With few experienced bowlers, Watterson High School bowling coach Jerry Wagner expects this to be a rebuilding year for both the boys and girls teams.
The girls team lost nine of its top 10 scorers from a year ago, including the top five, to graduation.
The Eagles were 0-2 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division before competing against DeSales on Dec. 17. They opened Dec. 10 with a 1,629-1,179 loss to Northland and lost to Columbus Academy 1,428-1,230 on Dec. 11.
Last season, Watterson went 10-5 overall and finished fourth (7-3) in the 11-team COHSBC-Central behind Ready (10-0), Northland (9-1) and Hartley (8-2).
"It was nice having so many seniors last year, but no one was promoting our sport to the younger kids and, as a result, we're not going to have j.v. teams for our boys or girls programs for the first time ever because our numbers are so low," Wagner said. "Right now, we have only eight girls on our team and most of them don't have a lot of experience, so we're in the process of rebuilding."
Wagner is hoping senior Jaide Reinhard, who had the Eagles' sixth-best game average last season (104.2), will decide to return at some point to help lead his team. According to Wagner, Reinhard did not participate in any preseason practices and missed the matches against Northland and Columbus Academy.
"Kids are still welcome to join our team because it's still early in the season and we'd like to build our numbers up," he said. "Jaide said she may come back at some point, but she's busy and she hasn't shown up to a practice yet. If she does return, I think she could probably average around 150 and really help our team."
As of last week, the Eagles' roster consisted of sophomore Mary Kate Crimmel and freshmen Cecelia Baker, Rachel Bigley, Caroline Gulla, Natalia Francescon, Elizabeth King, Nicole Stock and Claire Tillman.
Against Northland, Stock rolled a 214 in two games, Bigley rolled a 209 in two games, Tillman rolled a 107 in one game and Gulla rolled a 103 in one game.
"Our girls eventually will start building up their scores again," Wagner said. "We've just gotten each of them balls that fit their hands properly and we're working on teaching them the fundamentals of the sport. They should improve a lot over the season and, hopefully, we'll play other teams that have a similar experience level and we can win those (matches)."
Carter returns for boys bowling team
The boys bowling team has returned its top scorer from last season in senior David Carter, but its next five highest scorers graduated.
Carter had a team-high 180.7 average last season, as the Eagles finished 11-10 overall and tied Grandview for fifth (10-5) in the 16-team COHSBC-Central, behind Ready (14-1), Columbus Academy (12-3), DeSales (11-3) and Brookhaven (11-4).
Carter was an individual district qualifier last season. He rolled a 568 series in the 30-team sectional tournament at Columbus Western Bowl to finish 15th of 166 competitors. He then finished 12th (604) of 117 competitors at district at HP Lanes, finishing 53 pins behind the third and final state qualifier.
Watterson was 1-1 overall and in the league before competing against DeSales on Dec. 17. The Eagles opened Dec. 10 with a 1,674-1,633 victory over Northland before losing to Columbus Academy 2,037-1,636 on Dec. 11.
Against Northland, Carter rolled a 437 in two games, including a career-high 266 in his first game, and senior Steven Stiegelman rolled a 369.
"We're kind of rebuilding after we lost most of our varsity team to graduation, but our team has a lot of enthusiasm and we did awesome in our first (match)," Carter said. "Steven bowled in a league with me for three months this year and he's really improved a lot."
Also on the team are juniors Joey Merkle, Harry Shaw and Elliott Taylor, sophomore Andrew Huber and freshmen Ken Grimes and Ben Magg.
"When you don't have many boys like David Carter who bowl year round, it's tough to win matches and make it to district," Wagner said. "Our boys will win a few matches, but probably not a lot. I'm hoping a few of our boys will surprise me and we'll beat some teams who we're not expected to beat so we can finish with a .500 record. David has a good shot at going to district and a shot at even going to state if he plays well at the right time of year."
Girls basketball team rebounds from loss
The girls basketball team rebounded from a 43-30 loss to Ready in a CCL game Dec. 12 to beat Hilliard Davidson 62-36 on Dec. 14 to improve to 4-2 overall.
Against Davidson, Makenzie Bevins had 23 points and Maggie McCarthy scored nine.
The Eagles, who are 1-1 in the CCL, do not play again until they play host to the Watterson Christmas Classic on Dec. 27 and 28. They will play host to Bexley on the first day of the event and Hilliard Darby on the second day.
Last season, Watterson went 1-1 in the event, beating Darby 52-40 and losing to Dublin Jerome 32-27.