The Dublin Jerome High School gymnastics and hockey programs both got big boosts for their respective postseasons last weekend.
The gymnastics team wrapped up its first league championship since 2012 at the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington and heads into the district meet Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne as one of the area's top contenders to earn a berth to the state meet. Jerome's only state appearance came in 2016.
On Feb. 10, the top-seeded hockey team continued its dominance in the Blue Jackets Cup tournament with a 3-1 victory over second-seeded Olentangy Liberty at OhioHealth Ice Haus, marking its third consecutive championship and ninth title in the tournament's 18-year history.
Gymnasts edge Bears for league title
At the OCC-Cardinal meet, the gymnastics team broke the program record for team score that it set earlier this season.
The Celtics had the best score on vault (35.325), uneven bars (34.025) and floor exercise (36.025) and recorded a 138.9 to edge runner-up Olentangy Berlin (136.55).
Jerome and Hilliard Darby both finished 6-1 in league duals, but the Celtics' first-place finish at the league meet gave them the overall OCC-Cardinal championship.
"It's been a long time (since we won a league title)," junior Grace Krouse said. "We started off well and that energy carried through the whole meet, which was really exciting."
Raegan Ernst captured titles in the all-around (36.925), vault (9.275), bars (9.275) and balance beam (91.25) and placed third on floor (9.25).
Krouse won floor (9.325), placed second on vault (9.125), third in the all-around (35.15) and fifth on bars (8.75), and Izzy Willms placed fourth on floor (9.1), fifth in the all-around (34.5) and sixth on vault (8.8).
"We made a lot of great improvements as far as start values and hitting routines go," Willms said. "We definitely have more room to improve before districts, but today was definitely a step in the right direction. This team works really hard. We're all super close and we have a lot of common goals, and (winning the league) was a big one.
"(We're going to be) cleaning up the little things and making sure they're super solid. Our district is very competitive, but we're really, really hoping (to make state)."
Laney Mlicki placed 21st in the all-around (31.6), including an 8.3 on floor.
Maddy Lucas also competed in the all-around and Melissa Radey, Rachel Radey and Sydney White were others who scored.
"Our beam has definitely improved, and (the league meet) was the best for the whole season," Krouse said. "For some people, we're going to put some upgrades in to get the start values higher and for others it's going to be perfecting what we have right now. We're all hoping this is our year."
Hockey team seeded first in district
Jerome received the top seed for the district tournament and opens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, in the second round against 23rd-seeded Scioto or 25th-seeded Cincinnati Elder at the Ice Haus.
The winner plays 10th-seeded Coffman, 11th-seeded Oxford Talawanda, 12th-seeded Beavercreek or 14th-seeded Thomas Worthington in a district quarterfinal at 12:45 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Ice Haus.
The Celtics, who are 30-2-0-1 heading into the postseason, took a 1-0 lead in the Blue Jackets Cup final with 11 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first period on a goal by Dalton Miller off an assist by Nick Augenstein. Liberty tied the score early in the second period, but Jerome retook the lead with 6:52 left in the period on a goal by Joel Kunzelman that was assisted by Vince Comfort and Matt Kish.
Kunzelman scored again off an assist by Avery Mlicki with 5:58 remaining in the game.
"It was a really good team win," coach Pat Murphy said. "This team plays hard and we're really stingy on defense. (Kunzelman) doesn't play as much as some of the other forwards, but he was opportunistic. Good for him, I'm really happy for him. We've been on a roll lately, so we're going to try to keep it going. It's been fun."
Jerome opened the Blue Jackets Cup with an 11-1 win over eighth-seeded Coffman on Feb. 7 and beat fourth-seeded New Albany 6-1 on Feb. 9 in a semifinal.
The Celtics beat Liberty in the Blue Jackets Cup final for the third consecutive season, winning 7-5 in 2017 and 3-1 last season.
Swim teams place second at sectional
On Feb. 9 in a Division I sectional at Kenyon College, the boys swimming team scored 280 points to finish second of 10 teams, behind St. Charles (299), and the girls scored 197 to place second of nine teams, behind Coffman (266).
Capturing titles for the boys were Max Scott in the 50-yard freestyle (20.94) and 100 free (46.64), the 200 free relay of Reno James, Matt Shepard, Ian Smith and Scott (1:26.81) and the 400 free relay of James, Austin Davis, Smith and Scott (3:11.21). Winning for the girls were Maya Geringer in the 500 free (5:03.23) and Kelsey Cooper in the 100 backstroke (57.34).
The Celtics will be represented by their sectional champions and others in the district meet Friday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State.
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 22 and 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Boys basketball team secures second place
The boys basketball team secured a runner-up finish in the OCC-Cardinal behind Hilliard Bradley with a 47-42 victory over Delaware on Feb. 8.
Jerome was 13-6 overall before facing Pickerington North on Feb. 12 and is 10-3 in the league heading into its OCC-Cardinal finale Friday, Feb. 15, at home against Scioto. The Celtics close the regular season Tuesday, Feb. 19, at home against Westerville North.
Jerome received the 18th seed for the Division I district tournament and will open Feb. 23 at 10th-seeded Canal Winchester in the first round.
Wrestlers set for regular-season finale
The wrestling team dropped to 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal with a 49-15 loss to Darby on Feb. 7.
Jerome closes the regular season Thursday, Feb. 14, with a league dual at Scioto.
On Feb. 9, the Celtics placed 12th (75.5) of 18 teams in the All-North Tournament at home, behind champion Marysville (187). Lane Williams (138 pounds) placed third, Zach McMinn (220) placed fourth and Jack Viola (106) and Austin Wagner (113) both finished fifth.
Athletes announce college decisions
Three student-athletes announced their college decisions during the signing period that began Feb. 6.
Tony Gyimah will play football for Georgetown, George Paesano will play football for Urbana and Hayley Jacobs will compete in acrobatic tumbling at St. Leo.