Gymnastics: Westerville Central Warhawks eager to compete

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Junior Mal Lewis is the top returnee for Central after scoring 26.6 in the all-around last season at district.

Westerville Central gymnastics coach Shea Stammen hopes her team receives the opportunity to hone its skills and continue to progress this season.

The Warhawks’ season was delayed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and they likely will not return to action until January, according to Stammen.

“I’m hoping we have a season,” said Stammen, who is in her eighth season. “We’re going to be a little raw, but they’re already starting to work on the bars skills and we had beam routines finished before we went on break. Everyone could do a vault, so they’re getting there.”

The Warhawks will feature six competitors, including junior Mal Lewis, who recorded a 26.6 in the all-around last season at district.

“I’m super excited for the season,” said Lewis, who is in her third season on the team. “We have a lot of new girls on the team, so it’s kind of a new experience besides what’s going on with COVID. ... It’s a really good group of girls and we all get along really well, so I’m really excited to see what we can do this season.”

Also back is junior Anna Priedeman. Juniors Izzy Muccio and Joli Myers have cheerleading experience, while freshman Taylor Hinder previously competed at the club level for Buckeye Gymnastics.

“Taylor has some experience and I think she’ll have a decent season if we can ever get going,” Stammen said.

Sophomore Jessica Shown rounds out the team.

Junior Chloe Griggs, who led the Warhawks at district last season, has opted not to compete this season to instead focus on cheerleading, according to Stammen. Griggs tied for 61st of 108 gymnasts in the all-around (31.175) at district.

The Warhawks are competing in in the OCC-Central Division with Dublin Coffman, Grove City, Hilliard Bradley, Olentangy Orange, Upper Arlington and Westland.

“We want to try and win a couple OCC meets,” Stammen said. “The divisions are new this year, so we’ll be learning our new conference and seeing how we stand in the new division of the OCC with different teams. We always try to place as high as we can in the OCC and try to increase our scores as the season goes on.

“You ultimately want to have your highest team score either at the OCC meet or the district meet.”

Central finished fourth in the OCC-Buckeye last season at 2-6 with eight points, behind champion Orange (20, 8-0).

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Coach: Shea Stammen, eighth season

Top athletes: Mal Lewis and Anna Priedeman

Key losses: Katlyn Alexander, Chloe Griggs, Keely Leech, Kylie Nelson and Abigail Ring

2019-20 OCC-Buckeye standings: Olentangy Orange (20, 8-0), Olentangy (16, 6-2), Olentangy Liberty (12, 4-4), Westerville Central (8, 2-6), Big Walnut (4, 0-8)

2020 postseason: 21st at district