Notebook: Dublin Jerome Celtics gymnasts saved best for biggest meets

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Jerome senior Izzy Willms competes in the team state meet March 5 at Hilliard Bradley. In the individual state meet the next day, Willms tied for 20th in the all-around with a score of 35.775.

Setting itself up to peak for the postseason is something junior Raegan Ernst believes paid off for the Dublin Jerome gymnastics team. 

Before the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Feb. 20 at Thomas Worthington, the Celtics didn’t compete for more than two weeks during a season in which Ernst admits COVID-19 protocols presented many challenges. 

Although Jerome scored 137.975 in the league meet to settle for third, the Celtics responded with a program-record 141.125 on Feb. 27 in the district meet at Worthington Kilbourne to share the championship with Olentangy Berlin and advance to state. 

At the state team meet March 5 at Hilliard Bradley, the Celtics led central Ohio with a ninth-place finish with a score of 139.575. It was their best score at state in four appearances. 

“It’s really interesting,” Ernst said. “You’re always living on the edge hoping you don’t get shut down (because of the pandemic), so we were being really cautious about what we did outside of the gym. We haven’t gotten shut down at all, which is all we can ask for. All of our meets (were) as normal as they can be, and overall we’ve had a really good season. 

“(Our) confidence (helped) and we had a two-week break before OCCs, which gave our bodies a break from having multiple meets in one week.” 

Ernst shared the district all-around title with Coffman’s Emily Yoshino, as both scored 37.15. 

In the individual state meet March 6 at Bradley, Ernst led the area with a ninth-place finish in the all-around (36.925) while senior Izzy Willms tied for 20th (35.775). 

Ernst tied for seventh (9.425) and Willms tied for 11th (9.25) on floor exercise, Ernst tied for seventh (9.275) and Willms tied for 19th (8.85) on uneven bars and Ernst was 26th (8.975) and Willms tied for 32nd (8.8) on vault. 

The Celtics’ only other senior, Carrie Gosky, missed most of the season with injury. 

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Willms said. “Of course we had a few mistakes, but I’m just really proud of us. We’re such a small team and we handle ourselves really well. It’s my last year, so it was super exciting to go out with a bang.” 

Sophomores Kaylee Loper and Prisha Patel and freshmen Ella Cooper and Taylor Walker also competed at district. Walker tied for 10th on vault (9.1). 

“Kind of our motto going into this year was, ‘Whatever it takes,’ ” coach Kristen Willms said. “We’ll do whatever it takes to be able to compete and I feel like they did. They made the sacrifices and they did everything that was asked of them.  

“I feel like Dublin gymnastics as a whole — Jerome, Coffman and Scioto — really just upped the ante this year and I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish. It’s been a weird year.” 

Coffman sophomore Emily Yoshino competes in the individual state meet March 6 at Hilliard Bradley. She finished second on floor with a program-record score of 9.525.

•The Coffman gymnastics team is eligible to return its entire squad after scoring 137.725 on Feb. 20 to win the OCC-Central meet and also capture the overall league title with 24 points. 

The Shamrocks were sixth (133.925) at district as the top three teams advanced to state, but Yoshino shared the all-around title with Ernst and was third on vault (9.3), first on balance beam (9.475), second on floor (9.375) and tied for fourth on bars (9.0). 

Then at state, Yoshino was 14th in the all-around (36.35), second on floor (9.525), tied for fifth on beam (9.4), 25th on bars (8.55) and 30th on vault (8.875). 

Her state score on floor is a program record. 

“I was thinking (about the program record) but it wasn’t my top priority,” said Yoshino, a sophomore. “I’m proud of how I competed. We were fortunate to have a season and it was really fun competing with everyone.” 

Also competing in the all-around at district were junior Lorien Crispin, sophomore Alexis Colombo and freshman Quinn Hammond. 

Freshman Avery Ragland tied for 12th on vault (9.075), while junior Jordan Jones and freshman Aleigha Crispin also competed at district. 

“I don’t have any seniors,” coach Willms said. “They’re so young. We can really build off of what we did this year. We had an injury that kind of took us out of the running for a top-three spot (at district). As a coach with all of the ties that happened (at district), that’s pretty incredible that two of my kids (Ernst and Yoshino) tied (for the all-around title).” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•The Scioto gymnastics team capped its season by finishing 20th (114.15) at district. 

Competing in the all-around, junior Kaitlyn Bassingthwaite tied for 43rd (31.9), sophomore Elena Charria tied for 78th (29.9) and senior Sara Sun tied for 86th (28.925). 

Sun was the team’s lone senior. 

Freshman Thatiyana Haley also competed in the all-around (23.425) at district, and freshman Karen Lee is eligible to return as well. 

“Scioto had a great season,” coach Willms said. “We faced some changes and injuries, but they showed so much improvement and so much heart. Even when we were struggling to put a team score together, they had the best attitudes and really supported each other.” 

Scioto competed without sophomore Taylor Thacker, who opted not to return after she tied for fourth on floor (9.475) last season at state. 

—Frank DiRenna 

•Following a district runner-up finish last season, the Coffman girls basketball team took two steps forward this winter and nearly forced overtime in a Division I regional final March 5 at Westerville South before Newark’s Gwen Stare made a buzzer-beating layup for a 75-73 win. 

The Shamrocks, who had won 21 in a row before falling to the Wildcats, finished 23-2 overall and captured the OCC-Central title at 10-0. 

The only seniors in the program were guard Kenzie Bicking, who averaged 8.0 points, and backup forward Megan Breen. 

“It’s just been a team approach,” coach Adam Banks said. “It’s really tough to prepare for us because you never know who’s going to have their game. We’ve been preaching a team concept and we have 15 people that all can go in and make plays.” 

Coffman, which rallied from a 14-point deficit to edge Reynoldsburg 60-57 in a regional semifinal March 3, is eligible to return its top two scorers in sophomore forwards Jenna Kopyar and Tessa Grady. 

Both were first-team all-league, with Kopyar averaging 13 points and earning first-team all-district honors and Grady averaging 11.5 and making third-team all-district. 

Against Reynoldsburg, Kopyar’s 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining gave the Shamrocks a 58-56 lead.

Junior forward Tara Flynn was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, junior forward Cassidy Lafler was special mention all-league and junior guard Taylor Covington was honorable mention all-league. 

Junior guards Julia Flynn, Audrey Monahan and Ellie Vaccari, junior forwards Veronica Baldridge and Maya Miles and freshman guard Ava Collins are others eligible to return. 

“We said from the beginning of the year that we trust each other, we have great team chemistry and we just count on each other,” Covington said.  

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•COVID-19 limited the Scioto boys basketball team’s schedule as it finished 4-10 overall and 2-8 in the OCC-Capital. 

Seeded 36th in the Division I district tournament, the Irish snapped a streak of three consecutive postseason losses by beating 35th-seeded Teays Valley 48-47 in the first round Feb. 23. 

Scioto had not won a tournament game since defeating Delaware 57-48 in the first round in 2017. 

The Irish lost 58-44 in the second round Feb. 26 to fifth-seeded Olentangy Liberty, which went on to win a district championship. 

Senior guard Jaydon Pearson averaged 15.4 points to lead the Irish and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. 

Junior wing player Tysen Boze averaged 12.8 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds and was special mention all-league. 

Senior wing player Xavier Lopes was honorable mention all-league. 

Others eligible to return are junior guard Lesley Andoh and sophomore guard James Maholm. 

“You feel bad for the seniors, but unfortunately a lot of the stuff was out everyone’s control,” coach Mike Moler said. “You can’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself. We didn’t have the season that everyone wanted to have. The crowds not being able to come most of the year, it all has an effect on them.” 

—Frank DiRenna 

COFFMAN GIRLS BASKETBALL 

Record: 23-2 overall  

OCC-Central standings: Coffman (10-0), Olentangy Liberty and Hilliard Bradley (both 7-3), Hilliard Davidson (3-7), Olentangy Orange and Upper Arlington (both 1-8)

Seniors lost: Kenzie Bicking and Megan Breen 

Key returnees: Veronica Baldridge, Taylor Covington, Julia Flynn, Tara Flynn, Tessa Grady, Jenna Kopyar, Cassidy Lafler, Maya Miles and Ellie Vaccari 

Postseason: Defeated Central Crossing 80-14; def. Marion Harding 53-36; def. Marysville 37-28; def. Reynoldsburg 60-57; lost to Newark 75-73 in Division I regional final

COFFMAN GYMNASTICS 

OCC-Central standings: Coffman (24, 4-0), UA (18, 4-1), Bradley (18, 3-2), Orange (12, 2-2), Grove City (8, 1-4), Westerville Central (4, 0-5) 

Seniors lost: None 

Key returnees: Alexis Colombo, Aleigha Crispin, Lorien Crispin, Quinn Hammond, Jordan Jones, Avery Ragland and Emily Yoshino 

Postseason: Sixth (133.925) at district behind co-champions Olentangy Berlin and Jerome (141.125) 

JEROME GYMNASTICS 

OCC-Cardinal standings: Berlin (28, 6-0), Hilliard Darby (24, 5-1), Jerome (20, 4-2), Olentangy (16, 3-3), Thomas Worthington (10, 2-4), Marysville (10, 1-5), Central Crossing (4, 0-5) 

Seniors lost: Carrie Gosky and Izzy Willms 

Key returnees: Ella Cooper, Raegan Ernst, Kaylee Looper, Prisha Patel and Taylor Walker 

Postseason: Tied for first (141.125) at district, ninth (139.575) at state behind champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (148.675)

SCIOTO BOYS BASKETBALL 

Record: 4-10 overall 

OCC-Capital standings: Worthington Kilbourne (12-2), Westerville South (8-2), Canal Winchester (8-5), Big Walnut (7-5), Westerville North (6-7), Delaware (3-7), Scioto (2-8), Franklin Heights (2-12) 

Seniors lost: Bradley Anderson, Max Edling, Xavier Lopes, Kevin McCray and Jaydon Pearson  

Key returnees: Tysen Boze and James Maholm 

Postseason: Def. Teays Valley 48-47; lost to Liberty 58-44 in second round of Division I district tournament 

SCIOTO GYMNASTICS 

OCC-Capital standings: Liberty (26, 6-0), Kilbourne (26, 5-1), Davidson (20, 4-2), Lancaster (16, 3-3), Scioto (12, 2-4), Delaware (8, 1-5), Big Walnut (4, 0-6) 

Senior lost: Sara Sun 

Key returnees: Kaitlyn Bassingthwaite and Elena Charria 

Postseason: 20th (114.15) at district behind co-champions Jerome and Berlin (141.125)