Coach Jen Hedrick is quite familiar with starting a program.
Hedrick is setting the foundation for the Olentangy Berlin High School gymnastics program this season, 11 years after starting the program at Orange.
"I go back, and I don't even remember back that far," said Hedrick, who also continues to coach Orange. "I do feel the (school) district has made a big deal out of Berlin, and it probably has a lot to do with (athletics director) John Betz and the principal, Todd Spinner. They have done a great job of promoting athletics and focusing on all of the little firsts for the programs."
The Bears had their first meet Dec. 12 at Thomas Worthington, winning the four-team event with 130.8 points, ahead of runner-up Dresden Tri-Valley (129.3).
Junior Megan McGuire led Berlin, winning the floor exercise (9.1) and finishing third in the all-around, uneven bars (7.6) and vault (8.3). Junior Olivia Boone placed second on vault (8.85) and fourth in the all-around and floor (8.5), and sophomore Abby Marks placed second on bars (8.55) and was fifth in the all-around.
"We get to start from the bottom, so it's really awesome to just build our legacy," Boone said. "Each meet we want to increase and get better every time. It's not like we're all new friends because we have known each other for a while, so coming together and being one team is just awesome."
Boone is one of three gymnasts for Berlin who competed last season at Olentangy, which finished fifth (140.825) in the state team tournament behind champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (146.7). The others are sophomores Kennedy Jesenovec and Madison Nietfeld.
"I went to state both my freshman and sophomore year (as an individual) and it's stressful because it's just you out there by yourself," Boone said. "It's a lot like when I was in club. It's more of an individual thing, but your whole team is up there in the stands cheering you on and it's great.
"(Competing at state) as a team is so much better because of the energy in (the gym). It can be intimidating because there are schools from all over Ohio that you don't know much about. We all came together as a team and tried to only focus on our team and what we could do. It would be great to be able to do that with a new school like Berlin."
Juniors Irene Gut and Demera Harrison and freshmen Paige Dargatz, Elise Hedrick and Alex Hinton round out the roster.
"I knew before taking over (the program) that Berlin had a chance to be good," coach Hedrick said. "My daughter (Elise) goes to Berlin and I knew that group of girls coming from (Central Ohio Gymnastics) were going to be good. It should be an exciting season."
Bowling teams lack much experience
Coach Duane Joseph is pleased with the turnout for the inaugural seasons of the bowling programs.
The Bears have 10 boys and 11 girls but only two have competed in the sport at the high-school level. Joseph said junior Hunter Kraft of the boys team got in some varsity matches for Olentangy last season, while sophomore Ariana Cleveland of the girls team competed for Olentangy's junior varsity.
"I think it's going well and we have good numbers for being a first-year program with no seniors," Joseph said. "We have a bunch of first-year bowlers. Hunter and Ariana are the only two who have bowled competitively before.
"You start with the basics and try to teach them the fundamentals. We had some open practices before the season started and that helped us get a few kids going."
The girls team was 2-5 overall, 2-4 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference A-Division and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal after losing to Delaware 2,020-1,611 on Dec. 17.
Through six matches, sophomore Isabella Bland led the Bears with a 135.9 average, followed by freshman Michele Starner (132.9), junior Eve Pennington (117.9), freshman Margherita Conrad (116.4) and Cleveland (97.9).
Junior Shelby Buck also has competed.
The boys team was 1-6 overall, 0-6 in the COHSBC-A and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal after losing to Delaware 2,198-1,725.
Junior Logan Wright led the Bears with a 153.4 average through six matches, followed by Kraft (148.0), freshman Jacoby Oliverio (135.7) and sophomore Mason D'Amore (131.2). Junior Brody Moore and sophomore Peyton Kruse also have competed.
"The kids went from no experience to going into a tournament with 26 or 27 teams, which can be tough," said Joseph, who previously was an assistant at Liberty and Westerville North. "They will only get better with experience.
"The support of the school and all of the kids have been great. I can't say enough about how supportive AD John Betz has been as well as principal Todd Spinner. It's been a good atmosphere to build a program."
Foston leads wrestlers in Liberty Classic
Israel Foston was runner-up at 152 pounds to lead the wrestling team in the Liberty Classic held Dec. 14 and 15.
The junior lost to Pickerington Central's Marcus Zullo 7-5 in the fifth-place match to go 3-3 in the event, in which the Bears finished 31st (23.5 points) of 33 teams as Macedonia Nordonia (174.5) won.
Also in the Liberty Classic, junior Luke Eisenhower (126) went 2-2 and junior Corey Hill (182) and sophomore Antonio Alonso (heavyweight) both went 1-2.
Dec. 1 -- Red and Blue Classic at HP Lanes
*Dec. 4 -- Liberty at Sawmill Lanes
*Dec. 5 -- Westerville Central at Delaware Lanes
*Dec. 10 -- Marysville at Delaware Lanes
*Dec. 11 -- Thomas Worthington at Capri Lanes
*Dec. 12 -- New Albany at Delaware Lanes
*Dec. 14 -- Westerville South at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Dec. 15 -- Pioneer Baker Bash at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 17 -- Delaware at Delaware Lanes
*Dec. 20 -- Groveport at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 8 -- Newark at Park Lanes
*Jan. 9 -- Big Walnut at Delaware Lanes
*Jan. 11 -- Grandview at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 15 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes
*Jan. 22 -- Orange at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 24 -- Hilliard Darby at Ten Pin Alley
*Jan. 29 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 31 -- Westerville North at Delaware Lanes
*Feb. 6 -- Hilliard Bradley at Delaware Lanes
Feb. 12 -- Marion Elgin at Delaware Lanes
Feb. 19 -- Liberty, Olentangy and Orange at Sawmill Lanes
Dec. 11 -- at *Thomas Worthington with Dresden Tri-Valley and Washington Court House Miami Trace
Dec. 20 -- at Westerville Central with Buckeye Valley, Grove City and Orange
Jan. 4 -- Delaware Invitational
Jan. 9 -- at Marysville with Dresden Tri-Valley and Orange
Jan. 15 -- at Upper Arlington with Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto and Grove City
Jan. 19 -- Coffman, *Jerome, *Scioto and *Worthington Kilbourne at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheer
Feb. 4 -- at Hilliard Davidson with Delaware, *Hilliard Bradley, *Hilliard Darby and Liberty
Feb. 9 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Thomas
Feb. 14 -- Beauty and the Beast Invitational at Orange
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
Dec. 22 -- At Buckeye Valley
*Dec. 21 -- At Darby
*Dec. 22 -- Columbus Academy at Chiller North
*Dec. 23 -- Gahanna at Chiller Easton
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 21 -- Delaware County Relays at Ohio Wesleyan
*Dec. 20 -- At Hilliard Bradley
Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Amanda-Clearcreek, Buckeye Valley and Orange