Olentangy Orange High School gymnastics coach Jen Hedrick said there's no reason for her team to be alarmed even though its score dropped in each of its last two meets.
The Pioneers scored a season-high 122.44 points in a tri-meet Dec. 13 to finish behind Buckeye Valley (124.55) and ahead of Marysville (112.15).
Orange then won (120.7) a Jan. 3 quad meet ahead of Central Crossing (115), Westland (104.25) and Franklin Heights (83.35) and finished third (season-low 118.075) in a Jan. 13 quad meet behind Worthington Kilbourne (137.625) and Hilliard Bradley (127.3) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (113.425).
"Our girls are definitely improving. We just haven't seen it in the team scores of our last two meets because we've had them trying out more technical skills and their new routines aren't clean yet," Hedrick said. "Our team scores are a bit lower at the moment because we're playing around with their routines and adding more difficulty.
"But this should help us in the long run, because they should have higher scores once they get used to doing more difficult skills while keeping their routines clean."
The Pioneers, who are 3-2 in the OCC-Capital Division, play host Feb. 1 to a tri-meet with Big Walnut and Dublin Jerome to conclude their league duals.
"We've learned which skills our girls are capable of doing now, so I'd like to see us score a 124 or 125 as a team in our next meet," Hedrick said.
Finishing second for Orange on Jan. 3 were Natalie Herning on uneven bars (7.2) and balance beam (7.75), Danielle Chickerella on floor exercise (8.4) and Hannah Reeves on vault (8.1).
"Natalie, Danielle and Hannah have consistently been our top three performers, but we've been able to count on Julia Vogel and Michelle Dake, too," Hedrick said.
Patriots showing improvement
Liberty scored a season-high 123 to finish second in a five-team meet Jan. 14 behind Thomas Worthington (126.95), as Alena Southwick was second on vault (8.15).
Four days earlier, the Patriots finished fourth (120.9) of six teams behind champion Olentangy (128.4), as Katherine Faircloth won floor (8.9).
Liberty was 2-0 in the OCC-Central before competing against league opponent Dublin Scioto and Dresden Tri-Valley on Jan. 20.
"We're doing well and we're all supportive of each other," Southwick said. "We haven't had the drama that we've had in previous years. On (Jan. 14) our music wasn't working at first, but we calmly got everything worked out and had our best meet of the season."
The Patriots compete in the Worthington Kilbourne Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 25, with the host Wolves, Beavercreek, Delaware, DeSales, Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome, Findlay, Grove City, Mason, Oregon Clay and Westerville Central.
"This will be our first big meet of the season and we're putting in a lot of difficult practices to try to get better, especially on the vault," Southwick said. "We're all adding skills to our routines because our goal is to get a 130 team score before the season is over."
Braves finish fourth in McGee meet
Olentangy scored a season-best 131.5 during an OCC-Ohio loss to Grove City (135.45) on Dec. 20.
The Braves finished fourth (129.325) in the McGee Invitational on Jan. 18 at Coffman behind champion Mentor (141.35). Lexie Spence was fifth on beam (8.85) and Emma Morgan was ninth on bars (8.325) and tied for ninth on beam (8.5).
Olentangy is 1-2 in the OCC-Ohio.