Girls Cross Country: Grove City planning to enjoy season

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Senior Laney Hoyt is among the top returnees for Grove City and eighth-year coach Joe Dollins.

Grove City senior Laney Hoyt hopes to make some fond memories in her final season with the girls cross country team.

She led the Greyhounds in the Division I district meet last season, finishing 53rd of 115 runners in 22 minutes, 9.8 seconds.

"We always go out there and do our best," Hoyt said. "I'm not ever going to be disappointed. Plus, I feel like cross country isn't so much about our wins. We have fun and we cheer each other on at meets, so that's really nice. ... We want to go out there and make memories like we always do."

In her first season with the program, senior Lily Tyler has emerged as a top runner.

"Lily is a new (runner)," said coach Joe Dollins, who is in his eighth season. "I (coached) her in middle school for basketball and I'm excited she came out this year. She's right besides Laney with all the training workouts. She's been working really hard in practices and leading by example."

Sophomore returnee Peyton Zelenak also is competing for a top-five spot, as are freshmen Libby Fuchs, Natalie Smith and Samantha Steinhauser.

Other runners are seniors Ella Moscinski and Allison Walker.

The Greyhounds finished first (15) in the Best of the South-West meet Sept. 5 at Westland, as Tyler placed first of 22 runners in 21:59.2. Hoyt was third (22:36.73) and Zelenak was sixth (24:47.68).

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

"The kids and the coaching staff and I, we're just grateful we're having some type of season," Dollins said. "It does look a little different (because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic). We're just excited to get back to racing and competing against other schools and being around teammates and getting back in the swing of things."

A key loss to graduation was four-year runner Lindsay Donaldson, who was 55th at district (22:23.7) last season.

Comets eclipse top times from last fall

Central Crossing's top two runners from a year ago are not with the program, but the Comets already have surpassed last season's top performances.

Senior Rachel Sinyuk did not return after running a team-best 22:49.8 last year, and the second-best time of 24:23.7 was turned in by 2020 graduate Jenny Zamora.

Freshman Anay Sierra and sophomore Hannah Scoggin already have finished ahead of Sinyuk's top performance, however, and freshman Audrey Gaines isn't far behind.

In the Canal Winchester Invitational on Sept. 2, Sierra finished 17th (21:48.3) and Scoggin placed 26th (22:23.4). Gaines was 52nd in 23:26.1, which would have been the No. 2 performance last fall.

"The girls have started out looking promising," second-year coach Reggie Cannon said. "Anay and Hannah both work really hard, and they've run well for us. Audrey ran a virtual half-marathon a couple days before (the Canal Winchester race), but still ran very well.

"We need to have five people to run well. The girls are striving to do better and run in high-qualify races."

The Comets had only three runners compete at Canal Winchester, so they did not have a team score.

Also on the roster are senior Ellie Williams and freshman Cheyenne Taylor.

"We're counting on working hard and getting better," Cannon said. "This is what we have to be about.

"We're young. We're going to get better and we can have better numbers. The better our numbers, the better we'll be."

--Scott Hennen

Eagles feature four new runners

After losing six runners to graduation, Grove City Christian's roster consists of four first-year runners.

Coach Mindy Bankey, who is in her seventh season, hopes juniors Jocelyn Rojas and Paige Spencer and freshmen Ava Garringer and Alyssa Garten gain valuable experience this season.

"All four are new to the program, but they are strong competitors," Bankey said. "They are working hard in practice and I am looking forward to seeing their fierce qualities push them hard this season."

The Eagles opened the season by competing in the Panther Invitational on Sept. 8 at Fairbanks.

Rojas was 29th of 43 runners in 31:05.3, followed by Spencer (31st, 32:42), Garringer (33rd, 33:21.7) and Garten (37th, 34:24.6).

--Frank DiRenna

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports

At a glance

CENTRAL CROSSING

*Coach: Reggie Cannon, second season

*Top athletes: Audrey Gaines, Hannah Scoggin and Anay Sierra

*Key losses: Rachel Sinyuk and Jenny Zamora

*2019 OCC-Central standings: Hilliard Davidson (15), Dublin Coffman (65), Marysville (68), Upper Arlington (95)

*2019 postseason: Did not score at district

GROVE CITY

*Coach: Joe Dollins, eighth season

*Top athletes: Laney Hoyt, Lily Tyler and Peyton Zelenak

*Key losses: Laura Cruz, Lindsay Donaldson and Lauren Glass

*2019 OCC-Ohio standings: Gahanna (40), Lancaster (47), North (76), Central (92), Reynoldsburg (112), Grove City (172)

*2019 postseason: 12th at district

GROVE CITY CHRISTIAN

*Coach: Mindy Bankey, seventh season

*Top athletes: Ava Garringer, Alyssa Garten, Jocelyn Rojas and Paige Spencer

*Key losses: Hannah Allen, Natalie Bankey, Madeline Bliss, Maggie Isner and Sydney King

*2019 MSL-Cardinal standings: Fairfield Christian (32), Fisher Catholic (43), Berne Union (50)

*2019 postseason: 15th at district