Notebook: ‘Aggressive’ Addi Rudolph places fifth at state for Central Crossing Comets

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Central Crossing's Addi Rudolph finished fifth at 101 pounds in the girls state wrestling tournament, which was held Feb. 20 and 21 at Hilliard Davidson. Rudolph finished the season 12-2, going 7-2 at district and state.

Addi Rudolph was a little too passive on the mat, and the Central Crossing wrestler knew that had to change.

The Comets freshman “flipped a switch” this season, and that helped her to go on to place fifth at 101 pounds in the girls state tournament Feb. 20 and 21 at Hilliard Davidson.

Rudolph finished the season 12-2, going 7-2 in the district and state tournaments. Her only losses came against the eventual state champion, Hayley Snyder of Vincent Warren (17-1 technical fall in her district opener Feb. 14 at Olentangy Orange) and the state runner-up, Elyria’s Riley Banyas (8-0 in the second round at state). Snyder defeated Banyas 3-0 in the state final.

“I was pretty happy with my performance,” Rudolph said. “I wrestled the best I could against some pretty tough competition out there. I was happy to finish out on the podium.

“My aggression has changed. In middle school, I was a little standoffish and kind of scared. As soon as I got here to high school, I kind of just flipped a switch and turned pretty aggressive.”

Central Crossing coach Jamie Ramirez wasn’t surprised by Rudolph’s performance.

“I kind of thought she’d do well because I knew she was right there with them,” he said. “She only had two losses at district and state and they were to the champion and second-place wrestler. When I saw that, I thought she could win the rest of her matches.”

Rudolph started wrestling in the fifth grade at Grove City before moving over to Central Crossing.

“In the sixth grade I came over to Central Crossing’s little program, and that’s what jump-started my career,” she said. “That’s when I started improving my performance and becoming a better athlete.

“(Ramirez) has taught me a lot, not just physically but mentally. He’s pushed me through so much and has been so supportive of me. He’s shown me so much technique and has made me a better wrestler.”

Rudolph, who is the only girls wrestler in the high school program at Central Crossing, said going up against boys might have made a difference for her in the postseason.

“I think wrestling boys definitely helped me going up against girls,” Rudolph said. “Wrestling boys is a completely different game. They’re so much stronger than you, so you have to completely rely on your technique. When you go to wrestle girls, everything runs just a little smoother.”

Ramirez also believes workouts this winter against boys might have given Rudolph an edge in terms of toughness.

“We only have one girl and she didn’t have a choice but to work out against boys,” he said. “It’s tough for girls to wrestle boys because of the strength and everything, but she would do it. She would have her good days in the room, and I think it may have made her tougher and more ready against girls competition.”

With three seasons remaining at Central Crossing, Rudolph said she is far from a polished product. She wants to continue honing her skills to try to climb further up the awards podium at state.

“I’d like to improve my offense,” she said. “This year was the first that I started peeking in to getting my shots and I used to always be a defensive wrestler. Once I got into high school, I knew I had to change that and make some kind of improvement.”

Sophomore guard Kayla Jones averaged 9.4 points for Grove City, which finished 10-8 overall and 5-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

Grove City girls basketball coach Joel Taylor praised his players’ competitiveness and dedication following a 47-35 loss at 16th-seeded Marysville on Feb. 19 in a Division I district tournament second-round game. Both teams had a first-round bye. 

The 24th-seeded Greyhounds, who finished 10-8 overall, trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter before cutting the deficit to 33-28 early in the fourth. 

“We played with heart all year long,” Taylor said. “We just waited too long to start our comeback. We waited two and a half quarters before we started attacking with all of our players. I can’t speak enough of our effort and heart. We never quit. We played right up to the end.” 

Junior guard Ellie Pollock-Ballard and sophomore guard Olivia Keeney led the Greyhounds with 11 points apiece. 

Pollock-Ballard led the team in scoring at 10.3 points per game, followed by sophomore guard Kayla Jones (9.4), Keeney (8.5) and junior forward Alissa Schiff (7.2). 

Grove City went 5-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division to tie Pickerington North for third behind champion Gahanna (10-0). 

The Greyhounds will lose seniors Ally Pape (post player), Emily Talbot (forward/post player) and Riley Waugh (post player). 

“I talked to each one of them individually,” Taylor said. “I talked about how great a pleasure it was coaching all of them.” 

Others eligible to return are junior Olivia Bartley (guard/forward), sophomores Sela Anderson (guard), McKenzie McGowan (guard) and Carly Turner (guard/forward) and freshmen Gia Boyce (guard) and Addison Waller (guard). 

–Frank DiRenna 

•Hannah Jennings and Emily Dech led the Central Crossing gymnastics team in the OCC-Cardinal meet Feb. 20 at Thomas Worthington, where the Comets finished seventh (121.575 points) behind first-place Olentangy Berlin (139.45).

Jennings was 20th in the all-around (31.025), a performance that featured placing 15th on both floor exercise (7.9) and vault (8.6).

Dech was 21st in the all-around (31.0), including fifth on balance beam (8.275) and seventh on  vault (7.825). Hope Groves was 24th in the all-around (28.95), with her best effort coming on the uneven bars (20th, 7.2).

Taylor Redden was 25th in the all-around (28.425), including a 24th-place performance on vault (7.6).

The Comets finished seventh in the final league standings at 0-5 with four points, behind champion Berlin (28, 6-0).

–Scott Hennen

•The Grove City gymnastics team prepared for district by competing in the OCC-Central meet Feb. 20 at Thomas. 

The Greyhounds finished fifth (122.2) behind first-place Dublin Coffman (137.275) and also were fifth (8, 1-4) in the final standings behind the champion Shamrocks (24, 4-0). 

“Our team doesn’t really focus on the other teams,” coach Mark Hartley said. “They’re just there to do what they do and the best they can do it.” 

Morgan Waterman led Grove City by finishing eighth in the all-around (33.175). She was sixth on  beam (8.35). 

Also in the all-around, Emma Claypool was 21st (30.3), Genavieve Kuhn was 23rd (29.775) and Emma Weaver was 24th (28.55). 

“We had some falls that normally we wouldn’t have, but other than that, I’m proud of them,” Hartley said. “They did a good job.” 

The Greyhounds competed in the district meet Feb. 27 at Worthington Kilbourne. 

The top three teams advanced to the state team meet March 5 at Hilliard Bradley. The top eight finishers in each event and the all-around qualified for the individual state meet March 6 at Bradley. 

–Frank DiRenna 

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GROVE CITY GIRLS BASKETBALL 

Record: 10-8 overall 

OCC-Ohio standings: Gahanna (10-0), New Albany (8-2), Grove City and Pickerington North (5-5), Westerville Central (2-8), Westland (0-10) 

Seniors lost: Ally Pape, Emily Talbot and Riley Waugh 

Key returnees: Kayla Jones, Olivia Keeney, Ellie Pollock-Ballard and Alissa Schiff 

Postseason: Lost to Marysville 47-35 in second round of Division I district tournament