The Dublin Jerome gymnastics team left the state team meet Feb. 28 at Hilliard Bradley excited about how much better it had done compared to last season.

The Celtics placed eighth (138.55) of 12 teams, behind champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (148.35), after finishing 11th last season.

"It was really nice to have the experience coming into this year's state," senior Sydney White said. "State is supposed to be a really fun meet. We don't really have anywhere to go from here so we just go out and have fun. It was really fun having (senior) Grace (Krouse) with us this year because she was a big part in helping us get here and she wasn't able to compete with us (last year). It's been a really fun season."

Krouse missed the state meet last season after suffering a knee injury at the district meet.

According to coach Kristen Willms, sophomore Raegan Ernst and junior Izzy Willms led the way for the Celtics.

"We did really well," coach Willms said. "One of our top six (Krouse) tore her ACL last year at district and had competed all year. She was one of our seniors, but at this point in the season, her knee is barely holding up. The fact she competed today and we really didn't count a lot of mistakes, I felt the kids hit the best routines they could hit and we can leave with no regrets."

In the state individual meet Feb. 29 at Bradley, Ernst placed ninth of 37 competitors in the all-around with a 36.725. She tied for seventh of 36 competitors on floor exercise (9.425), tied for ninth of 36 competitors on balance beam (9.225), tied for 17th of 36 competitors on vault (9.325) and placed 20th of 36 competitors on uneven bars (8.75).

"I definitely think I did better than I did last year," said Ernst, who finished 12th in the all-around (36.225) last season. "It just happened that the scores were so much higher this year. I didn't make it up on the podium, but overall I did way better than I did last year. (Coach Willms) told me I had nothing to lose and just go."

Boys team expects to return deep group

The 31st-seeded boys basketball team had its season end with a 50-45 loss to 10th-seeded Coffman on Feb. 28 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

Guard Dan Lee led the senior class, averaging 16.5 points and making first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division and third-team all-district.

The other seniors were guard Mikey Callahan and forwards Derek Sanders and Jason Jewell.

Jerome, which finished 11-13 overall, upset 20th-seeded Olentangy Orange 45-44 on Feb. 22 in a first-round tournament game, avenging a 51-46 loss to the Pioneers on Dec. 27.

"Our young guys have continued to improve every day," coach Richie Beard said. "They work hard and like the grind. Every single player has improved this season and is playing better ball now than what they were in December, and that's all we can ask for as a coaching staff."

Freshman guard Ryan Nutter and sophomore forward Matt Butler should be the top returnees next season. Nutter averaged eight points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district and Butler averaged seven points and was honorable mention all-league.

Sophomore forward C.C. Ezirim and freshmen guards Luke Kuhlman, Lachlan MacDonald and Sasha Stavroff also played key roles.

Junior guard Andrew Butcher and sophomore guards David Adolph, Logan Mesaros, Jack Pinney and Jayden Sun are others eligible to return.

Girls basketball team falls to Shamrocks

The 19th-seeded girls basketball team's season ended with a 61-33 loss to fourth-seeded Coffman in a Division I district semifinal Feb. 26 at Marysville.

Jerome had its best season under fourth-year coach Natalie Herring, finishing 15-10 overall and 8-6 in the OCC-Cardinal to place fourth and beating 35th-seeded Thomas Worthington (42-21 on Feb. 14) and 11th-seeded Big Walnut (33-30 on Feb. 21) in the first two rounds to post multiple tournament victories in a season for the first time in program history.

"We've been working for it for so long and it feels good," senior guard Jamie Cline said. "It was one of our goals to go further in the tournament than we ever have."

Cline averaged 14 points and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Senior post player Alie Intihar was special mention all-league and senior guard Kendall Sestili was honorable mention all-league.

The top returnee next season should be junior Amaris Lowery, who averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Rounding out the senior class was Brittany Sanders (guard/wing player).

Juniors Darby Adams (post player) and Meredith Wheeler (forward) and sophomore post player Paige Wleklinski also were contributors.

Others eligible to return include junior guards Sammi Bowers, Ali Ford, Megan Keys and Kate Williams and sophomore guard Cari Dupote-Fosnot.

Hockey team to lose nine seniors

The fifth-seeded hockey team fell to 14th-seeded Coffman 5-1 in the second round of the district tournament Feb. 22 at Chiller North to finish 17-14-1-1 overall.

The Celtics, who placed fifth in the CHC-Red at 8-6-1-1, are losing nine seniors, including forwards Adam Booth, Matt Kish and Avery Mlicki and goaltenders Ryan Norkin and Nikolas Wagner.

Booth, Kish and Mlicki all were key players last season when Jerome became the first program from central Ohio to finish as state runner-up.

This season, Booth recorded 11 goals and 21 assists, Kish had 20 goals and 15 assists and Mlicki had 15 goals and 15 assists.

Junior forwards Evan Halligan (18 goals, 10 assists), Joel Kunzelman (15 goals, 6 assists), Anthony DiPaolo (9 goals, 13 assists) and Landon Hale (7 goals, 6 assists) and junior defenseman Hayden Hale (4 goals, 11 assists) should be among the top returnees.

Others eligible to return include junior defensemen T.J. Boroff, Sam Cho and Gavin Mlicki, junior forward Jack Ryan, sophomore forward Colin Norkin and freshman defenseman Carter Brown.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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