Coach Tim Pennington knows one thing will happen when his Olentangy Berlin High School hockey team takes the ice: His players will be giving maximum effort.

The Bears are 7-10-1-1 overall, but despite having more losses than victories, the players continue to work to get better in the program's inaugural season.

"One thing that easily sticks out about these guys is that they never give up," Pennington said. "I love that about these guys. They may be frustrated at some of the final scores and it can be a tough thing being on the losing side a lot of the time, but they have had a consistently great attitude from day one."

It hasn't been that bad for the Bears, who remain in the hunt for the Capital Hockey Conference- Blue Division title. They are 5-4-1-1 in the league after defeating division rivals Thomas Worthington 2-1 on Jan. 12 and Gahanna 4-2 on Jan. 13.

Thomas leads the CHC-Blue at 7-2-2-1 with 17 points, followed by Columbus Academy (7-4) with 14 points and Berlin with 12.

"I keep telling them that basically we're almost a j.v. team playing a varsity schedule," Pennington said. "With that, you have to learn how to handle adversity. You need to look at things one shift at a time and one game at a time."

Cole Mascari had two goals and goaltender Josh Chmielewski had 21 saves against Gahanna. Layne Comyns and Andrew Rogers both scored against Thomas while Chmielewski made 16 saves.

The Bears were to play in the Orange Pioneer Classic this weekend, but Pennington pulled the team from the tournament a few weeks ago to allow it to mend from some injuries and to get a mental break.

"We're not going to play in the Orange tournament because we have such a young team and we're low in numbers right now," said Pennington, whose team next plays DeSales on Jan. 26 at Chiller Easton. "This way we can have some fresh bodies heading down the stretch."

Bland, Wright leading bowlers in average

Isabella Bland and Logan Wright were the average leaders for the bowling teams through 11 matches.

Wright was averaging 152.5 for the boys, followed by Hunter Kraft (142.9), Jacoby Oliverio (138.2) and Mason D'Amore (127.2).

The boys were 1-10 overall and 0-10 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division before facing Olentangy on Jan. 15. They are 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Bland was averaging 137.7 for the girls, followed by Michele Starner (134.6), Eve Pennington (114.2) and Margherita Conrad (114.1).

The girls were 3-8 overall and 2-7 in the COHSBC-A before facing Olentangy. They are 2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Butcher, Robinson shine for swim teams

Grace Butcher and Logan Robinson excelled for the swimming and diving teams in the Northeast Classic on Jan. 12 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Butcher, a junior, was fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 3.65 seconds) and 14th in the 200 individual medley (2:13.0). The girls tied for 26th (17 points) behind champion North Canton Hoover (243) as 48 teams scored.

Robinson, a freshman, was fifth in the 500 freestyle (4:48.46) and 11th in the 200 IM (2:00.69). The boys were 26th (20) behind champion Dublin Jerome (232) as 42 teams scored.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto. The Bears lost to the Irish 41-31 on Dec. 7.

*Jan. 22 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome. The Bears lost to the Celtics 100-40 on Dec. 4.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 18 -- At Scioto. The Bears lost to the Irish 49-39 on Dec. 7.

Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Horizon Science

*Jan. 22 -- At Jerome. The Bears lost to the Celtics 45-34 on Nov. 30.

BOWLING

*Jan. 22 -- Orange at Capri Lanes

GYMNASTICS

Jan. 19 -- Dublin Coffman, *Jerome, *Scioto and *Worthington Kilbourne at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheer

SWIMMING & DIVING

Jan. 19 -- At St. Charles with Columbus Academy and Orange

WRESTLING

Jan. 18-19 -- Alliance Top Gun Tournament

*League contest