Olentangy Orange High School gymnastics coach Jen Hedrick realizes that the district meet likely will mark the end of her team's season.
If that's the case, she at least wants to see the Pioneers end on a positive note.
The district meet is Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne. The top three teams advance to the state team meet March 1 at Hilliard Bradley and the top nine finishers in each event, including the all-around, advance to the state individual meet March 2 at Bradley.
Last year, Orange finished 15th (123.175 points) at district, well behind state-qualifiers Grove City (140.075), Dublin Coffman (139.375) and Thomas Worthington (137.45), and did not have any individual state qualifiers.
"Our girls probably don't have the experience to beat the best competition in our district to advance to state, so our goal is to score 125 points as a team at district," Hedrick said. "That would be a good score because it's harder to score high at district because the judges score that meet tougher than most other meets, but I think we have the potential to do it if we perform to our full potential."
The Pioneers finished third (120.05) in the OCC-Capital Division meet Feb. 9 at Thomas, behind Bradley (128.925) and Dublin Jerome (122.85) and ahead of Franklin Heights (107.525), Big Walnut (105.5) and Central Crossing (104.35).
Orange, which went 4-1 in league duals, tied Jerome (3-2) for second in the overall OCC-Capital standings with 18 points, behind Bradley (24, 5-0) and ahead of Franklin Heights (10, 1-4), Central Crossing (8, 2-3) and Big Walnut (6, 0-5).
Natalie Heming led the way for Orange in the league meet, placing fourth on the uneven bars (7.55), fifth on vault (8.0) and the floor exercise (8.15) and sixth on the balance beam (7.8) and in the all-around (31.5).
Danielle Chickerella won floor (8.55) and placed fourth on vault (8.125), seventh on beam (7.45) and in the all-around (31.125) and ninth on bars (7.0), and Julia Vogel was 10th on beam (7.25), 11th on floor (7.7), 13th in the all-around (28.625), 14th on bars (6.3) and 16th on vault (7.375).
"Natalie and Danielle have been our leaders all season, but I call those two, along with Julia, Kaleigh (Jurcisek) and Madison (Lindeman), our fabulous five because we're lucky when we get anyone else to score," Hedrick said.
Braves finish third in OCC-Ohio meet
Olentangy finished third (131.7) in the OCC-Ohio meet Feb. 9, behind host Thomas (134.8) and Coffman (141.2) and ahead of Upper Arlington (131.7), Hilliard Darby (123.85) and Grove City (108.5).
The Braves went 3-2 in league duals and finished third in the overall OCC-Ohio standings with 15 points, behind Coffman (24, 5-0) and Thomas (20, 4-1) and ahead of UA (13, 2-3), Grove City (6, 1-4) and Darby (6, 0-5).
Emma Morgan led Olentangy by placing third on floor (8.8), fourth on beam (9.025), eighth on bars (8.5) and in the all-around (34.45) and 10th on vault (8.125).
McKenna Basore was sixth on vault (8.3), eighth on floor (8.55), ninth on beam (8.35), 10th in the all-around (32.9) and 14th on bars (7.7) and Lexi Spence was ninth on vault (8.175) and floor (8.525), 10th on beam (8.3), 15th in the all-around (31.5) and 18th on bars (6.5).
Anna Tantari returned to compete in three events after missing multiple meets with a broken toe and finished ninth on bars (8.475). Felicia Stump, who had been out with a sprained ankle, placed 11th on vault (8.1) and beam (8.25).
"We've had a lot of injuries, so getting Anna and Felicia back has really helped," coach Misty Lloyd-Matthews said. "But we've had a lot of new kids step up and do a good job, including Lexi, Kenna and Emma."
Last season, Olentangy finished fourth (137.225) at district, falling one spot shy of advancing to state as a team for the first time, but had two individual state qualifiers in Bridgette Boyle and Colleen McHugh. Boyle (arm) and McHugh (back) have not been able to compete this season because of injuries.
"We're just hoping to get everyone healthy so we can be at our best for district," Lloyd-Matthews said. "Nobody has been able to touch Dublin Coffman this season, but Kilbourne is right behind them. As for who finishes third, it will depend on who hits that day."
Patriots place third in OCC-Central meet
Liberty finished third (125.525) in the OCC-Central meet Feb. 9 at Thomas, behind Kilbourne (137.45) and Hilliard Davidson (127.225) and ahead of Delaware (111.25), Westland (101.525) and Dublin Scioto (89.25).
The Patriots, who went 4-1 in league duals, tied Davidson (3-2) 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).
The league title is Kilbourne's fourth in a row.
"We were real confident because we practiced hard for (the OCC-Central meet), and I think we did a lot better than in most of our meets," senior co-captain Lauren Uttam said.
Katherine Faircloth led the Patriots in the league meet, placing second on bars (8.475) and floor (8.8), fifth in the all-around (33.825) and sixth on vault (8.25) and beam (8.3).
Uttam finished seventh on bars (7.6), beam (81.5) and in the all-around (31.95), eighth on floor (8.2) and ninth on vault (8.0).
Sophie D'Amico was 10th in the all-around (28.9), 12th on floor (7.85), 13th on beam (7.05), 14th on vault (7.75) and 15th on bars (6.25), and Claire Voisard was eighth on beam (8.05) and 12th on vault (7.8) and bars (8.75).
"I think we scored well as a team," Faircloth said. "I felt good about my routines, especially floor."
Last season, Liberty finished 10th (129.2) at district and had one individual state qualifier in 2012 graduate Jacklyn Hayes.
"We need to be confident and hit on beam and bars to give ourselves a chance at finishing in the top three at district," Uttam said.