The Central Crossing High School gymnastics team has a small roster but its six athletes are interchangeable, which gives the coaching staff numerous options during meets.

The program has seven fewer athletes than last season, but the Comets have gained flexibility.

"If I take a look at the girls on the team, I see that they are all evenly talented," said assistant coach Brittany Maynard, who is the daughter of 16th-year head coach Lavon Maynard. "It's one of those kinds of teams that I can pick any girl out and she can go in any event and we can expect her to do well for the team.

"That's very uncommon in this sport because you usually have kids who excel in one area and not so much in the others. We have six girls and you only need four for a team score, so we can really pick and choose from them to help our score."

The Comets have three seniors in Mackenzie Turner, Heather Watkins and Katlyn Wooten, who is in her third season with the program. Turner and Watkins are in their second season.

"I have done cheer and dance all of my life, so (gymnastics) is like a mixture of that," Watkins said. "It's like a whole new world compared to every other sport.

"Cheer is like a team sport and if you mess up it affects the whole team. In gymnastics, it's more of an individual sport and it's more about you than the team."

Rounding out the roster are sophomore Shelby Klinger and freshmen Jasmyn Phillips and Megan Reedy.

"At Central (Crossing), we're used to having bigger teams, but this has given our three seniors a chance to compete in all-around again," Maynard said. "In the past they haven't had that opportunity.

"It has put a little extra pressure on our freshmen and underclassmen, and all three of them are in their first year of the sport at Central Crossing. It can be a lot of pressure to come out and be expected to compete in every event, but they are doing well."

The Comets opened Dec. 11 in a seven-team meet at Hilliard Davidson, finishing sixth (90.825) behind champion Hilliard Darby (129.775).

"That first meet comes fast, especially since we don't get to start practicing until November and we have a meet in the first week of December," Maynard said. "It was good to see them have some self-motivation and not need us as coaches to help them. They saw what they needed to work on and have been focused on improving those skills."

Wooten said she definitely found some areas in which she can improve in the coming weeks.

"I feel like I had a good first meet and I'm excited to see where the rest of the season goes," she said. "I definitely have gained a lot of new skills and I have a lot of confidence, but I still have a lot to work on."

Still, Maynard likes the direction her athletes are heading.

"They are a strong group," she said. "They might not have experience at Central Crossing, but they bring previous experience with them whether it be from cheerleading, club gymnastics or trampoline and tumbling.

"They have had some sort of competitive experience and some kind of tumbling experience that can help them. That has helped our team score go up and our team dynamic go up because they are working to get new skills to help the team."

Boys basketball team loses three in a row

The boys basketball team won its first two games but had lost three consecutive contests to drop to 2-3 overall before playing Canal Winchester on Dec. 19.

The Comets lost to Upper Arlington 58-47 on Dec. 8 in their league opener before falling to Ready 65-62 on Dec. 12. Mike Woods led with 20 points, Keason Lowe had 13 points with three 3-pointers and Eddie Ferguson added 12 points.

Woods had 14 points as Central Crossing lost to Marysville 52-51 on Dec. 15 to drop to 0-2 in the OCC-Central Division.

Through five games, Woods was averaging 17.6 points and Lowe was averaging 9.8 points.

Mattox wins title at Hoover

Jaden Mattox led the wrestling team in the North Canton Hoover Holiday Invitational on Dec. 15 and 16, winning the 160-pound championship.

The senior went 5-0 and had four pins. Mattox defeated Canonsburg (Pennsylvania) Canon-McMillan's Gerrit Nijenhuis 8-4 in the final.

Noah Ross (106) and Devin Wood (132) were 3-2 for the Comets, who finished 16th (70.5) of 33 teams behind champion Wadsworth (241).

Mason Morris (170) was 2-2 and Chase Brooks (152), Ryan Fahy (138), Derek Layne (145), Hudson Leapley (120) and Bobby Logan (heavyweight) all were 1-2.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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Schedules

GYMNASTICS

Dec. 11 -- at Hilliard Davidson* with Franklin Heights*, Grove City*, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby and Westland*

Dec. 20 -- DeSales, Franklin Heights, Thornville Sheridan, Westerville Central and Westland at Worthington Youth Boosters

Jan. 10 -- at Marysville* with Buckeye Valley and Westland

Jan. 29 -- at Upper Arlington* with Franklin Heights, Grove City and Westland

Feb. 7 -- at Dublin Coffman* with Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Franklin Heights, Grove City and Westland

Feb. 10 -- OCC-Central meet at Hilliard Davidson

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 22 -- At Davidson

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 21 -- Athens, Loudonville, Mount Vernon and Watkins Memorial at Kenyon College

*League contest