Boys Cross Country: Coach Mindy Bankey likes Grove City Christian's small roster

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Mindy Bankey

The Grove City Christian boys cross country team is looking to underclassmen for much-needed leadership this season.

The Eagles' roster features five runners, led by juniors Andrew Chalupa and Dylan King and sophomore Luke McCoy. All are returnees.

King led Grove City Christian in the Division III, district 1 meet last season, finishing 32nd of 65 runners in 19 minutes, 45.3 seconds.

Other runners are freshmen Ilya Paul and Elijah Tomlinson.

"Dylan has really been working hard over the offseason and I expect to see great leadership from him," said coach Mindy Bankey, who is in her seventh season. "Andrew should also be stronger after getting his first season completed last year. Luke had a good year but is splitting time with soccer, his main sport. He is strong, too. I am confident Ilya and Elijah will also have a good year as freshmen."

The Eagles opened by competing in the Panther Invitational on Sept. 8 at Fairbanks. King was 14th (21:05.7) and Chalupa was 33rd (23:55.8) of 62 runners.

"We have a lot of new kids," King said. "I think we're going to do pretty well. I have to be a leader. I've been running (for the school) since seventh grade. I love it."

A goal for King is to qualify for his first regional meet.

"That's my goal for this year," he said. "I have to eat right and just focus on my time. I ran a lot this summer with coach Joe Montoya. He sent me workouts and I prepared a lot during the summer for it, so I should be prepared."

Montoya, who took over the track and field program in the spring and was ready to lead the cross country teams, stepped down from both positions before the season because of work commitments, with Bankey returning to guide the Eagles.

"I am excited," Bankey said. "The team is working hard together and the goal is to stay healthy in this crazy year."

Greyhounds runners 'battle' for No. 1 spot

Senior Dylan Boso and juniors Devin Dawson and Bryan Ransburgh have been competing for the top spot in Grove City's lineup.

"I'm excited to see all three runners compete and battle," said coach Joe Dollins, who is in his eighth season. "They're our fastest runners (and have) great leadership skills, and those three are going to battle each race. I could see all three finishing first within our team in a couple of different races throughout the season. All three put in the miles over the summer, training on their own for the month of June."

Senior David Shapoval and junior Michael Javorsky also are competing for top-five positions.

Other runners are juniors Josh Baisden, Parker Felumlee, Danny Regan and Connor Wilkinson and sophomore Cody Hyde.

The Greyhounds finished first (22) in the Best of the South-West meet Sept. 5 at Westland, ahead of Central Crossing (48) and the host Cougars (60).

Ransburgh finished first of 38 runners in 17:58.33. Boso was second (18:34.55) and Regan was fourth (19:18.61).

Grove City is now competing in the new-look OCC-Ohio Division with Gahanna, New Albany, Pickerington North, Westerville Central and Westland.

"I love being around the (teams) and seeing them get better each week, and help coach them and reach their fullest potential," Dollins said. "We're just excited to have some type of season."

--Frank DiRenna

Comets look to build numbers

Second-year Central Crossing coach Reggie Cannon has a roster of six, but those small numbers mean his runners will have to work extra hard to compete with larger programs.

The Comets are led by junior Joey Taylor, sophomore Hunter Armstrong and seniors Jake Archer and Jon Carroll. Senior Camden Kulp and freshman Conlan Scoggin round out the roster.

"We don't have the numbers, but we have to see how we approach every workout on every single day," Cannon said. "We have to decide to be better today than we were yesterday.

"We have to work harder or we will not realize the successes that we want. We have to outwork everyone until we have numbers in our program."

The Comets finished eighth (205) in the 10-team Canal Winchester Invitational on Sept. 2 behind the champion and host Indians (45). Taylor (32nd, 19:32.2) led the way, followed by Armstrong (49th, 20:28.5), Carroll (52nd, 20:39.6), Archer (59th, 21:13.2), Scoggin (90th, 26:42.5) and Kulp (97th, 30:36.4).

"I have four guys I can count on to be up there for us," Cannon said. "Now we'll see how far along the other two can go."

The Comets have moved to the OCC-Buckeye with Groveport, Newark, Lancaster, Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg, a change that Cannon likes.

"It's a new year and we have a new conference," he said. "Let's see what we can do there. Before it was either us or Westland fighting for fifth and sixth. We'll see how we do now. I expect us to continue to get better."

--Scott Hennen

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At a glance

CENTRAL CROSSING

*Coach: Reggie Cannon, second season

*Top athletes: Hunter Armstrong, Jake Archer, Jon Carroll and Joey Taylor

*Key losses: Noah Reardon and Austin Vazquez

*2019 OCC-Central standings: Hilliard Davidson (26), Upper Arlington (61), Dublin Coffman (64), Marysville (90), Westland (155). Central Crossing did not have a team score

*2019 postseason: 15th at district

GROVE CITY

*Coach: Joe Dollins, eighth season

*Top athletes: Jake Huddleston, Luke Nester, Cooper Schnitzer and Calvin Wade

*Key losses: Zach Elliott, Ben Rutledge and Brayden Smith

*2019 OCC-Ohio standings: Pickerington North (33), Gahanna (36), Lancaster (78), Pickerington Central (104), Reynoldsburg (110), Grove City (173)

*2019 postseason: 13th at district

GROVE CITY CHRISTIAN

*Coach: Mindy Bankey, seventh season

*Top athletes: Andrew Chalupa, Dylan King and Luke McCoy

*Key losses: Michael Flowers and Colton Sisler

*2019 MSL-Cardinal standings: Fisher Catholic (26), Berne Union (45), Fairfield Christian (93)

*2019 postseason: Did not score at district