The Worthington Kilbourne High School gymnastics team has returned five of its top performers from last season and hopes to improve on its 12th-place finish in the district meet.
"We don't have any seniors, so we're a pretty young team overall," 27th-year coach Cindy Fushimi said. "But I'm excited about what I'm seeing and about how we did in our first meet. Our team goal last year was to break 130 points and we never did. We came so close (in our first meet)."
The Wolves opened Dec. 11 with a five-team meet at home, scoring a 129.9 to place second behind Dublin Jerome (131.5) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (118.9), Dublin Coffman (78.8) and Dublin Scioto (60).
The top returnees are juniors Abby Deitrick and Trinity Leo and sophomores Sophie Baker, Emily Mosic and Sophie Seculov.
Deitrick missed most of last season with an injury and Mosic finished 18th of 93 competitors in the all-around at district with a 33.425. Also at district last year, Leo was 34th in the all-around (31.875) and Seculov finished 17th of 141 competitors on balance beam (8.65).
"Emily and Abby have higher start values and we're working on getting the other girls ready for higher start values," Fushimi said. "All of the girls have made good progress in the first month we've been together so far. Sophie Seculov and Sophie Baker have made real good progress and the returning sophomores have a lot more poise and confidence this year.
"The goal is to get better and better as the season moves along. We'll be working on getting better skills and having cleaner routines and the scores will follow from there."
Completing the roster are juniors Senna Harrison, Lee Sellers and Madeline Zawada, sophomores Knisley Capuano and Mackenzie Stevens and freshmen Reagan Leo, Kate Morton and Laurel Rhodes.
In the Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 15 at Hilliard Davidson, Deitrick placed seventh on vault (8.15), uneven bars (8.025) and beam (8.6) and Mosic was fourth on beam (8.8), ninth on floor exercise (8.65) and 10th on bars (7.75) as 138 gymnasts competed.
Also in the meet, Trinity Leo finished 11th on vault (7.9), Rhodes was 12th on beam (8.35) and Baker was 16th on vault (7.65).
"It's going to be a fun year," Fushimi said. "I love the fact that the girls are very close and celebrate each other's small victories. They're a very positive and nurturing group. It's a great environment where they push and encourage each other."
Three bowlers return for young boys team
Seniors John Catanzarite and Colby Sutherland are expected to lead the boys bowling team this season after averaging 188.4 and 179.5, respectively, a year ago.
Also back is sophomore Donovan Rosette, who averaged 156.8.
"We have three boys that were on the varsity last year who are returning with the desire and passion to qualify for state, led by team captain John Catanzarite," fourth-year coach Susan Bond said. "He is one of the most positive players and motivates his teammates to meet goals the team has set."
Kilbourne lost three key bowlers from last season when it went 11-4 overall, was runner-up in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division and tied for second in the OCC-Cardinal in 2018 graduates Evan Place (209.4), Michael Barnewall (187.2) and Zach Legue (185). Barnewall was a Division I district qualifier.
Hoping to fill those spots are junior Preston Woodrum, sophomores Will Bartram, Connor Burke and Cole Niemantsverdriet and freshman Miles Roberts.
"We have a very young team," Bond said. "Most of the young boys were just learning the sport last season, but so far they are bonding and working together as a team. Their teamwork and unity are strengths, but we're missing way too many spares in our early competitions and that has proven to be our downfall."
Sutherland has yet to compete for the Wolves, who are 1-3 overall, 1-2 in the COHSBC-B and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal. Their next match isn't until Jan. 10 when they compete against Groveport at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Kilbourne beat Hilliard Bradley 1,917-1,738 on Dec. 4 and then lost to Whitehall 1,850-1,847 on Dec. 7, Newark 2,538-1,953 on Dec. 12 and Pickerington Central 2,089-1,939 on Dec. 13.
The girls team is expected to be led by senior returnees Casey Knuth and Aleks Tavella, who averaged 159.8 and 137.4, respectively, last season, when the Wolves finished 8-7 overall but qualified for district, where they finished fifth.
Through four matches, Knuth and Tavella are averaging 187.1 and 143.2, respectively, as the Wolves are 2-2 overall, 1-2 in the COHSBC-B and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Also back is senior Maddie Mullen, who has raised her average from 116.7 last season to 128.7 through four matches this season.
Completing the roster are seniors Sarah Mitchell, Mallory Petrucci and Sophia Vargo.
"We lost four bowlers to graduation," said Bond, who is in her sixth season guiding the girls program. "We are working hard to bring the scores up for the new players who were on j.v. last year.
"The girls have a great chemistry and really support each other in every event. Aleks has really taken on the role of team captain and is motivating her teammates to do their best. Their chemistry is very important. They never get down on themselves."
Among the 2018 graduates were Meghan Gaines (151.9) and Taysia Curry (146).
"The girls team lacks experience on the lanes, but we're hoping to see improvement from all of the girls as we move along," Bond said.
Riffee to coach boys lacrosse team
Former boys lacrosse coach Mike Riffee is returning to the team.
Riffee has been named interim coach for the 2019 season in place of Mike Lippert, who resigned earlier this fall after one season as coach.
Athletics director Jeff Todd said he will conduct a coaching search following the 2019 season.
Riffee coached the Wolves in 2007 and 2008 and was a co-coach in 2009 when Kilbourne won its first state championship. He had a 55-13 record with the Wolves.
Lippert resigned to spend more time with his growing family. His wife is expecting their second child.
Last spring, the Wolves finished 17-6 overall, won the OCC-Cardinal title at 6-0 and reached a Division I state semifinal, where they lost to eventual state champion Cincinnati St. Xavier 18-8.
Lippert was named league Coach of the Year.
Dec. 1 -- Red & Blue Classic at HP Lanes
*Dec. 4 -- Hilliard Bradley at Capri Lanes
*Dec. 7 -- Whitehall at Holiday Lanes
Dec. 8 -- Holiday Baker Marathon at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Dec. 12 -- Newark at Capri Lanes
*Dec. 13 -- Pickerington Central at Capri Lanes
Dec. 15 -- Pioneer Baker Marathon at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 10 -- Groveport at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 11 -- Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes
Jan. 15 -- Hilliard Davidson at Ten Pin Alley
Jan. 16 -- Whetstone at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 17 -- Hilliard Darby at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 18 -- Gahanna at Gahanna Lanes
Jan. 19 -- Central District Preview at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Jan. 21 -- Muskingum Invitational at Royal Z Lanes
*Jan. 22 -- Lancaster at Tiki Lanes
Jan. 24 -- Delaware at Capri Lanes
Jan. 29 -- Olentangy Berlin at Capri Lanes
Jan. 31 -- Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes
Feb. 1 -- Thomas* and Worthington Christian at Capri Lanes
*Feb. 8 -- Pickerington North at Capri Lanes
Dec. 11 -- vs. *Dublin Jerome, Dublin Coffman, Dublin Scioto and Olentangy Liberty
Dec. 15 -- Hilliard Invitational at Hilliard Davidson
Dec. 21 -- vs. Upper Arlington
Jan. 6 -- Wolfpack Invitational at home
Jan. 10 -- at *Thomas with *Delaware and Buckeye Valley
Jan. 17 -- Beauty and the Beast at home with *Bradley, *Darby and Davidson
Jan. 19 -- Dublin Jerome, *Dublin Scioto, Dublin Coffman and *Olentangy Berlin at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheer
Jan. 23 -- vs. Grove City, Upper Arlington and Westerville Central
Jan. 26 -- Elk Invitational at Centerville
Jan. 30 -- vs. DeSales, Dresden Tri-Valley and Olentangy
Feb. 9 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Thomas
Feb. 13 -- vs. Thornville Sheridan and Washington Court House Miami Trace
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 21 -- At Delaware
*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Delaware
Dec. 22 -- Dublin Jerome at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 20 -- At Hilliard Darby