Notebook: Grove City Greyhounds wrestlers chase league, postseason success
In just his second season, Grove City wrestling coach Ryan Mitchell has his sights set on the program’s first OCC title since the 2004-05 season.
The Greyhounds opened OCC-Ohio Division action with a 52-15 win over New Albany on Jan. 7. They continued league action against Westerville Central on Jan. 14 and will play host to Pickerington North on Jan. 21.
“We want people wrestling that last weekend of the season (at the Division I state tournament),” Mitchell said. “Wrestling is an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport. You have to think about both of those things. From a team standpoint, the first goal is health and the second goal is to start winning things – winning tournaments, winning the league championship. It’s been a long time since we’ve put a year on that banner.”
The Greyhounds are seeking their first league championship since sharing the OCC-Cardinal title in the 2004-05 season with Pickerington Central at 4-1.
Grove City received valuable mat time while finishing 4-0 in the five-team Central Crossing duals Jan. 9.
“It was far from a perfect day, but when you go 4-0, it’s pretty good,” Mitchell said. “It’s a good coaching day because we had a lot of good wins and we also had a lot of things go on that we need to work on. From a coaching perspective, you get the wins, but you also have things to take into practice to say, ‘This is where we need to improve.’ ”
The Greyhounds beat Logan 82-0, Westland 46-28, Mount Orab Western Brown 42-39 and Central Crossing 43-30. Grove City trailed the host Comets 24-1 before rallying for the win.
“Central Crossing has a lot of good wrestlers and they were able to get the momentum early,” Mitchell said. “Their bench was really behind all their wrestlers. There was a lot of excitement in the gym, which is unusual this year when the crowds are so small. We were able to settle things down in the middle and win some matches.”
Braxton Sheets (120 pounds) and Brayden Benson (182) each went 4-0 to lead the Greyhounds.
•The Grove City girls basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak with a 52-22 win at Westerville Central on Jan. 12.
Kayla Jones scored 15 points and Alissa Schiff added 14 to lead the Greyhounds, who were 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Ohio before facing Westland on Jan. 15.
Jones scored 10 points in a 41-30 setback to Gahanna on Jan. 8, and Grove City also lost 43-19 to Watterson on Jan. 9.
Through seven games, Jones was averaging 10.1 points, followed by Ellie Pollock-Ballard (9.8).
•The Central Crossing boys basketball team was in quarantine until Jan. 17.
The Comets were 0-6 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Buckeye. They were scheduled to return to action Jan. 19 against league-foe Pickerington Central.
“We have a lot of guys who haven’t played much varsity basketball, but I think some of the guys have started to figure out how hard that they have to work to play varsity,” said coach Neil Hohman, whose team also has games at Lancaster on Jan. 22 in OCC-Buckeye play and against Westland on Jan. 26. “We're seeing things coming along.”
Through six games, Jeremy Burns was averaging a team-high 11.5 points and Tristen Needham was averaging 9.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. Isaiah Bridges was averaging 9.3 points and a team-best 5.7 rebounds.
•The Central Crossing wrestling team opened OCC-Buckeye duals with a 58-12 loss to Lancaster on Jan. 7.
Oliver Savage (113) won by pin and Abel Garantche (195) and Jamie Ramirez (138) both earned decisions for the Comets, who were scheduled to face Pickerington Central on Jan. 14 and Newark on Jan. 21 at home in league duals.
Central Crossing split its duals in a five-team home meet Jan. 9, defeating Westland 46-28 and Logan 54-15 and losing to Grove City 43-30 and Western Brown 46-33.
Ryder Gwartney (170) and Braden Sheets (145) both went 4-0, while Caleb Eads (106), Tra Helsel (182), Ramirez and Jayden Vazquez (152) all went 3-1.
•Grove City Christian girls basketball coach Bill Spencer has seen several positives so far this season.
One of those highlights was Mckenzie Kennedy scoring 16 points and adding 20 rebounds in a 44-19 win over Granville Christian on Jan. 5. She was averaging a team-high 12.7 rebounds through seven games.
The Eagles beat Millersport 39-34 on Jan. 11, led by Tara Johnson’s 12 points and Kennedy’s 12 rebounds.
Grove City Christian – which was 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the MSL-Cardinal before facing Zanesville Rosecrans on Jan. 15 – will play host to Tree of Life on Jan. 21 and Berne Union on Jan. 23.
Through seven games, Sienna Brunicardi led the Eagles in scoring, averaging 12.2 points.
“I just love coaching basketball and these kids are just wonderful kids,” Spencer said. “I enjoy the teaching aspect of it. They’ve been very good in that respect. Coaches are never fully happy because we can always do better and we can.”
•The Grove City Christian boys basketball team earned its first MSL-Cardinal win, beating Corning Miller 79-68 on Jan. 12.
Seth Vaughn scored 26 points, Braydan Taylor had 22 and Cameron Stedtefeld added 14 as the Eagles improved to 3-7 overall and 1-6 in the MSL-Cardinal before facing Harvest Prep on Jan. 16.
Grove City Christian lost to Fisher Catholic 71-46 on Jan. 8 as Vaughn had 17 points and Caleb Ransom added 10.
“We entered the third straight week in which the roster is quarantine free,” said coach Chris Timlin, whose team will play host to Rosecrans on Jan. 22. “I’m very confident that this group will be much more competitive during the second round of league play if we can stay healthy. ... They practice hard and take the film room as seriously as any group that I’ve coached. They’re full of positive energy.”