Freshman Kayla Malik of the Hilliard Bradley High School gymnastics team doesn't see much difference between her squad and those at Darby and Davidson.

Freshman Kayla Malik of the Hilliard Bradley High School gymnastics team doesn't see much difference between her squad and those at Darby and Davidson.

It's easy to understand why. Not only do the gymnasts from all three schools live in the same community, but they practice together under the same coach, Carol Eskay, who has coached Darby and Davidson the last seven seasons.

All three teams participated in the Hilliard Invitational last Saturday at Bradley. Darby placed third with 125.05 points behind Dublin Coffman (129.7) and Grove City (127.1), with Bradley placing sixth (119.325) and Davidson finishing 14th (105.675).

"(The invitational) brought us together," said Malik, who tied Coffman's Katie Strand for first on the uneven bars with 8.65 points. "Even though we go to three different schools, we all cheer each other on."

Overseeing a third team hasn't been too difficult for Eskay.

"There hasn't been much of a difference," she said. "I'm just dividing my time, so I can spend time with all of the teams."

For the most part, the three teams will compete in the same meets. One of the few exceptions is in the OCC, as Darby is in the OCC-Ohio Division with Coffman, Grove City, Olentangy, Thomas Worthington and Upper Arlington. Davidson is in the OCC-Central with Delaware, Dublin Scioto, Olentangy Liberty, Westland and Worthington Kilbourne. Bradley is in the newly-formed OCC-Capital with Big Walnut, Central Crossing, Dublin Jerome, Mount Vernon and Olentangy Orange.

The OCC-Ohio and OCC-Central have been realigned since last season.

"I like having (the three teams) in their own separate leagues," Eskay said. "That way they can have their own identity and their own individual goals they can shoot for."

•Davidson finished eighth (137.075) at the state meet last season, behind champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (145.825).

The Wildcats have only six gymnasts, including three returnees in seniors Devon Lewis, Holly Lundregan and Katie Wadas. Also on the team are freshmen Bree Hunt, Vanessa Murphy and Lindsey Schad.

Davidson competed at the Hilliard Invitational without Wadas, who has an ankle injury. Competing for the first time since fracturing an ankle in the summer, senior Holly Lundregan placed fourth (33.85) in the all-around, second (8.85) on vault, third (8.7) on the floor exercise, fifth on bars (7.925) and eighth (8.375) on the balance beam.

"We have a lot of injured people right now, but I think things will get better," Lundregan said. "I think it's going to come down to attitude."

In the individual competition at state last year, Lundregan tied Rocky River Magnificat's Kathleen Cooney for fifth (9.175) on beam and was 12th (35.975) in the all-around after finishing 16th (9.1) on floor, 22nd (8.85) on vault and tying Mason's Rebekah Wooten for 11th (8.85) on bars.

"The state meet helped them a lot," Eskay said. "All three of our seniors have been to the state team meet twice now, and they have a lot of leadership and good experience under their belts."

Davidson lost graduate Kyla Schmalenberger, who was 29th (34.125) in the all-around at state last season. The Wildcats also lost Taylor Brown, who decided to return to club gymnastics for her junior year after placing 16th (8.925) on vault at the individual state competition last year.

Last season, Davidson placed second (135.875) in the OCC-Capital meet behind Grove City (137.75) and second at district (138.225) behind Coffman (139.175).

The Wildcats have qualified for the state team competition the last two seasons, but Eskay has taken a "wait-and-see" approach this year.

"We try to keep everything in focus and not let things get out of scope," she said. "If you look too far down the road, you tend to miss what is happening right in front of you."

Davidson placed third (102) behind Darby (120.825) and Bradley (115.975) and ahead of Zanesville Rosecrans (29.3) in a quad-meet on Dec. 11.

•Darby junior Meghan Parsley is looking to get back to state this season.

As a freshman, Parsley was 34th (32.625) in the all-around at state, scoring an 8.4 on floor, 8.3 on bars, 8.0 on vault and 7.925 on beam. Last year, she was a state alternate, after tying Strand and Dublin Scioto's Minori Minagawa for eighth (8.55) on bars at district. Minagawa won the tiebreaker to secure the final state berth.

"It's definitely driving me this season," said Parsley, who was second (33.975) in the all-around at the Hilliard Invitational after placing third (8.7) on vault, fourth (8.1) on bars, fifth (8.6) on floor and sixth (8.575) on beam. "It was my goal to make it all four years. Last year I was the alternate, so I really want to get back there this year."

Darby has 13 gymnasts and is expected to be led by Parsley and seniors Ashley Bulinski, Leah Klatt and Anne Valentino.

Klatt was an individual state qualifier as a sophomore, tying for 29th (8.3) on bars. At the Hilliard Invitational, she tied for sixth (8.55) on floor and tied for seventh (7.45) on bars.

Last season, Darby finished second (133.75) at the OCC-Ohio meet behind Coffman (137.575) and finished seventh (130.625) at district.

"Having 13 girls is going to be a big key for us," Eskay said. "We have a lot of depth in a lot of events."

The Panthers won a quad-meet on Dec. 11, scoring 120.825 to finish ahead of Bradley (115.975), Davidson (102) and Rosecrans (29.3). Parsley was first on vault (8.3), balance beam (8.375), floor exercise (8.375) and the all-around (33.0).

•Bradley has a young squad in its inaugural season, as its roster consists of sophomores Vicki Horton, Lauren McCabe, Kate Roberts and Jaimee Robinson and freshmen Gabby Colaiacovo, Emma Lairson, Ashley Mayse and Malik.

All four sophomores competed for Darby last season.

"I have a lot of strengths on that team," Eskay said. "They're in a competitive spot coming right out the door. That's pretty unusual for gymnastics."

Bradley finished second (115.975) in a quad-meet on Dec. 11 behind Darby (120.825) and ahead of Davidson (102) and Zanesville Rosecrans (29.3). Malik was first on bars (8.35).