Worthington Kilbourne senior Hannah Hale saved her best for last.
In her final meet as a member of the gymnastics team, Hale placed fourth on balance beam (9.375) to earn all-state honors at the state individual meet Feb. 29 at Hilliard Bradley.
Hale, who joined the Wolves this season after competing in club gymnastics, was the lone representative for Kilbourne at state. Junior Emily Mosic was a state alternate but didn't compete.
"I did the best on beam," Hale said. "I hit everything. It was really good -- a really clean routine."
Against the best competition in the state, Hale also tied for 17th on floor exercise (9.175), tied for 21st on uneven bars (8.675), tied for 31st on vault (8.975) and placed 16th in the all-around (36.2).
"I definitely feel like today was one of my better meets," she said. "The scores were really tight, but personally I felt like I had on all four events some of the best routines that I had ever done."
Coach Cindy Fushimi was impressed by Hale's performance.
"She did great," Fushimi said. "She had a really good meet at district, but I think she did equally well (at state). We were really pleased with her performance."
Hale earned a fourth-place finish in the all-around (36.525) in the district meet Feb. 22 at Kilbourne. She tied for third on beam (9.3) and placed fourth on vault (9.1), eighth on floor (9.225) and eighth on bars (8.9).
Following a third-place finish (138.55) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Feb. 6 at home, behind Olentangy Berlin (139.725) and Dublin Jerome (139.575), the Wolves finished fourth (138.75) at district as Thornville Sheridan (144.55), Berlin (139.275) and Jerome (138.775) advanced to the state team meet Feb. 28 at Bradley.
"I feel like we improved a lot through the season," Fushimi said. "Really that's what we try to focus on, just finishing better than we started. I felt like everybody improved since the beginning, and I think it was a good season based on that. We can't control scores and we can't control a lot of things, but they put the work in and did great."
Girls team enjoys comeback season
The girls basketball team enjoyed a resurgent season under first-year coach Stephanie Jones.
After going 10-13 last year, the Wolves finished 18-7 overall and 11-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to share the title with Bradley.
In the Division I district tournament, the 13th-seeded Wolves lost to second-seeded Watterson 45-40 in a semifinal Feb. 26 at Central Crossing.
"Losing in the district semifinal is definitely not how we wanted things to end, but these girls have so much to be happy about this season," said Jones, who shared league Coach of the Year honors with Bradley's Steve De Dent. "They played powerhouse Watterson tough for four quarters. They are the winningest girls basketball team in school history. They haven't won a conference championship since 2002. One of our goals this season was a conference championship and we got it done."
Junior guard Amya Harris led the Wolves with 15 points against Watterson.
Jones credited former coach Jim Strode for his efforts in previous seasons, putting the team in position to win this year.
"I'm very happy with what we were able to accomplish in my first year," she said. "I knew before applying for the job that this was going to be a special group and they were going to be in a good spot to be successful this season."
The Wolves will lose four seniors in forwards Alexis Hudson and Alyssa Hudson, guard Julia Taylor and guard/forward Jackie Wolford.
Expected key returnees include Harris and sophomore guards Celeste Sloma and Lauren Scott, who was the leading scorer.
Scott was first-team all-league and third-team all-district, while Harris was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Sloma was second-team all-league and Taylor was special mention all-league.
Boys team falls to Newark
The 33rd-seeded boys basketball team lost at eighth-seeded Newark 65-45 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 27.
The Wolves finished 11-12 overall and 6-8 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Junior forwards Ian Schupp and Mitchell Tomasek led Kilbourne with 14 points apiece against Newark.
"I absolutely loved this team," coach Tom Souder said. "We faced adversity with injuries and illness, as do a lot of other teams, but there was never any complaining or lack of effort. We competed every night in practice and in each game. Every season has its ups and downs, and you always want to win more, but you try to learn from every day. I hope our guys had as much fun as I did."
Signature wins included an 89-87 victory over Bethel Park (Pennsylvania) on Dec. 28 and a 63-55 upset over Thomas on Feb. 14.
The Wolves will lose senior guards Will Alban and Braydon Biehn and senior forward Blake Gardner to graduation.
Expected key returnees include junior guard Cayden Dougherty, junior forward Travis Mecklenburg, sophomore guard Ayden Parsons and Schupp and Tomasek.
Schupp was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, Tomasek was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district and Parsons was honorable mention all-league.
"Our younger guys have a lot to look forward to if we can put in the hours it takes to take the next step next year," Souder said.