Patience has become an important part of the evolution of Lexi Patterson as a gymnast for the Hilliard Bradley High School program.
Three years ago as a freshman, Patterson was hypercritical of her performances. Now the senior has learned to control her emotions and is a top performer in all four events for the Jaguars.
On Jan. 31, Patterson was the top gymnast in the all-around for Bradley in a seven-team meet at Davidson. She placed ninth with 32.95 points, led by an 8.65 on balance beam, as the Jaguars finished fifth (127.7) behind first-place Thornville Sheridan (141.625).
"As a freshman, coach (Carol Eskay) really got me out of the club mindset and showed me that competing in high school gymnastics is more about the team," Patterson said. "It's not all just you.
"I was very, very hard on myself whenever I messed up. Coach told me to calm down and take things easier. I don't put as much pressure on myself anymore."
Eskay said the transformation has helped both Patterson and the Jaguars.
"Lexi is definitely one of several leaders and she demonstrates leadership in her actions as one of our top performers in all four events," Eskay said. "She is a great role model for the younger girls and she has tried to mentor the younger girls."
Injuries slowed Patterson the past couple seasons, including a shoulder injury last year. She's happy to finally be healthy in her final season with the Jaguars.
"The past couple years I have had some minor injuries, but this year I'm going strong," she said. "Last year, I had an injury to my shoulder and it caused a lot of pain, so some events were tough. I have days here and there that it bothers me, but it's been good most of the season."
The Jaguars will compete in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Saturday, Feb. 9, at Thomas Worthington. Last season, they saw their streak of five consecutive league titles end, as they finished second (130.45) behind Darby (132.925). Patterson was ninth in the all-around (31.85), led by a fifth-place finish on uneven bars (8.25).
"For her team, Lexi is at the top of the lineup in the four events," Eskay said. "Beam and floor (exercise) are strong, but she is strong in the all-around. She doesn't only compete in all four events, but she is a leader in all four.
"She has added consistency and difficulty to her routines. Instead of struggling to add in difficulty late in the season, she started with it right away. That will help as the season progresses because she can be more consistent and have confidence in all four events."
Patterson started gymnastics when she was 3 years old and competed at the club level before entering high school. She feels better suited for prep competition.
"Club is very much more individual based than in high school, which is more of a team effort," she said. "I personally like high school better. It's more relaxing, and you don't have as much pressure on yourself.
"Coach helps us because she really wants us to stay positive and kind of just be you. You need to work on what you need to do and try not to focus on everybody else. You just do what you need to do and be supportive of your teammates."
Patterson, who has a 4.1 GPA, plans to study physical therapy at Otterbein, but will not compete in gymnastics beyond this season.
"I have been in (physical therapy) a couple of times for gymnastics, and I always have enjoyed the human body," she said. "I really would like to help other people and see them make progress."
Boys basketball team sought league title
The boys basketball team was 16-0 overall and 11-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Jerome on Feb. 5.
A victory over the Celtics would have clinched a third consecutive league championship for the Jaguars.
Bradley, which is ranked third in this week's Division I state poll, defeated Delaware 59-46 on Feb. 1 to win its 40th consecutive OCC-Cardinal game and its 30th regular-season game in a row.
A.J. Mirgon led the Jaguars with 18 points, Matt Allocco scored 16 and Chris Mayfield scored 10.
Swimmers getting set for sectional
Jason Keck and Kaitlyn Sims helped lead the swimming and diving teams Feb. 2 in the Upper Arlington Invitational, the annual warmup for the postseason.
The Jaguars will compete Saturday, Feb. 9, in a Division I sectional at UA.
On Feb. 2, Sims won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 14.13 seconds, as the girls team finished fourth (145 points) of six teams, behind champion UA (320). Paige Williams placed third in the 200 individual medley (2:37.36) and Isa Brooks finished fourth in the 200 freestyle (2:17.73).
Keck placed third in the 100 breast (1:25.22) as the boys team finished fourth (160) behind champion Davidson (312).
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 8 -- At Dublin Scioto. The Jaguars defeated the Irish 46-40 on Jan. 8.
Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Davidson
*Feb. 8 -- Home vs. Scioto. The Jaguars lost to the Irish 38-31 on Jan. 8.
Feb. 16 -- At fourth-seeded Watterson in first round of Division I district tournament. The Jaguars are seeded 36th of 45 teams.
*Feb. 8 -- Darby at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Feb. 9 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Thomas Worthington
Feb. 13 -- At Davidson with Darby and Dresden Tri-Valley
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 9 -- Division I sectional at Upper Arlington. The winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district Feb. 15 at Ohio State. There is no diving at sectional.
*Feb. 7 -- Home vs. Delaware
Feb. 9 -- Panther Classic at Rayland Buckeye Local