeline Palmisciano was third in the 1,600 (5:19.54) and Natalie Smith was third in the pole vault (6-0).

“The conference meet was good on both sides, but it had super-strong competition on the girls side,” Schoch said. “We had some really strong performances and all of the teams that finished ahead of us were Division II except for Bexley, which is Division I.”

The Bobcats competed in the Division III district meet May 18, 19 and 22 at Granville. The top four in each event advanced to regional May 25 and 27 at Chillicothe Southeastern.

The top four in each regional event advance to state June 4 and 5 at Westerville North.

Boys tennis team

exceeds expectations

Coach Kathy Kinnard did not know what to expect in her fourth season leading the boys tennis team.

She was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

The Bobcats finished 12-3 overall and placed fourth (3-3) in the MSL-Ohio behind tri-champions Bexley, Columbus Academy and Wellington (all 5-1).

“I had no preconception of how we would do because I really didn’t know what to expect,” Kinnard said. “I always tell people that in our situation there are matches that we know we should lose and matches we know we should win. Then there are the matches against teams at our skill level, and we didn’t lose any of those matches this year.”

The Bobcats competed in a Division II sectional May 13 at Academy but did not have any singles players or doubles teams advance to the second day May 15. The top four finishers in singles and doubles qualified for district May 20 and 22 at Academy.

Junior Max Lauer went 2-1 in singles, losing to Watterson’s Nick Geelan 6-0, 6-2 in a district-qualifying match. Senior Kieran Bode and junior Tyler Schmied both finished 1-1 in singles.

Juniors Connor Hayes and Hayden Roemer went 2-1 in doubles, falling to Academy’s Jake Stouffer and Jaswanth Vandrasi 6-3, 6-1 in a district-qualifying match.

Juniors Jake Leach and Adam Narcelles lost their opening-round doubles match.

“Kieran was an unknown when he came in but he was a solid singles player for us and allowed us to have all the other kids play where they could be successful,” Kinnard said. “I hope the kids had a good enough time to return and they are looking forward to next year already.”

Grandview senior Sami Swartz throws the ball over sophomore teammate Aylish O'Hara for an out at first base against Whitehall on April 19. 
Swartz led the Bobcats in runs (32), triples (6) and stolen bases (22).

Softball team falls

in district opener

The softball team lost at sixth-seeded Johnstown 16-1 in five innings May 12 in its opening game of the Division III district tournament.

The 16th-seeded Bobcats finished 7-18 overall and 3-6 in the MSL-Ohio. However, they went 7-7 in their final 14 contests.

“It went better than what we expected, especially with our start,” first-year coach Kristy Mason said. “We started off a little rough but by the middle of the season things started to click for us. We started having fun playing.”

Seniors Emma Murphy and Sami Swartz led the Bobcats in most batting categories. Murphy (SS/3B) led in batting average (.579), home runs (3) and RBI (27), and she also had 25 runs, nine doubles and nine stolen bases.

Swartz (P/C/OF) led in runs (32), triples (6) and stolen bases (22). The Mount Union commit also batted .417 with 16 RBI and nine doubles.

Outfielders Maggie Lyon (.325, 14 RBI, 13 runs, 10 stolen bases) and Millie McNamara (.382, 12 RBI, 16 runs, 12 stolen bases) rounded out the senior class.

“We had four seniors that we are going to miss because they all helped out tremendously,” Mason said. “They were all leaders in their own way, and they all stepped up when we needed them.”

Sophomore Aylish O’Harra (1B/P) batted .487 with 10 RBI and 12 runs, and freshmen Eryn O’Harra (C) had a .367 batting average with nine RBI and three runs. Freshman Taryn Lynaugh (1B/P) hit .333 with 10 RBI and 22 runs, and junior Simone Chordas (3B/SS) batted .310 with 12 RBI, 13 runs and 13 stolen bases.

Freshman Sam Reichert (INF/OF) batted .273 and freshman Eleanor Kukura (OF) had a .250 batting average. 

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SOFTBALL

Record: 7-18 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Buckeye Valley (10-0), Bexley and Worthington Christian (both 7-3), Grandview (3-6), Whitehall (1-7), Wellington (0-9)

Seniors lost: Maggie Lyon, Millie McNamara, Emma Murphy and Sami Swartz

Key returnees: Simone Chordas, Ava Cunningham, Maddie Hollar, Eleanor Kurkura, Taryn Lynaugh, Aylish O’Harra, Eryn O’Harra and Sam Reichert

Postseason: Lost to Johnstown 16-1 (5 innings) in first round of Division III district tournament

BOYS TENNIS

Record: 12-3 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Bexley, Columbus Academy and Wellington (5-1), Grandview (3-3), Buckeye Valley (2-4), Worthington Christian (1-5), Whitehall (0-6)

Senior lost: Kieren Bode

Key returnees: Connor Hayes, Max Lauer, Jake Leach, Adam Narcelles, Hayden Roemer and Tyler Schmied