Hope Groves is performing well for her adopted high school.
The Grove City Christian freshman has been a top competitor for the Central Crossing gymnastics team. The Eagles do not offer the sport, but Groves lives in the Central Crossing portion of South-Western City Schools and is permitted to compete with the Comets.
"It was OK coming over here because I became friends with the girls pretty quickly," Groves said. "I really enjoy it because I get to meet new people and have new friends."
Groves led the Comets in the OCC-Central Division meet Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington. She had her season-best all-around score of 31.0 and placed 12th behind champion Nikia Scurlock (33.7) of Hilliard Davidson.
Her performance was buoyed by an 8.1 in both balance beam (tied for fourth) and floor exercise (tied for 16th). She had a 7.8 on vault (tied for 14th) and a 7.0 on uneven bars (12th).
"I did really well and it was one of my best meets," she said. "I added a lot of new skills and was able to hit them.
"I think I did best in floor because I got my first 8.0 in that. This was also my highest all-around."
The Comets finished fifth (106.925) behind Davidson (129.8), Upper Arlington (129.1), Marysville (126.7) and Grove City (114.05) and ahead of Westland (98.7), Dublin Coffman (96.45) and Franklin Heights (47.925).
"We did well, and I think we had a lot of high scores," coach Lavon Maynard said. "Hope did very well. She had a great meet. She had 8.1s on floor and beam and a 7.8 on vault. She is very dedicated and focused and added some new skills to her routines."
Groves said she started gymnastics eight years ago, but took the last two years off before starting high school. She is working to regain her former skill level.
"I got back from two years of taking a break from club because I had a stress fracture in my back," Groves said. "I think I'm doing pretty well after being away from it.
"It's very different now that I'm back. I'm not as good as I used to be. I don't have the higher-level skills that I had before."
However, Groves has returned to the gym with renewed vigor. Assistant coach Haley Deal said Groves takes her workouts seriously.
"Hope has a background in gymnastics, which is helpful, and she is one of the hardest-working freshmen that I have ever seen," Deal said. "She comes in here and works hard from the time she gets here until the time she leaves. She's very serious."
Groves likes the competition in high school, which she said is less stressful than club.
"Club is very different," she said. "I was doing 16 hours of practice per week, and I'm probably doing around half of that now.
"High school competition is a lot more laid back, but it's hard to get higher scores because you don't practice as much. It's not as demanding."
The Comets next compete in the district meet Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne.
"I think this (OCC-Central performance) will help make me more confident," Groves said. "It should help get me ready for district."
Francek, relays advance to district
Zach Francek of the boys swimming team will compete in two individual events in the Division I district meet Friday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State.
Francek is seeded 25th in the 100-yard butterfly after placing sixth (56.0 seconds) in a sectional Feb. 9 at UA. He is seeded 26th in the 100 backstroke after placing fifth (58.43).
He also is a member of the 28th-seeded 400 freestyle relay that placed ninth (3:51.46) at sectional and includes Jacob Archer, Mason Smith and Will Atkins.
The Comets finished 10th (31) of 14 teams at sectional behind champion UA (317).
The girls team advanced all three relays to district. All are seeded 28th and feature Haylee Howard, Haley Kumfer, Madison Studt and Emma Thompson.
At sectional, the 200 medley relay was ninth (2:07.82), the 200 free relay was 10th (1:52.53) and the 400 free relay was 11th (4:10.47) as the Comets finished 12th (18) of 16 teams behind champion UA (385.5).
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event advance to state Feb. 22 and 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
The Comets do not have any divers.
Girls basketball team opens district tourney
The girls basketball team is 5-17 overall entering its Division I district tournament opener Friday, Feb. 15, at fifth-seeded Reynoldsburg.
The 37th-seeded Comets lost to the Raiders 77-25 on Feb. 5 as Haley Cox scored 18 points.
The first-round winner plays host to 43rd-seeded Mifflin on Feb. 22.
Central Crossing finished 2-8 in the OCC-Central, losing to Coffman 105-35 on Feb. 7 as Cox scored 22 points with six 3-pointers.
Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing boys basketball and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 15 -- At Westland. The Comets defeated the Cougars 59-39 on Jan. 11.
Feb. 21 -- At ninth-seeded Newark in first round of Division I district tournament. The Comets are seeded 32nd.
*Feb. 14 -- At Marysville