Even on a day when it had more wobbles on balance beam than it would have liked, the Dublin Jerome High School gymnastics team didn't end up far behind the program-record score it broke twice earlier this season.
The Celtics wouldn't have earned one of the trophies given to teams that placed in the top three Jan. 12 in the McGee Invitational at home even if they'd tied their program record of 136.425 set Jan. 2.
Still, there's a feeling among those in the program that even better scores are coming this season.
"We've got some talent out there," coach Kristen Willms said. "We've got some things in the works that will help their start values. It's just not quite ready yet, but I think it's OK. We're still only less than halfway through our competition season."
Jerome still has more than three weeks remaining until it competes in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet at Thomas Worthington. The Celtics are 1-0 in the league.
At the 17-team McGee Invitational, which in previous seasons was held at Coffman, Mentor won the title with 139.525, followed by Hudson (137.275), Olentangy (136.825) and the Celtics (134.85). Last season, Mentor placed third at state and Olentangy was district runner-up and finished fifth at state.
Jerome, which scored a then-program-record 136.05 on Dec. 15 while winning the Hilliard Invitational before surpassing that mark less than three weeks later, made its only state-meet appearance in 2016 when it finished 10th.
Freshmen Raegan Ernst and Laney Mlicki have proven to be strong additions to a group of returnees that includes junior Grace Krouse and sophomore Izzy Willms.
At the McGee Invitational, Ernst won the uneven bars (9.225) and floor exercise (9.4) to lift her to the all-around title (36.475). Krouse tied for third on vault (9.05) and was ninth in the all-around (33.825) and Willms finished 10th in the all-round (33.6).
"(High school gymnastics is) a lot less stressful than club and is a lot more fun, too, with a lot more energy," Ernst said. "Club is more individual and when you get to high school, it's more of a team thing. We have a great team. All the girls are super nice.
"Beam, we didn't do the best we could (at the McGee), but overall it was a pretty good meet. We have a lot of good juniors. Winning an OCC title would be amazing, and we'd also like to make it to state as a team."
According to coach Willms, Mlicki has been battling a foot injury and several gymnasts have battled illness the past few weeks.
Junior Sydney White and freshman Sami Stutz were others who competed in multiple events at the McGee Invitational.
"We did really well on some things (at the McGee)," Willms said. "We struggled on beam, but it's still early. I think we're headed in the right direction."
Hockey team hitting stride in CHC play
Since losing 9-3 to New Albany on Dec. 16, the hockey team has put together a six-game winning streak in Capital Hockey Conference action.
The Celtics are second in the CHC-Red Division at 8-1 after winning three games in as many days, beating Coffman 10-0 on Jan. 11 at Chiller Dublin, Olentangy Liberty 7-4 on Jan. 12 at Chiller North and Upper Arlington 2-1 on Jan. 13 at Chiller Dublin. Liberty is first in the CHC-Red at 10-2, but Jerome won both games against the Patriots in league action.
The Celtics are 18-1-1-1 overall heading into the Mark Rasmus Memorial Invitational this weekend at Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania.
They open the event against Toledo St. John's at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, and face UA at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, and Cincinnati St. Xavier at 9 p.m. that day before concluding the tournament Sunday, Jan. 20.
Against UA on Jan. 13, J.P. Weaver and Adam Booth both scored and goaltender Mark Bishopp made 16 saves. Dalton Miller had a hat trick, Avery Mlicki scored two goals and Nick Augenstein added one goal and three assists against Liberty.
Wrestlers win league dual against Wolves
The wrestling team was 2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before a match at first-year Olentangy Berlin on Jan. 16.
On Jan. 10, the Celtics defeated Worthington Kilbourne 52-18 in league action. Austin Wagner (113 pounds), Luke Milanovich (126), Lane Williams (138), John Huber (170) and Drew Kavinsky (182) all won by pin.
Jerome then finished ninth (104) in the 19-team Comet Classic on Jan. 12 at Central Crossing, behind champion Mount Orab Western Brown (257).
Jack Viola (106) placed third, Williams (138) was fourth and Kavinsky (182), Anthony Sarosi (160), Travis Leonard (195) and Zach McMinn (heavyweight) all finished seventh.
Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, hockey and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 18 -- At Worthington Kilbourne. The Celtics beat the Wolves 74-68 on Dec. 7.
*Jan. 22 -- At Olentangy Berlin. The Celtics beat the Bears 100-40 on Dec. 4.
*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Kilbourne. The Celtics beat the Wolves 56-48 on Dec. 7.
*Jan. 22 -- Home vs. Berlin. The Celtics beat the Bears 45-34 on Nov. 30.
Jan. 19 -- Scioto, *Berlin and Kilbourne at Central Ohio Gymnastics
Jan. 21 -- At Coffman with *Scioto, Central Crossing, Franklin Heights and Westland
Jan. 18-20 -- TBA in Mark Rasmus Memorial Invitational at Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 18 -- At Upper Arlington
Jan. 19 -- Coffman at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 19 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North