Gymnastics: Perseverance rewarded with first meets of season for Grove City Greyhounds

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Grove City's Genavieve Kuhn competes on the bars Jan. 20 at Marysville. It was the first meet of the season for the Greyhounds, who will close the regular season Feb. 10 at Thomas Worthington.

In what has been a season altered because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Grove City gymnastics coach Mark Hartley is pleased any time his team can compete.  

The Greyhounds participated in just their second event at the 23rd-annual Worthington Kilbourne Invitational on Jan. 23, where they finished fourth (122.975) of 10 teams behind champion Dublin Jerome (140.325).  

After being limited to practices in December and much of January, the Greyhounds opened Jan. 20 with a quad meet at Marysville.  

“We would normally start competing the second week of December,” Hartley said. “We didn’t know if we were going to have anything. We’re fortunate. Having these two meets, I’m happy with them.

"We did well the first two meets. We had two-and-a-half months of straight practice with no real end goal. When you don’t have competitions, you don’t really know what you’re working for, especially when you have a lot of new gymnasts.”  

With 16 girls on the roster and a limited number who can compete at meets because of COVID restrictions, Hartley has had to juggle his lineup.  

“Two meets in, everyone who’s not injured has been able to compete this year,” Hartley said.  

Grove City has received several strong performances, including Morgan Waterman’s fifth-place finish (8.3) on the bars at Kilbourne.  

Senior Genavieve Kuhn, who finished 17th (30.9) in the all-around, tied for 10th (8.1) on vault.  

“I’m super proud of Gena,” Hartley said. “Last year she had some mental issues with her tumbling on floor, but she’s two-for-two this season.”  

Kuhn credited Hartley for her development.  

“He’s helped me a lot and he makes gymnastics a lot more fun for me,” Kuhn said. “I wasn’t really liking gymnastics that much when I did club, but when I started high school and Mark was my coach, he made me like it again. He made me want to do gymnastics and want to come to practice.”  

Also in the all-around at Kilbourne, Emma Claypool was 18th (30.6) and Emma Weaver finished 20th (30.35).  

Grove City is scheduled to close the regular season Feb. 10 at Thomas Worthington.  

The Greyhounds will then return to Thomas for the OCC-Central Division meet Feb. 20 before the district meet Feb. 27 at Kilbourne.  

Because of the pandemic, the district will be broken into three sessions.  

“If we can build to be the best that we can be with what we have with our talent level, I’m happy,” Hartley said. 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekFrank