The Hilliard Bradley High School gymnastics team entered the week in good position to repeat as OCC-Capital Division champion.
The Jaguars were 5-0 in the revamped eight-team league.
They will compete against Marysville on Friday, Jan. 17, at Darby before closing their league dual schedule Jan. 29 against Dublin Jerome.
Bradley won league duals against Franklin Heights (130.2-69.15 on Dec. 6), Westerville Central (128.85-128.7 on Dec. 9), Central Crossing (131.175-121.2 on Dec. 20), and Big Walnut (127.1-113.3 on Jan. 10).
Last season, the Jaguars went 5-0 in league duals, scored 128.925 points in the league meet to edge runner-up Dublin Jerome (122.85) and finished first in the overall OCC-Capital standings with 24 points as Orange (18, 4-1) and Jerome (18, 3-2) tied for second.
"Bradley is off to a strong start," said Carol Eskay, who also coaches Darby and Davidson.
"They have a few top-notch gymnasts and have depth and some good senior leadership. As we wind down toward the OCC championships and postseason, we need to just focus on cleaning up a few skills. We're still trying to develop some depth on (uneven) bars."
The Jaguars are led by Ally Duckworth, who is the defending league champion in the all-around.
In the 12-team Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 14, the junior won the all-around (35.1) and floor exercise (9.125), placed second (9.175) on balance beam and fourth (8.2) on bars, as the Jaguars finished fourth (128.85) behind Upper Arlington (132.575), Grove City (132.025) and Worthington Kilbourne (130.225).
The Hilliard Invitational is the only non-league meet in which Bradley has competed thus far.
"Ally is having a very strong season in all events and obviously is the leader for Bradley," Eskay said.
"But (juniors) Hannah Richards and Laney Colaiacovo also have been strong contributors, and Grace Jones has been great for a freshman. They're getting good senior leadership from Madison McDonnell and Erin Joyce."
Jones placed third (8.35) on bars in the Hilliard Invitational.
Also on the team are juniors Micaela Morales and Emily Wawrzyniak and sophomores Taylor Hassel, Emily Tamburro and Emily Vitek.
Norris helping to lead Panthers
Darby has been led by senior Nicole Norris, junior Janel Kuebler and sophomore Audrey Craddick.
"Nicole is having a very nice season and seems to be getting stronger all the time," Eskay said. "We need to clean some things up because every one-tenth of a point is important.
"Janel has a good base going and we just need to add some difficulty, and Audrey needs to add some consistency and clean some things just to inch up her score. Those three girls have been consistently solid in all four events."
Senior Priya Mehra and sophomore Marissa Huffman also have become solid contributors, Eskay said.
Others contributors are sophomores Hannah Donovan and Elizabeth Ferry and freshmen Ashley Millikin and Morgan Nail.
Darby is 1-2 in the six-team OCC-Ohio and will compete against Grove City in a league dual as part of a six-team home meet Friday, Jan. 17.
Thus far in league competition, the Panthers have defeated Thomas Worthington (128.25-126.8 on Dec. 6) and have lost to UA (131.85-128.975 on Dec. 20) and Olentangy (128.4-126.15 on Jan. 10). Their final league dual is Jan. 29 against Dublin Coffman.
Darby, which tied Grove City (6) for fifth in the overall OCC-Ohio standings last season behind champion Coffman (24), finished seventh (123.575) in the Hilliard Invitational.
Wildcats lack depth, in rebuilding mode
Davidson has only six gymnasts on its roster, and one of those gymnasts, senior Samantha Class, is expected to miss the remainder of the season with an injury, Eskay said.
"Although this is a rebuilding year and Davidson lacks depth in numbers, the girls have more opportunities to improve themselves during competition because they all must compete," Eskay said. "They are all doing a great job."
According to Eskay, senior Dianna Petty and juniors Caitlin Johnson and Sonya Zaguzina have been the top performers for the Wildcats thus far, but senior Lydia Gordon and sophomore Kaitlyn Phillips aren't far behind.
"Zaguzina is their strongest gymnast, but they're all working hard and improving," Eskay said. "They're setting goals and working to attain them."
Davidson is 1-3 in the six-team OCC-Central and will conclude its league dual schedule Friday, Jan. 17, at Darby against Delaware as part of a six-team meet.
The Wildcats tied Olentangy Liberty (18) for second in the overall OCC-Central standings last season behind Kilbourne (24).
Thus far in league competition, Davidson has defeated Dublin Scioto (116.4-100.6 on Dec. 6) and Westland (114.625-102.55 on Dec. 20) and has lost to Liberty (120.9-112.85 on Jan. 10).