Watterson High School bowling coach Jerry Wagner isn't exaggerating when he says the majority of his athletes' bowling skills were raw coming into the season.

Watterson High School bowling coach Jerry Wagner isn't exaggerating when he says the majority of his athletes' bowling skills were raw coming into the season.

Wagner and his assistants, Les Harris and John Sheetz, spent the first several practices teaching the fundamentals of the sport, and they already have witnessed both squads making steady progress.

"We have very little experience and it takes several years to help the kids develop into strong bowlers, because most of them don't bowl all year long," Wagner said. "We started out by teaching the fundamentals, and by that I mean every little thing, from what foot to start on, what foot to slide on, what foot to stop on, how to hold the ball and how to throw the ball. We haven't had to deal with so many new players in several years, but it's been a lot of fun and we've already seen them improve a lot in the past month and a half. The more we work with them, the better they get, and both teams are going to be a lot stronger a couple of years from now."

Watterson doesn't compete again until Jan. 8 when it faces Reynoldsburg in a Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-White Division match at Sawmill Lanes. Also in the COHSBC-White are Big Walnut, DeSales, Hartley, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby, Hilliard Davidson, Ready and St. Charles.

The girls team beat Dublin Coffman 1,451-1,134 on Dec. 17 to improve to 2-5. Junior Alexa Gainer (277) was medalist.

The Eagles returned four letterwinners in Gainer, senior Morgan Ventresco, junior Caitlyn McDaniel and sophomore Claire Enderle. Also on the team are juniors Gia Fantozzi and Veronica Simonetti and freshmen Colleen McDaniel and Alisa Noll.

Noll (263) was medalist in Watterson's 1,409-1,274 victory over Grandview on Dec. 7 and Enderle (361) was medalist in a 1,638-1,446 loss to Ready on Dec. 8.

"Right now, winning matches isn't that big of a deal to us," Enderle said. "We're just trying to improve."

Last season, Watterson finished 17th (2,229) in the 18-team sectional at Rainbow Lanes behind champion Westerville Central (3,819). The top six teams advanced to district.

"We definitely want to bowl well (at sectional), because we didn't do so hot there last year," Enderle said. "Half of us are returning from last year's team and we're all doing really good, so I'm confident we'll improve."

The boys team beat Coffman 1,647-1,641 on Dec. 17 to improve to 1-6 and avenge a 1,816-1,103 loss to the Shamrocks on Dec. 14.

Senior Matt Enderle and sophomore Luke Byorth are the only returning letterwinners. Also on the team are senior Michael Alsharahia, sophomores Joseph Meeks, Clark Sabula and Hank Schaab, and freshmen Aram Hosenfeld and Michael Liston.

"I'm usually our top scorer, but Michael Alsharahia has been doing really good lately and Luke Byorth is bowling well, too," Matt Enderle said. "It's exciting to get our first win, but our biggest goal is to keep improving for the tournaments at the end of the year."

Last season, the Eagles finished fifth (3,866) in the 20-team sectional at Rainbow Lanes behind champion Pickerington North (4,054).

They then placed 21st (3,537) in the 22-squad district at HP Lanes, behind state-qualifiers Marysville (4,324), Westerville South (4,226) and Westerville North (4,195).

"Luke and I are the only returning guys who were on last year's team, so we're trying to build our team back up," Matt Enderle said.

"Our big goal is to be at our best for the playoffs to try to make it back to district."

•The swimming and diving teams will compete against Dublin Jerome and Dublin Scioto Saturday at the Dublin Recreation Center before playing host to the Watterson Relays on Monday at Thomas Worthington.

On Jan. 2, the Eagles' swimmers will compete in the Delaware Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan. That same day, their divers will compete in the New Albany Diving Invitational.