Coach Carol Eskay is optimistic about the potential of the Hilliard Bradley gymnastics team thanks to an infusion of talented freshmen.
As was the case last season, the Jaguars have nine athletes, but Eskay likes her team's depth despite having a small roster.
"What's really great is that all of the girls can compete in at least two, if not all four, events," said Eskay, who is in her 11th season. "I can choose from a nice pool of the kids and that kind of depth this early in the season is always a strength. We can only compete six in our top meets, but when you have several past that six that can compete, that's always a great place to start."
The Jaguars return five gymnasts from last season in senior Ashlee Mascolino, juniors Gabi Graff, Paige Hamilton and Alice McAnespie and sophomore Hailey Pond.
"Things have been going well, but we still have some room for improvement," Hamilton said. "It has been better than expected.
"We're more bonded this year than last year. We definitely have more support on the team this year, and that's been a big difference."
Rounding out the roster are freshmen Abigail Granville, Averey Jervis, Gabrielle Lawhead and Ava Woodard.
"Bradley, overall, has some strong newcomers on the team," said Eskay, who also coaches Davidson and Darby. "(The Jaguars) all come in with experience in all four events, so they are able to come out and contribute right out of the gate.
"They have great attitudes and they are hard-working. I'm really glad at where we are starting. We're pleased at where we are this time."
Hamilton said Eskay not only has emphasized working hard in practice, but also the importance of the gymnasts pacing themselves.
"Coach has been stressing hard work in the gym and communication with the all of our coaches," Hamilton said. "We need to show up every day and give it our all. The season is so long, so it's important to come in now so we don't burn out later."
Bradley finished sixth (128.775 points) of 17 teams in the Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 14 at Darby, behind champion Dublin Jerome (135.675).
Hamilton (13th, 32.55) and Graf (14th, 32.425) led the Jaguars in the all-around as Jerome's Raegan Ernst won (37.025). Jervis was 20th (31.95).
"They have had a solid showing early on, but we still have room to grow," Eskay said. " I was telling them that if they peak too early, it's not a good thing. They have room to grow in a positive way.
"We need to work on some little things and consistencies and dynamics like pointed toes and consistent landings and things like that. The girls still are looking to add skills and difficulties."
Boys basketball team out to strong start
The boys basketball team is 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division and is riding a 46-game winning streak in league play.
Matt Allocco hit two free throws in the final seconds to secure a 45-42 win over Pickerington North in the Ohio Scholastic Play by Play Classic on Dec. 14 at Nationwide Arena. A.J. Mirgon led Bradley with 14 points, including four 3-pointers, while Tayshaun Mayfield added 10 points and Allocco scored eight.
Allocco, a senior guard, surpassed 1,000 career points with a 22-point performance in a 49-44 league win over Thomas Worthington on Dec. 6. The Princeton commit has 1,045 points.
Isaiah Speelman, a 2018 graduate who plays at Cedarville University, is the program's career scoring leader with 1,509 points. Another 2018 graduate, Braden Norris (1,271), and 2016 graduate Brandon Glenn (1,120) reached the 1,000-point milestone.
Through five games, Allocco led Bradley with a 17.2-point average, followed by Mirgon (12.4) and Keaton Norris (10.2).
Girls basketball team endures first loss
The girls basketball team was 5-1 overall before playing Davidson on Dec. 17.
Bradley dropped to 3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal with a 43-39 loss to Kilbourne on Dec. 13. Chloe Callahan led the Jaguars with 12 points.
Bradley won league games against Darby (40-17 on Dec. 1), Thomas (49-44 in overtime Dec. 6) and Olentangy Berlin (47-38 on Dec. 10).
Through six games, Carly Callahan was averaging a team-high 11.4 points, followed by Macy Chapman (10.7) and Chloe Callahan (10.5).
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 20 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
Dec. 21 -- Lakewood St. Edward in Capital City Coaches for a Cure at Capital
*Dec. 20 -- At Jerome
*Dec. 19 -- At Olentangy Berlin
Dec. 21 -- Kettering Fairmont Firebird Classic at Wright State