Chloe Shook of the Hilliard Darby High School gymnastics team is seeking a third consecutive trip to the state meet this season.
The senior finished 23rd (34.95) of 33 competitors in the all-around at state a year ago. She also tied for 17th on both floor exercise (8.875) and balance beam (8.85) and finished 19th on uneven bars (8.725).
Shook, who placed fifth in the all-around at district last season with a career-high 35.4, qualified for state on beam as a sophomore, finishing 22nd (8.5).
"I am so excited about where Chloe is starting this season," 16th-year coach Carol Eskay said. "She's in good shape to have a wonderful senior season. I think she has really sharpened her focus and worked hard on all of her skills."
In the Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 16 at Davidson, Shook placed second (34.975) in the all-around, second on beam (8.85), second on floor (9.0) and third on bars (8.825). She also tied for ninth on vault (8.3).
Dublin Coffman's Bethany Hurt (36.575) won the all-around.
"Chloe is special, no doubt," said Eskay, who also coaches Bradley and Davidson. "But what I really like about Darby this season is the depth and balance of the team. We've got 18 girls on the roster and a lot of talented, younger girls that give us options, and that's great for the future."
The Panthers have returned one other gymnast in sophomore Caitlin McCann, who finished 66th (29.5) in the all-around at district last season when the team placed seventh (127.825) of 23 teams.
In the Hilliard Invitational, freshman Jenna Hartwell tied for ninth on floor (8.6) and placed 15th in the all-around (31.5). Also in the all-around, freshman Laurel Bonn finished 17th (30.75) and classmate Kathryn Kline tied for 18th (30.675).
Also competing were freshman Bailey Miller, who tied for 10th on bars (8.0), and classmate Michaela Hamet, who finished 19th on vault (7.925).
Rounding out the roster are seniors Liz Avila and Kaysi Morris, juniors Reema Ayesh and Hailey Hacker, sophomores Yadi Englert, Scarlett Evans, Claire Huffman, Emma McCann, Marissa McKee and Mikenna Spring and freshman Celia How.
Girls bowlers have high expectations
The girls bowling team has returned four starters from last season when it finished 15th in the Division I district tournament.
The returnees are seniors Ash Roberts and Gillian Tinney and juniors Zoe Paxhia-Poppaw and Emily Betteridge. Last season, Paxhia-Poppaw had a 167.5 game average, followed by Betteridge (161.6), Roberts (153.1) and Tinney (136.4).
"With four returning starters, I am looking forward to a strong season," 10th-year coach Bob Clute said. "They all worked on their game, bowling in leagues during the offseason, and have shown improvements so far this season."
The Panthers lost 2017 graduate Karoline Betteridge, who led Darby at district a year ago by rolling a 461 three-game series to tie for 60th of 133 bowlers.
Newcomers include freshmen Sarah Leming, Callie Mann, Jayde Martin and Lyndsey Seagraves.
"I am looking for one or two of the newcomers to step up," Clute said. "They all have made tremendous progress so far and, with continued improvement, this could be a very strong season.
"With our experience and team camaraderie, our goals are to win the (OCC-Cardinal Division) title and the (Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division) title and to qualify for district as a team again."
The Panthers were 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before competing against Newark on Dec. 20. They defeated Centennial 1,777-1,632 on Dec. 18 to improve to 4-0 in the COHSBC-B.
Darby returns to action Jan. 9 against Lancaster at Tiki Lanes.
Through four matches, Rob-erts led the team in average (176.9), followed by Betteridge (160.2), Paxhia-Poppaw (152), Tinney (142.8), Seagraves (109.4) and Martin (108).
Darby defeated Davidson 1,719-1,354 on Dec. 4 and Bradley 1,848-1,672 on Dec. 6 before losing to Delaware 1,776-1,569 on Dec. 7. The Panthers then beat Pickerington Central 1,578-1,327 on Dec. 14.
Three bowlers back for boys team
The boys bowling team has returned a solid core in juniors Nick Carter, Josh Larsen and Christian Meister and is counting on newcomers to round out its lineup.
Last season, Meister had a 165.1 average, Carter averaged 160.6 and Larsen averaged 146.5.
"We have three solid bowlers back who dedicated themselves to getting better during the offseason and are doing great so far, and we have another solid bowler up from j.v. in (senior) Derek Violette," Clute said. "We have two others that were on j.v. last year who have shown a lot of improvement in (juniors) Jalen Clisby and Alex Hulteen. They are working hard and, with their continued improvement, we could have a very good season."
The Panthers, who finished 1-18 last season, were 4-1 overall before competing against Newark on Dec. 20.
Darby defeated Davidson 2,117-2,096 on Dec. 4, Bradley 2,183-1,951 on Dec. 6 and Delaware 2,207-2,146 on Dec. 7 before losing to Pickerington Central 1,964-1,788 on Dec. 14. The Panthers rebounded to beat Centennial 1,935-1,481 on Dec. 18.
Through four matches, Carter was leading the team with a 190.8 average, followed by Meister (189.4), Larsen (176.3), Violette (162.1) and Hulteen (137.5).
*Dec. 4 -- Davidson at Game of Western Columbus
*Dec. 6 -- Bradley at Game of Western Columbus
*Dec. 7 -- Delaware at Game of Western Bowl
*Dec. 14 -- Pickerington Central at Rule 3
*Dec. 18 -- Centennial at Game of Western Bowl
*Dec. 20 -- Newark at Game of Western Bowl
*Jan. 9 -- Lancaster at Tiki Lanes
*Jan. 10 -- Reynoldsburg at Game of Western Bowl
*Jan. 12 -- Pickerington North at Game of Western Bowl
*Jan. 16 -- Groveport at Game of Western Bowl
*Jan. 25 -- Thomas Worthington at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 26 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 30 -- Columbus Academy at HP Lanes
Dec. 6 -- at Marysville with Central Crossing, Bradley, Davidson and Thornville Sheridan
Dec. 11 -- at Davidson with Central Crossing, Bradley, Franklin Heights, Grove City and Westland
Dec. 16 -- Hilliard Invitational at Davidson
Jan. 5 -- at Davidson with Bradley, *Delaware, *Thomas Worthington and Washington Court House Miami Trace
Jan. 9 -- at Upper Arlington with Bradley, Davidson and Olentangy
Jan. 13 -- McGee Invitational at Dublin Coffman
Jan. 17 -- at Dublin Coffman with Bradley, Davidson, Delaware, *Dublin Jerome and *Dublin Scioto
Jan. 23 -- at Davidson with Bradley, Delaware, Dresden Tri-Valley and Thomas Worthington
Jan. 27 -- Dresden Tri-Valley Invitational
Feb. 1 -- at *Worthington Kilbourne with *Bradley and Davidson
Feb. 10 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Davidson
Feb. 13 -- at Davidson with Big Walnut, Bradley, Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy Orange
Below are the coming schedules for the Darby girls basketball and wrestling teams:
Dec. 27 -- Chillicothe in Watterson Christmas Classic
Dec. 28 -- Cincinnati Seton in Watterson Christmas Classic
*Dec. 21 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
Dec. 27-28 -- Medina Invitational Tournament