Sophomore Nikia Scurlock of the Hilliard Davidson High School gymnastics team is seeking a return trip to the state meet later this season and she's hoping to bring her teammate, senior Mallory Berthel.
Last season at state, Scurlock tied for 24th on floor exercise (8.775) and tied for 29th on balance beam (8.55). She's hoping the experience she gained at state as a freshman will help her earn another state berth.
The individual state meet is March 3 at Bradley. The postseason begins with the district meet Feb. 24 at Worthington Kilbourne.
"It's definitely motivating to go back to state," Scurlock said. "I've been working hard to be better than I was last year and keep improving. I've cleaned up a lot (of routines) since last year."
Berthel, who is the only senior on Davidson's roster, is seeking her first state berth.
"That would be absolutely amazing," Berthel said. "I need to do the best that I can do, be the best that I can be and try to beat someone else and just pull it out."
Berthel, who is in her third season with the Wildcats after competing for Midwest Gymnastics & Cheerleading as a freshman, has been dealing with chronic back problems that began when she was competing at the club level.
After leaving Midwest, she took nine months off from the sport before joining Davidson her sophomore year. She wears a back brace when she competes and trains.
"I was told by a specialist that it would be in my best interest to quit gymnastics, so I took about nine months off and decided to come to high school to still be able to be involved in the sport," Berthel said. "I have been doing things based on my pain. I'm still pushing through, getting new skills, trying new things.
"(High school gymnastics is) not as intense as club, but I'm still having a lot of fun."
Coach Carol Eskay and her assistants monitor Berthel's health in practice and meets.
"We're able to in high school make sure that we focus on the things that aren't going to be as stressful," Eskay said. "We have some flexibility in what we focus on and we just try to be smart about it so that we're not constantly stressing it as much."
Davidson will continue preparation for the postseason when it competes in the OCC-Central Division meet Feb. 10 at home. Last season, the Wildcats finished third in the overall league standings with 24 points, behind champion Marysville (32).
"It's been a great season so far," Berthel said. "We had a lot of strong girls come out and do a lot of big things for us, so that's been really good this year. Our team is a lot bigger than usual. It's the biggest team we've had since I've been here."
The Wildcats have 10 gymnasts on this year's roster compared to five in Berthel's first season.
"That's a very good sign," Scurlock said of the increased interest. "I love to see new freshmen coming in."
The Wildcats competed in the eight-team Dawg House Challenge on Jan. 27 at Dresden Tri-Valley.
Scurlock placed fourth of 74 competitors in the all-around with a 34.0. She was third on beam (8.925), eighth on uneven bars (8.075), 10th on floor (8.9) and 13th on vault (8.1).
Berthel was 21st in the all-around (31.35), 10th on vault (8.175) and 22nd on beam (8.15) as Davidson finished fifth (127.875) behind champion Olentangy (138).
Darby placed third (133.25) in the meet and Bradley was fourth (133.2).
"I'm happy that the team has increased over the last few years," Eskay said. "We have a very solid team this year. It's the most depth that we've had in quite a few years. We have no juniors, so we should be returning these girls next year and hopefully we can continue to build."
Swimming teams compete in OCC meet
The swimming and diving teams competed in the OCC-Central meet Jan. 27 at Upper Arlington.
Tyler Endecott led the boys team, winning the 200-yard individual medley in a program-record 1 minute, 58.74 seconds and winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.05.
Endecott also teamed with Dalton Brown, C.W. Hess and Brady Vann to finish third in the 400 freestyle relay (program-record 3:21.76).
Vann was runner-up in the 500 free (4:51.54) and Brown placed third in the 50 free (22.9) for Davidson, which finished third (223 points) behind UA (391) and Dublin Coffman (345) and ahead of Marysville (89) and Central Crossing (83).
For the girls, Riley Ernst won the 200 free (2:01.59) and finished fourth in the 500 free (5:30.36), Brogan Gehring placed third in both the 100 breast (1:09.77) and 200 IM (2:18.1) and Alex Worthington was third in the 100 backstroke (1:04.84).
The Wildcats finished third (166) in the league, behind UA (478) and Coffman (324) and ahead of Marysville (126), Central Crossing (71) and Westland (57).
Boys basketball team looked to end skid
The boys basketball team looked to end a four-game losing streak when it played Thomas Worthington on Jan. 30.
The Wildcats were 7-8 overall before facing the Cardinals are 2-4 in the OCC-Central.
Davidson lost to visiting UA 48-36 in a league game Jan. 26, getting 14 points from Jacob Drees.
Drees scored 15 points in a 62-51 loss at Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 23.
Girls basketball team defeats Patriots
The girls basketball team defeated visiting Liberty 55-50 on Jan. 23 behind 15 points from Emily Simon and 13 from Brianna O'Connor.
Audrey Kaufman had 15 points in a 63-52 loss at UA on Jan. 26.
Davidson was 7-10 overall before playing Kilbourne on Jan. 30 and was 3-4 in the OCC-Central before playing Marysville on Jan. 31.
Below are the coming schedules for the Davidson boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Central Crossing. The Wildcats defeated the Comets 43-40 on Dec. 22.
*Feb. 3 -- At Marysville in makeup from Jan. 12.
*Feb. 2 -- At Central Crossing. The Wildcats defeated the Comets 61-28 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- At Olentangy
*Feb. 5 -- Gahanna at Ten Pin Alley
Feb. 1 -- At Worthington Kilbourne with Bradley and Darby
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 3 -- Upper Arlington Invitational
Feb. 3 -- Rieman Invitational at Delaware