With all-around scores consistently in the high 120s, the Dublin Jerome High School gymnastics team has finished near the top of many of its meets this season.
The addition of sophomore Grace Krouse and freshman Izzy Willms, combined with a returning group that has been led by junior Parker Sickels, has the Celtics feeling optimistic with the regular season winding down.
Jerome was 3-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before competing against Thomas Worthington on Jan. 31, and the league meet is Feb. 10 at Davidson.
"We've got a pretty good team," Krouse said. "I love all my teammates. It's kind of like a little family."
Krouse, who competed at the club level as a freshman before electing to join the Celtics' program this season, is one of the team's best competitors on vault. She has her eye on breaking the program mark of 9.35 in that event.
Jerome scored 128.925 in a seven-team meet Jan. 17 at Coffman to finish behind Hilliard Darby (129.05) and Hilliard Bradley (130.175) as Krouse was third in the all-around and Sickels was sixth.
Willms, who is the younger sister of coach Kristen Willms, has limited her competition because of a foot injury with the hope of being healthy for the league meet as well as the postseason.
"I like what I'm seeing," coach Willms said. "We have a lot more potential, and I think that's where I get frustrated because we're not there yet. There's a lot more we could be doing. Right now, we're doing really well. I'm going to only graduate one senior, so it's a young team."
Swim teams capture league championships
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams each earned OCC-Cardinal championships Jan. 26 and 27 at Thomas Worthington.
It marked the fourth consecutive league title for the boys program, while the girls were runners-up a year ago but won their fifth league title in six seasons.
The boys squad scored 412 points to easily top the seven-team league field, finishing ahead of Delaware (222), Thomas (150), Scioto (145), Worthington Kilbourne (137), Darby (115) and Bradley (60).
The Celtics took the top three spots in the 200-yard freestyle, with Reid Newman winning in 1 minute, 48.97 seconds, ahead of Westin Fishel (1:49.98) and Grant Cicci (1:51.93), and the top three spots in the 200 individual medley, with Reno James (2:00.8) finishing first ahead of Austin Davis (2:03.81) and Ian Smith (2:04.75).
Max Scott finished first (22.3) and Elek Kayuha was runner-up (22.67) in the 50 free, Matt Shepard was first (55.16) and Cicci was runner-up (55.45) in the 100 butterfly and James finished first (4:54.88) and Newman was second (4:55.65) in the 500 free.
Also winning were Scott in the 100 free (49.16), Davis in the 100 backstroke (55.86), Smith in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.91), the 200 free relay of Cicci, Fishel, Kayuha and Scott (1:26.44), the 200 medley relay of Graham Carpenter, Davis, James and Kayuha (1:41.24) and the 400 free relay of Cicci, Fishel, Scott and Smith (3:17.71).
Joey Haas was runner-up in diving (339.65).
The girls scored 264.5 points to edge Delaware (244) for the title. Thomas (204) was third, followed by Darby (172.5), Scioto (154), Kilbourne (137) and Bradley (79).
Jerome took the top two spots in diving, with Alyssa Heinlen scoring 403.7 points and Hayley Jacobs scoring 387.25 to lead the six-competitor field.
Capturing swimming titles were Maya Geringer in the 200 free (1:57.93) and 500 free (5:31.16), Lauren Cooper in the 100 free (54.94), the 200 free relay of Brenna Cooper, Lauren Cooper, Geringer and Emma Mathews (1:42.94) and the 200 medley relay of Brenna Cooper, Lauren Cooper, Geringer and Mathews (1:52.68).
Alyssa Heinlen finished first in diving (388.15), leading an eight-competitor field.
Earning runner-up finishes were Brenna Cooper in the 100 breast (1:10.11), Lauren Cooper in the 50 free (25.1) and Claudia Sherrer in the 100 back (1:04.29).
The Celtics next compete Feb. 10 in a Division I sectional at Kenyon College.
Boys basketball team out to avenge losses
The boys basketball team has the chance to avenge a pair of OCC-Cardinal losses when it plays Friday, Feb. 2, at Darby and Tuesday, Feb. 6, at home against Bradley.
Bradley, which is 12-1 overall and leading the OCC-Cardinal at 7-0, held Jerome to a season-low point total in a 48-30 decision Dec. 22.
On Jan. 5, the Celtics got 12 points from Trey Ballengee and 11 from Joey Pickering but came up short against Darby, losing 57-55 as the Panthers' Chandler Barlow had 18 points and Andrew Patrick scored 12.
The Panthers were 10-6 overall before playing Canal Winchester on Jan. 30 and are 6-2 in the league.
Jerome improved to 4-4 in the league with a 50-34 victory over Thomas on Jan. 26 and was 9-6 overall before playing Mansfield Senior on Jan. 30.
The Celtics got 12 points from Lucas House and nine from Joseph Gatien against the Cardinals.
In a 56-50 overtime win over Perrysburg on Jan. 27, House had 17 points, Ballengee scored 13 and Preston Streator added 11.
Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, hockey and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 2 -- At Hilliard Darby. The Celtics lost to the Panthers 57-55 on Jan. 5.
*Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley. The Celtics lost to the Jaguars 48-30 on Dec. 22.
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Darby. The Celtics beat the Panthers 40-38 on Jan. 5.
*Feb. 6 -- At Bradley. The Celtics lost to the Jaguars 35-25 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 3 -- Coffman, Scioto and Olentangy at Central Ohio Gymnastics & Cheerleading
Feb. 7 -- At Coffman with Scioto, Central Crossing, Grove City, Upper Arlington and Westland
*Feb. 2 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 3 -- Springboro at South Metro Ice in Dayton
Feb. 6 -- At DeSales