Just days away from her first OCC-Cardinal Division meet, coach Jen Hedrick still doesn't know what lineup to pencil in for the Olentangy Berlin High School gymnastics team.
That has its benefits, though, as the Bears have a balanced group. The roster depth is why Hedrick is excited about her team's potential entering the league meet Saturday, Feb. 9, at Thomas Worthington.
"I don't have a top gymnast," said Hedrick, who previously coached Orange. "Our gymnasts are good in different events and different gymnasts are scoring high in different meets. I don't know my OCC lineup yet because everyone hits on a different day.
"It's our depth that's helping. On some teams, you have the top four gymnasts and some others, but here we have a top seven or eight. It depends on the day who will be our leader."
Berlin is 20-2 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Cardinal after winning a six-team meet Feb. 4 at Hilliard Davidson. It scored 135.175 to finish ahead of runner-up Hilliard Darby (131.525).
The Bears have been hampered by injuries over the past few weeks, but sophomores Kennedy Jesenovec and Madison Nietfeld recently returned to the lineup.
"Kennedy has been out a couple weeks with an ankle injury and she is one of our top performers on (balance) beam and (uneven) bars," Hedrick said. "Madison was also out with an ankle injury. She is one of our top performers on the floor (exercise) and when she hits it, she could be a top performer in the all-around with her beam and her vault."
Jesenovec said chemistry has been a key factor in the Bears' success.
"I think we have been successful because half of our team is newcomers and the other half has been doing gymnastics for a while," she said. "(The experienced gymnasts) have been trying to put some heart into the team and letting them know they can still be great even without that experience. I think we really have come together to make it as good as it has been."
Nietfeld believes competing for a first-year program has played a role because the gymnasts take pride in representing Berlin.
"It's so exciting to be a part of a new program and everything you do you get to make your own," she said. "We get to make the traditions. That's all on us."
Juniors Olivia Boone and Demera Harrison, sophomore Abby Marks and freshmen Paige Dargatz, Elise Hedrick and Alex Hinton also have been key performers.
"(The balance) definitely helps us a lot," said Elise Hedrick, the coach's daughter. "What you normally see in high school is teams that have some OK girls and two really good ones. We have good team balance and we're all good all-around and no one is much better than the other."
Coach Hedrick is excited to see what her team is capable of doing in the league meet and beyond.
The district meet is Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne. The top three teams advance to state March 1 at Bradley, while the top eight finishers in each event, including the all-around, compete at state March 2 at Bradley.
"I expected these girls to do well this year. I just hope we can be more consistent by (the) OCC and district (meets)," coach Hedrick said. "We need to be hitting everything that they have the potential to hit. That's where we're missing out."
Girls team seeded 12th in district
The girls basketball team is seeded 12th of 24 teams in the Division II district tournament and plays its first postseason game Feb. 19 at home against 14th-seeded Bloom-Carroll.
Berlin had won four consecutive games and two OCC-Cardinal contests in a row to improve to 11-8 overall and 5-7 in the league before playing Darby on Feb. 5.
Jess Nation scored 26 points and Courtney Suchan added 10 as Berlin held off Thomas 41-39 on Feb. 1 in league play.
The Bears guaranteed that they would not end the regular season with a losing record by defeating Westerville North 44-40 on Feb. 2. Nation led the way with 21 points.
"Our defense has been shut-down," coach Megan Beidelman said. "We have really committed to our gap defense, and it's showing."
Wrestling team falls in dual tourney opener
The wrestling team had four pins but lost in the opening round of the Division II, Region 9 team dual tournament Feb. 2 at Lexington.
The 14th-seeded Bears fell to third-seeded Caledonia River Valley 42-32.
Corey Hill (170 pounds), Caiden Hooks (138), Matt Kirsop (220) and Tyler Voinovich (106) all won by pin. Luke Eisenhower (126) and Israel Foston (152) both won by major decision.
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 8 -- At Worthington Kilbourne. The Bears lost to the Wolves 57-24 on Jan. 8.
Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Bexley
*Feb. 8 -- Home vs. Kilbourne. The Bears defeated the Wolves 53-44 on Jan. 8.
Feb. 12 -- Marion Elgin at Delaware Lanes
Feb. 9 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Thomas Worthington
Feb. 8-10 -- Blue Jackets Consolation Cup at TBA
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 9 -- Division II sectional at Columbus Academy. The winner of each event along with 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district Feb. 14 at Ohio State. There is no diving at sectional.
*Feb. 7 -- Home vs. Kilbourne