Depth key to Bradley's success
Depth has been one of the keys to the Hilliard Bradley High School gymnastics team's success this season.
The Jaguars are 3-0 in the OCC-Capital Division and posted a season-high 128.3 points to finish first in a quad-meet Jan. 22 with Davidson (125.625), Olentangy Orange (118.6) and Delaware (115.775). The score against Orange counted in the league standings.
Junior Ally Duckworth was first on the uneven bars (8.375) and balance beam (8.9) and senior Kayla Malik won the floor exercise (9.025).
"We're showing a lot of consistency and we've got depth," said coach Carol Eskay, who also coaches Darby and Davidson.
"We've got nine girls who we can use in the all-around. Duckworth and Malik are our top two, but Taylor Wester, Gabby Colaiacovo, Hannah Richards, Erin Lee and Emily Wawryzniak are some of the others who can also post good scores and put together good all-arounds."
Duckworth was a state qualifier on beam last season.
The Jaguars finished fourth (127.75) in the 14-team Sweeney Invitational on Jan. 26 at DeSales, behind champion Dublin Coffman (139.125). Duckworth finished second (9.125) on beam and seventh (34.55) in the all-around.
"I feel like I'm improving quite a bit, although I need to flip the vault," Duckworth said. "As a team, I think we're a top-five team in the district. We're getting better and better."
Bradley will complete its league duals when it competes against Big Walnut in a five-team meet Friday, Feb. 1, at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheerleading and against Central Crossing on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Davidson.
The OCC-Capital meet will be held Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington.
"We have a chance to win the league, but that is determined on the regular season and league meet, so we have to finish strong," Eskay said. "It'll depend on who has a good day at the league meet and who doesn't.
"What we want to do from here is keep improving our team scores and peak at the right time, for the league meet and the postseason. We have to stay healthy and hopefully (have) no illnesses, either."
Panthers looking to improve on bars
Darby also has been consistent, but Eskay is looking for the Panthers to improve their team scores.
"We're very consistent, always in the 122-123 range," she said. "But we need to get up to 125. We lost some close (meets) in the (OCC-Ohio), so the goal is for them to finish strong in the league meet and carry that over to the postseason."
The Panthers are 0-3 in the OCC-Ohio, having lost to Grove City (122.275-122.225 on Dec. 7), Upper Arlington (122.5-122.625 on Jan. 7) and Coffman (133.975-122.625 on Jan. 16).
Coffman was first in the area coaches poll last week.
Darby competed against Thomas in an OCC-Ohio dual Jan. 29 and will complete its league duals against Olentangy as part of a five-team meet Friday, Feb. 1, at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheerleading.
The OCC-Ohio meet is Feb. 9 at Thomas.
"We have identified the glaring weakness," Eskay said. "We're not asking any one girl to pick up their scoring. It's an event, the bars, which is killing us. We're working hard to score better there. If all of them could pick up just a little bit, it could add up.
"The girls are improving (on bars), making connections and adding skill. Their scores are getting better and it's something we're definitely concentrating on."
Seniors Sierra Ridenour and Carrie Snider, junior Nicole Norris and sophomore Janel Kuebler have been leading the way for the Panthers, Eskay said.
"They are our best, but we've got two talented freshmen who have been contributing very well, too," Eskay said. "Audrey Craddick and Marissa Huffman have been doing a great job."
Darby finished 10th (123.85) in the Sweeney Invitational.
Wildcats also have struggled on bars
Davidson was 2-0 in the OCC-Central before competing against Worthington Kilbourne on Jan. 29.
The Wildcats will complete league duals against Olentangy Liberty as part of a five-team meet Friday, Feb. 1 at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheerleading and against Westland as part of a four-team home meet Tuesday, Feb. 5.
The OCC-Central meet is Feb. 9 at Thomas.
"Davidson has shown a tremendous amount of improvement since last season," Eskay said.
"What I like about that team is they still have lots of room to improve. They have struggled on bars, but are slowly improving there."
The Wildcats scored a season-high 125.625 when they finished second behind Bradley in a quad-meet Jan. 22, but they scored 4.7 points lower when they finished 12th (120.925) in the Sweeney Invitational four days later.
"Their scores were getting better with each meet and I'm sure there's more to come," Eskay said.
"I expect that overall pattern to continue."
Junior Mackenzie Brown had the highest finish for the Wildcats in the Sweeney Invitational, placing second on floor (9.125).
Sophomore Erin Finneran also has been scoring well, according to Eskay.
"I am positive Hilliard will be represented at state (March 1 and 2 at Bradley) and, ideally, I'd like to have representation by all three teams at state," Eskay said. "These girls have a lot of potential. I've told them all that we can only control what we can control. If they have their best physical and mental performances (in the district meet Feb. 23 at Kilbourne), we'll see what happens. You can have your best and still not make it or you can have an off-day and still move on. That's what all of the Hilliard girls need to know and focus on."