Kayla Malik and Gabby Colaiacovo will be leaving the Hilliard Bradley High School gymnastics team the same way they started -- as league champions.
The seniors helped propel the Jaguars to the OCC-Capital Division championship Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington. Bradley scored 128.925 points in the league meet to finish ahead of Dublin Jerome (122.85), Olentangy Orange (120.05), Franklin Heights (107.525), Big Walnut (105.5) and Central Crossing (104.35).
"The school is 4 years old and those two were freshmen when they won it that first year and now they get a second championship as seniors," said coach Carol Eskay, who oversees the Bradley, Darby and Davidson programs. "That's a pretty good deal for them."
Bradley, which went 5-0 in league duals, finished first in the overall OCC-Capital standings with 24 points, ahead of Orange (18, 4-1), Jerome (18, 3-2), Franklin Heights (10, 1-4), Central Crossing (8, 2-3) and Big Walnut (6, 0-5).
In the league meet, Malik won vault (8.275), placed second on the uneven bars (8.425) and floor exercise (32.55) and placed third in the all-around (32.55). She also won the vault title last season.
Malik and Colaiacovo, who placed fifth on bars (7.4), got plenty of help from their teammates.
Sophomore Ally Duckworth won the all-around (33.4) after finishing first on the balance beam (9.05), second on vault (8.175), third on bars (8.05) and sixth on floor (8.125).
"This was definitely more fun this year since the team won," said Duckworth, comparing her all-around title and beam title to the ones she won last season. "Although I had a few falls on bars and floor, winning the team championship made the entire day special."
"Kayla and Ally drive each other and support each other and, when you get that at the top, it carries over throughout the team," Eskay said. "We had our best positive attitude all season and that stems from our leaders: Kayla, Ally and Gabby. They elevate those around them. They really wanted this win as a team, especially since we were unbeaten (in league duals)."
Sophomores Hannah Richards and Erin Lee also placed in the top six in the league meet. Richards was second on beam (8.325), third on floor (8.425), fifth on vault (8.0) and fourth in the all-around (32.0). Lee was sixth on floor (8.125).
"There's lots they can improve on for district," Eskay said.
"It's not like Ally or Kayla was perfect. Nobody was. They both had falls, which is why we stress to everyone that it takes 16 scores to make something like this happen. Not one of those scores is more important than the next. They all count equally."
Next up for Bradley is the district meet Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne.
The top three teams and top nine finishers in each event and the all-around advance to the state meet at Bradley. The team competition is March 1 and the individual competition is March 2.
The Jaguars finished 11th (127.85) of 24 teams in the district meet last season, as Grove City (140.075), Dublin Coffman (139.375) and Thomas (137.45) advanced to state. Duckworth qualified for state on beam, finishing 31st (8.375) at state after placing fourth (8.95) at district.
"We've got to tweak some things for district, but we rarely add difficulty to the routines this late," Eskay said.
"They just need to clean some things up. I'm optimistic that they can make small improvements count a lot at this stage."
Davidson is second in OCC-Central meet
Junior Mackenzie Brown led Davidson to a second-place finish in the OCC-Central meet Feb. 9 at Thomas.
The Wildcats scored a 127.225 to finish behind Kilbourne (137.45) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (125.525), Delaware (111.25), Westland (101.525) and Dublin Scioto (89.25).
Brown won on vault (9.025) and beam (8.975), tied Kilbourne's Kayla Rice for first on floor (9.1) and was sixth on bars (7.675). She was runner-up in the all-around (34.775), behind Rice (34.85).
"Mackenzie had a terrific day," Eskay said. "It's a big honor to be able to place in the top six in everything in the league meet. She's very consistent, but she has room for improvement, too. That's good because the goal is to peak at district."
Eskay said Davidson displayed its depth in the league meet.
"They were without Erin Finneran, who was ill," she said. "She's a top-three scorer. They also had Katie Huffman out with an injury. But we had girls step up and do a great job. I thought Sonya Zaguzina and Ali Byrer stepped up their efforts."
Zaguzina placed fifth on floor (8.45) and eighth in the all-around (31.6), Byrer placed seventh on floor (8.4) and eighth on bars (7.325) and Dianna Petty finished ninth in the all-around (29.125).
Davidson, which went 3-2 in league duals, tied Liberty (4-1) for second in the overall OCC-Central standings with 18 points, behind Kilbourne (24, 5-0) and ahead of Delaware (12, 2-3), Scioto (6, 1-4) and Westland (6, 0-5).
Davidson finished 18th (117.525) at district last season.
Darby places fifth in OCC-Ohio meet
Darby finished fifth (123.85) in the OCC-Ohio meet Feb. 9 at Thomas, behind Coffman (141.2), Thomas (134.8), Olentangy (131.7) and Upper Arlington (131.7) and ahead of Grove City (108.5).
The Panthers would have placed second behind Bradley in the OCC-Capital and fourth in the OCC-Central with that score.
"It was a great day in terms of how they performed," Eskay said.
"That's the toughest OCC division and they also were without Nicole Norris, who's a good scorer but is out with an ankle injury."
Audrey Craddick had the Panthers' best all-around total, finishing 13th with a 32.175. Carrie Snider placed eighth on floor (8.55), Sierra Ridenour was eighth on vault (8.2) and Janel Kuebler finished ninth on floor (8.525).
"I was really happy with how the girls performed on the bars," Eskay said. "They've struggled with that all season, but they had their best day on bars yet. They had a very strong performance."
Darby, which went 0-5 in league duals, tied Grove City (1-4) for fifth in the overall OCC-Ohio standings with six points, behind Coffman (24, 5-0), Thomas (20, 4-1), Olentangy (15, 3-2) and UA (13, 2-3).
The Panthers finished 14th (123.45) at district last season.