Worthington Kilbourne High School gymnastics coach Cindy Fushimi was satisfied and relieved when her team scored 134.375 points to finish third in its 15-team Wolfpack Invitational on Jan. 19.
After opening Dec. 8 by placing second (134.525) in the 16-team Forest Hills Flip Fest at Cincinnati Anderson behind champion Mason (136), the Wolves won their next two meets with scores of 130.675 on Dec. 12 and 132.925 on Jan. 3, leaving Fushimi yearning for more consistency.
"I was surprised we scored so well in our first meet, but then we scored lower in our next two meets with routines that weren't as clean," Fushimi said. "I really wanted to see us score in the 134s or higher again, because the judges are different in Cincinnati and I wanted to see that we could score that well in a meet here in Columbus. I feel a lot better about the way our season is going after we came back and did so well at our own meet against a really strong field."
In the Wolfpack Invitational, Allie Guist placed fourth on the uneven bars (7.65), eighth on vault (8.65) and 12th in the all-around (33.825), Celeste Fushimi-Karns placed 10th on both the vault (8.45) and the balance beam (8.325), tied for 11th on bars (8.25) and was 15th in the all-around (33.625), Selena Fushimi-Karns placed seventh on the floor exercise (9.075), ninth on beam (8.35), tied for 11th on bars (8.25) and was 13th in the all-around (33.775) and Kayla Rice placed 10th on bars (8.4) and 19th in the all-around (32.725).
The Wolves finished behind Findlay (139.925) and Dublin Coffman (137.925) in the meet.
"We had a rough day on beam but a great day on bars," Fushimi said. "We still haven't had a meet where everyone has hit yet, so our team score could still improve.
"So far this season, Allie has been consistent on vault and bars, Selena has improved a lot on bars, Celeste has added harder skills to her bars routine to score better and Kayla is doing well on floor."
Kilbourne beat Dublin Scioto 127.5-100.25 in an OCC-Central Division dual meet on Jan. 23 and was 4-0 in the league before competing against Hilliard Davidson on Jan. 29. The OCC-Central meet is Feb. 9 at Coffman.
Last season, the Wolves captured their third consecutive OCC-Central championship, as they went 5-0 in league duals and finished first in the league meet with 134.75 points, ahead of Olentangy Liberty (126.95), Delaware (116.075), Davidson (111.325), Westland (92.75) and Scioto (83.95).
Kilbourne finished in the overall league standings with 24 points, followed by Liberty (20, 4-1), Davidson (14, 3-2), Delaware (14, 2-3), Scioto (6, 1-4) and Westland (6, 0-5).
"Winning the OCC is important to us," Fushimi said. "We've won it three years in a row and we want that (streak) to continue.
"Liberty is going to be good competition at our league meet. Since we've already scored in the 134s a couple of times, I'd like to see us score in the 135-range or higher in the OCC meet."
Loss hurts Cardinals' chances for OCC title
Thomas suffered a setback last week in its quest to win the OCC-Ohio title when it lost to Dublin Coffman 135.925-126.025 on Jan. 23.
The Cardinals were 3-1 in the league before competing against Hilliard Darby in their final league dual Jan. 29. The OCC-Ohio meet is Feb. 9 at Coffman.
Last season, Thomas went 3-2 in league duals and finished fourth (131.2) in the league meet behind Coffman (136.475), Grove City (136.225) and Olentangy (135.125) and ahead of Upper Arlington (125.875) and Darby (116.075).
In the overall OCC-Ohio standings, the Cardinals finished fourth with 13 points, behind Coffman (24, 5-0), Olentangy (19, 4-1) and Grove City (17, 3-2) and ahead of UA (8, 1-4) and Darby (4, 0-5).
"This is disappointing because we scored almost seven points below what we had scored the previous meet," coach Marci Skeen said. "Leah Carloni won beam with an 8.85, but she was our only girl who didn't fall. Our floor scores were extremely low, too.
"If we do better at our league meet, we can still beat Coffman there and become co-OCC champions, so we'll need to focus on scoring well there."
On Jan. 17, Thomas scored a season-high 133.75 points to beat Olentangy (127.025), UA (123.95) and Grove City (117.25).
Carloni won vault (8.7), bars (9.25) and the all-around (34.85), and Anna Glover was first on beam (9.2) and floor (9.2) and was runner-up in the all-around (34.6).
On Jan. 5, the Cardinals finished second (131.625) in the 12-team Indian Cup at Cincinnati Country Day behind Mason (135.1), as Carloni was third in the all-around (34.45) and Glover was third on beam (8.825).
"I'm glad to see Anna Glover having such a great season as a senior," Skeen said. "Leah Carloni's having a great season, too, and Hannah Johnson and Haley Carnahan have consistently been our third and fourth scorers.
"I want to see us consistently score in the 130s for the rest of the season because that would give us a chance to be one of the top three teams in our district."