The Hilliard Darby High School gymnastics team has a lot room for growth this season, with only one senior on the roster.

The Hilliard Darby High School gymnastics team has a lot room for growth this season, with only one senior on the roster.

"(Darby is) a young team, but I'm really excited about where they are already and where they could potentially be toward the end of the season," said 15th-year coach Carol Eskay, who also coaches Bradley and Davidson. "We're almost five full points ahead of where we were scoring early last year and the skills are coming together earlier."

The Panthers are expected to be led by junior Chloe Shook, a returning state qualifier on the balance beam. She finished 22nd (8.5 points) at state last year after finishing fourth (8.875) at district.

In the Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 17 at Bradley, Shook placed sixth in the all-around (33.25) as the Panthers finished fifth (123.45) behind champion Olentangy (132.4) in the 12-team meet. She was runner-up on beam (8.85), tied for sixth on her uneven bars (7.8) and was eighth on vault (8.4). She scored 8.2 on floor exercise.

"Chloe is coming back and looking to return to state in more than one event," Eskay said. "She just missed qualifying for state in the all-around last year. She's a hard worker and I have to say I've been happy with all of the girls' work ethics. I'm thrilled about their start because they're ahead of the curve. There is still plenty to work on, though."

Morgan Nail is the lone senior. At district last season, she competed in the all-around along with Shook and 2016 graduates Marissa Huffman and Alexis Piascik.

"Morgan is a strong competitor and excellent leader and there are some young girls capable of being top contenders in the district as well," Eskay said.

Darby, which finished 10th at district last year, also has returned junior Liz Avila and sophomores Reema Ayesh, Hailey Hacker and Kaysi Morris.

Rounding out the roster are sophomores Kennedi Larimore, Danielle McGhee and Melanie Wadley and freshmen Yadi Englert, Emma McCann, Caitlin McCann and Marissa McKee.

"Danielle McGhee is a newcomer with plenty of potential and she is really stepping up," Eskay said. "It's going to be fun to see her development."

In the Hilliard Invitational, McGhee placed 18th of 111 competitors in the all-around (31.9), was fifth on floor (8.55) and tied for ninth (8.35) on vault. Nail was 30th in the all-around (27.9) and 26th on floor (8.0).

Caitlin McCann had a 7.6 on beam, Hacker had an 8.05 on floor and 7.75 on vault, Morris had an 8.1 on vault, Avila posted a 7.65 on vault and Ayesh had a 7.15 on floor.

Girls bowling team has high expectations

The girls bowling team is hoping to take the next step this season after making its first Division I district tournament appearance last season.

Darby has returned five bowlers from its postseason lineup when it finished 16th (3,083) of 20 teams at district at Columbus Square Bowling Palace. The returnees are senior Karoline Betteridge, juniors Ash Roberts and Gillian Tinney and sophomores Emily Betteridge and Zoe Paxhia-Poppaw.

"Zoe has high expectations and Karoline is very consistent," ninth-year coach Bob Clute said. "I think all of the girls have high expectations based on last year. I think it could be a very good season if they continue to work hard and focus on their consistency."

Paxhia-Poppaw rolled a 478 three-game series to tie for 52nd of 126 individuals at district last year. Tinney (471) was next for Darby, followed by Karoline Betteridge (430) and Emily Betteridge (288, two games).

The Panthers were 1-1 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North Division before competing against Northland on Dec. 19.

Through two matches, Paxhia-Poppaw led the team with a 173.5 average, followed by Emily Betteridge (166), Karoline Betteridge (155.5), Roberts (137.8) and Tinney (122.8).

Also on the roster are seniors Kayla Bliss and Kaylee Pittman, sophomores Erin Elfrink and Alexis Mohr and freshman Audrey Finfrock.

The boys team has little varsity experience after losing five bowlers from a year ago to graduation and another didn't return.

The Panthers' early season lineup has included all underclassmen in sophomores Nick Carter, Jalen Clisby, Grant Hatfield, Christian Meister and Todd Pilkington and freshmen Josh Larsen and Colton Martin.

Also on the roster are juniors Cam Pierce, Phil Ruiz and Derek Violette, sophomore Alex Hulteen and freshman David Maleh.

Darby was 0-2 overall and 0-2 in the COHSBC-North before competing against Northland on Dec. 19.

Pilkington had a team-high 204 average through two matches, followed by Hatfield (161.3), Meister (154), Martin (123.8) and Larsen (122.5).

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Schedules

BOWLING

*Dec. 6 -- Olentangy Liberty at Sawmill Lanes

*Dec. 9 -- Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes

*Dec. 19 -- Northland at Sequoia Pro Bowl

*Jan. 3 -- Hilliard Davidson at Ten Pin Alley

*Jan. 4 -- New Albany at Gahanna Lanes

*Jan. 5 -- Delaware at Ten Pin Alley

*Jan. 6 -- Hilliard Bradley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*Jan. 9 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Ten Pin Alley

*Jan. 12 -- Westerville Central at Ten Pin Alley

*Jan. 17 -- Gahanna at Ten Pin Alley

*Jan. 19 -- Big Walnut at Capri Lanes

*Jan. 24 -- Marysville at Ten Pin Alley

*Jan. 25 -- Westerville South at Ten Pin Alley

*Jan. 26 -- Groveport at Ten Pin Alley

*Jan. 31 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes

*Feb. 1 -- Thomas Worthington at Ten Pin Alley

*Feb. 3 -- Westerville North at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

GYMNASTICS

Dec. 7 -- at Bradley* with Central Crossing, Franklin Heights, Grove City and Westland

Dec. 10 -- at Upper Arlington with Bradley and Davidson

Dec. 17 -- Hilliard Invitational at Bradley

Jan. 4 -- at Marysville with Delaware*, Buckeye Valley, Bradley and Davidson

Jan. 9 -- at Bradley with Dublin Jerome* and Dublin Scioto*

Jan. 15 -- McGee Invitational at Dublin Coffman

Jan. 25 -- at Thomas* with Bradley

Jan. 28 -- Dresden Tri-Valley Invitational

Feb. 1 -- at Bradley with Worthington Kilbourne*

Feb. 6 -- vs. Bradley, Davidson, Dresden Tri-Valley, Washington Court House Miami Trace and Westerville Central

Feb. 11 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Bradley

Feb. 14 -- at Bradley with Davidson and Thornville Sheridan

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Darby boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 23 -- At Bradley

Dec. 28 -- At Franklin Heights

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 23 -- At Bradley

Dec. 27 -- New Albany in Watterson Christmas Classic

Dec. 28 -- Watterson in Watterson Christmas Classic

WRESTLING

*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

Dec. 27-28 -- Medina Invitational Tournament

*League contest