The Centennial High School boys and girls bowling teams combined into one boys squad last season because only four girls joined the program.
The Stars have put together a varsity girls squad once again this season after seniors Amina El-Amin, Victoria Evans and Alexandria Wells, juniors Donnasia Allen, Marie Philips and Braylin Tucker and freshman Nashira Tucker committed to compete.
"We have a few first-time bowlers on the girls team and some younger talent," first-year coach Ryan Dobbins said. "The quick improvement of the new bowlers is quite remarkable. They have taken to the instruction well and it has shown in their scores. There may be a chance some of them could challenge a varsity bowler. Also, Nashira Tucker is a freshman who came on the scene and is bowling very well thus far into the season with the varsity girls."
Centennial is 1-2 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division. The Stars opened Dec. 3 with a 1,496-1,189 loss to Whetstone before beating Brook-haven 1,336-1,108 on Dec. 4 and falling to Ready 1,903-1,406 on Dec. 17.
In two games against Ready, Evans rolled a 250 series, followed by Nashira Tucker (249), Wells (216), Braylin Tucker (215) and Allen (201).
"We really have an awesome group of young ladies," Dobbins said. "Not only do we have great senior leadership ... but they show fantastic sportsmanship with other teams and support each other on the lanes. Seniors Victoria Evans and Alex Wells definitely pave the way and serve as great role models.
"We want each and every girl to continue to improve on hitting their marks (and) perfecting their swing and release. More importantly, we want each girl to improve upon their personal-best scores and really pay attention to the details in their game. If they do this, the bigger picture, pins and wins, will take care of themselves."
The boys team is 2-2 overall and in the COHSBC-Central. It opened with a 1,678-1,651 loss to Whetstone before defeating Brookhaven 1,678-1,670, beating Haugland Learning Center 1,878-1,260 on Dec. 13 and losing to Ready 1,966-1,535.
The Stars finished seventh (9-5) in the COHSBC-Central last season behind champion Ready (14-1).
Senior Justin Taylor and sophomores Jordan Brantley and Lewis Chambers have returned, while seniors Matt Ballard, Tim Montgomery and Robby Turner round out the lineup.
Taylor had a team-best 192.8 average and was an individual district qualifier last season. He rolled a 589 series at sectional to finish 10th of 166 competitors then placed 50th (514) of 117 competitors at district, 143 pins behind the third and final state qualifier.
In two games against Ready, Taylor bowled a 393 series, followed by Montgomery (227), Chambers (225), Turner (215) and Brantley (205).
"Our strengths are definitely the senior leadership," said Dobbins, who is working with boys coach Brian Hamilton. "Our weaknesses are too many players focus on the score of the opponents rather than focusing on knocking down our own pins. Sometimes it affects our ability to hit our marks and roll strikes.
"Justin Taylor recently bowled a 279 at Capri Lanes (against Brookhaven). His focus, determination and skills were definitely something to marvel at this early in the year."
Swimming teams off until Jan. 4
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams next compete in the Wellington Holiday Meet on Jan. 4 at Columbus Aquatics Center.
The girls finished second (88) in a tri-meet behind Hartley (104) and ahead of Wellington (47) on Dec. 16, as Julia Brooks won the 100-yard freestyle (1 minute, .57 of a second) and Brooks, Sam Meanor, Erin Erenpreiss and Glorianna Fleming won the 200 free relay (1:55.33).
The Stars also finished third (243) in the six-team Jaguar Invitational on Dec. 14 behind Olentangy Orange (315) and Grandview (284), as Brooks won the 100 free (58.52).
"We all swam really well in the last few meets," Brooks said. "We've had a lot of times drop across the team, so we're making a lot of progress. We're all happy with where we're at right now, but we're hoping to see more time drops in our next meet."
The boys finished second (71) behind Hartley (101) and ahead of Wellington (48) as Mark Brownfield won the 200 free (2:13.64).
Centennial also finished third (235) in the seven-team Jaguar Invitational behind Orange (315) and Grandview (277), as Brownfield was second in the 200 free (2:12.36) and John Beyer was second in the 50 free (25.43).