HILLIARD, Ohio -- Clay had a major piece of motivation on its side as it prepared for the state team gymnastics meet Friday at Hilliard Bradley High School.
With a group of five freshman and one junior a year ago, the Eagles won a district title but turned in an 11th-place finish at the state meet.
There was a much more positive slant to being at state this time around, as Clay improved its score from 133.000 to 136.325 and finished eighth.
Brecksville-Broadview Heights won its 12th state title -- its ninth in a row -- with a score of 148.00.
Also representing the area was Perrysburg, which placed 10th (134.150).
"We've done well all year so we wanted to come in and do well," Clay senior Kylee Ault said. "Last year we only got 11th, so we bumped that up three spots. We wanted to break into the top 10, so it's pretty cool that we did that."
Ault is the lone senior among a lineup that also features sophomores Jody Demeo, Amethyst Floyd, Erin Gyurke, and Emilie Roman.
Clay's best score was on beam, where it finished with 35.050. Ault led with a 9.025, Demeo scored 9.00, and Roman scored 8.725.
Ault scored 9.3 and Roman 9.025 on vault, while Ault led on bars (8.625) and floor exercise (9.175).
Ault will compete during Saturday's individual competition on bars and floor and Demeo will compete on beam.
"I'm extremely happy with them," Clay coach Nick Distel said. "There was some very strong competition here. It was pretty stacked. They all just got a little bit better. You're not going to see anything spectacular, but they're all good."
Senior Chelsea Williams led Perrysburg with a 9.55 on vault, a 9.15 on bars, 9.175 on beam, and 9.425 on floor.
She then turned her focus to Saturday's all-around, where last year she finished fourth.
Perrysburg finished 12th when Williams was a sophomore but didn't advance last season.
"I was happy to hit all of my routines," Williams said. "Being with my team for the last time is sad. I really liked the way all of the teams come together and warm-up [at the state team meet]."
Perrysburg also was led by senior Abbey Dunckel on beam (8.425) and floor (8.40) and freshman Lauren Delp on floor (8.325).
The other senior who competed for the Yellow Jackets was Tyniesha Wilson, a first-year competitor.
"I thought they all did very well," Perrysburg coach Michelle Nordhause said. "They wanted to hit all of their routines, and we hit about 80 percent of them. It's very exciting. Our score tonight was higher than it was at district."