Golf: Grove City boys expect strong season

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Senior Thatcher Wilson is among the top players returning for the Grove City boys golf team and 14th-year coach Eric Joreski. The Greyhounds opened the four-round league tournament Aug. 6 at Darby Creek by finishing first.

Led by senior Jeremiah Bane, the Grove City boys golf team began OCC-Ohio Division play on a positive note and set the tone for their season.

The Greyhounds opened the four-round league tournament Aug. 6 at Darby Creek by finishing first (302) ahead of Westerville Central (311), New Albany (319), Gahanna (325) and Pickerington North (332).

Bane earned medalist honors with a 71, and senior Thatcher Wilson was fourth with a 74.

"No. 1, just to be able to be out there and be able to coach and compete is the greatest thing," said coach Eric Joreski, who is in his 14th season. "No. 2, we just want to see all the hard work that our kids have put in in the offseason pay off. ... If we play to our ability, good things are going to happen."

Joreski called Wilson one of the most improved players on the team, and he showed that ability in the league opener.

"It makes me feel great knowing that my hard work really paid off," Wilson said. "My ball-striking has been pretty significantly better than what it was. The scores have definitely gotten lower, but the ball-striking has been the most improvement."

Juniors Nash Linder (77) and Trent Ruffing (80) and sophomore Steven Jordan (84) also competed.

Junior Brodie Scott rounds out the team.

"All these kids have worked extremely hard," Joreski said. "They're so diligent about getting their work in on the range and on the putting greens."

Last season, Bane led the Greyhounds in the league tournament, earning Player of the Year honors with a 76.25 average. Linder and Ruffing were honorable mention all-league.

The Greyhounds competed in the second round Aug. 12 at Apple Valley.

"It's pretty awesome that we still get to play," Wilson said. "It makes the most sense that golf will be able to still play. It's one of the safest sports in terms of social distancing. It's pretty easy to keep your distance on the course and follow all the state regulations. We're pretty blessed to still have a season."

Seniors to lead Comets boys

Four seniors will help lead the Central Crossing boys team in coach Justin Prati's 15th season.

Seniors Jackson Phillips, Aiden Phipps and Jimmy Schwinne return. Senior Justin Spencer played as a sophomore but did not participate last season.

"We're senior-heavy this year with four kids," Prati said. "These are trying times with virtual learning when you try to recruit from the hallways. Moving forward, we have to promote the program and get some more people out."

Completing the eight-player roster are juniors Brandon Dildine, Austin Estep and Parker Sizemore as well as Allison Dildine, Brandon's freshman sister.

"This is a group of kids that are all good teammates, and that's one of the more important things you want to see as a coach," Prati said. "It's a blessing that they all get together and converse and there's no pressure on each other. They come to compete and get better every day."

The Comets have moved from the OCC-Central to the OCC-Buckeye and played the first round of the four-round league tournament Aug. 6 at Apple Valley. They finished fifth (428) behind Pickerington Central (311), Reynoldsburg (344), Lancaster (359) and Newark (408).

Phillips (94), Schwinne (100), Brandon Dildine (110) and Estep (124) scored for the Comets.

The second round was Aug. 12 at Denison Golf Club.

-- Scott Hennen

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Eagles boys team has new coach

The Grove City Christian boys team has a new coach in 25-year-old Jayson Arrell, who was an assistant last season.

"It will be an interesting year, but it will be fun," Arrell said. "The guys are excited to get going."

Grove City Christian finished second (451) in the MSL-Cardinal preseason tournament Aug. 5 at Westchester behind Millersport (417) and ahead of league newcomer Corning Miller (525).

Sophomore James Cuckler led the Eagles with a 98, followed by sophomore brothers Kaden Garringer (110) and Quinn Garringer (121) and sophomores Brian Ott (122), Kolton DeVine (131) and Nate Prindle (138).

Cuckler, DeVine, Kaden Garringer and Quinn Garringer are returning players.

"That's the nice thing," Arrell said. "I have six on the team this year, they're all sophomores and four of them were on the team last year, so they know how I operate. That makes it a little bit easier."

The Eagles will compete in the midseason league tournament Aug. 29 at Turnberry and the postseason tournament Sept. 23 at Denison Golf Club.

"We're a young team and we need as much practice as we can get," Arrell said. "Hopefully we get to play the whole year."

-- Frank DiRenna

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Saur to pace Grove City girls

The Grove City girls team is looking to build on a history-making 2019 season.

Led by senior Lizzie Saur, the Greyhounds are looking to defend their OCC-Ohio title, the program's first.

"I think we have a really good shot at it," eighth-year coach Megan Blaney said of repeating. "The girls have been working really hard all summer, so I think we have a really good chance."

Grove City opened the four-round league tournament Aug. 12 at Blacklick Woods and will compete in the second round Wednesday, Aug. 19, at Royal American.

Saur was league Player of the Year last season with a 73.8 average. She also earned the program's first Division I state tournament berth and tied Liberty Township Lakota East's Grace Honingford for seventh (145) of 92 golfers behind champion Anna Ritter (138) of New Albany.

Saur was second-team all-state.

"Lizzie is just such a talent and a joy," Blaney said. "She's just so good."

Freshman Bella Saur, Lizzie's sister, has been the team's No. 2 golfer so far.

Sophomores Rachael Jones and Chloe Seeley also return. Seeley was honorable mention all-league last season.

Freshman Kaylyn Henson rounds out the top five.

"We're at a really good place," Blaney said. "I'm really excited for our season and the girls are really excited for the season."

Blaney said that for the first time in her tenure, the program will have a j.v. team.

"We are so fortunate to be playing," she said. "I talk to the girls about it every day we've been together. At any moment things can obviously change. We're just trying to keep our season alive as long as possible."

-- Frank DiRenna

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports

At a glance

CENTRAL CROSSING BOYS

*Coach: Justin Prati, 15th season

*Top players: Brandon Dildine, Jackson Phillips and Jimmy Schwinne

*Key losses: Courtnie Sprouse and Sam White

*2019 OCC-Central standings: Upper Arlington (19-1), Dublin Coffman (17-3), Hilliard Davidson (12-8), Marysville (8-12), Central Crossing (4-16), Westland (0-20)

*2019 postseason: 14th at sectional

GROVE CITY BOYS

*Coach: Eric Joreski, 14th season

*Top players: Jeremiah Bane, Nash Linder, Trent Ruffing and Thatcher Wilson

*Key losses: Connor Estep and Ian Johnston

*2019 OCC-Ohio standings: Pickerington Central (16-4), Grove City (14-6), Gahanna and Pickerington North (both 13-7), Lancaster (4-16), Reynoldsburg (0-20)

*2019 postseason: Sixth at sectional

GROVE CITY CHRISTIAN BOYS

*Coach: Jayson Arrell, first season

*Top players: James Cuckler, Kolton DeVine, Kaden Garringer and Quinn Garringer

*Key losses: Zach Lauron, Griffin Milam, Carter Stedtefeld, Tim Sullivan and Brandon VonIns

*2019 MSL-Cardinal standings: Fisher Catholic (9-0), Zanesville Rosecrans (6-3), Grove City Christian (3-6), Millersport (0-9)

*Note: Corning Miller has joined the league.

*2019 postseason: Did not compete at district

GROVE CITY GIRLS

*Coach: Megan Blaney, eighth season

*Top players: Rachael Jones, Bella Saur, Lizzie Saur and Chloe Seeley

*Key losses: Alexis Hyder and Abby Jones

*2019 OCC-Ohio standings: Grove City (18-2), North (16-4), Gahanna (13-7), Central (9-11), Big Walnut (4-16), Lancaster (0-20)

*2019 postseason: Third at sectional, sixth at district

Lizzie Saur returns to help lead the Grove City girls golf team after being named the league's player of the year last season and earning the program's first Division I state tournament berth.