The Pickerington High School North boys bowling team has aspirations of advancing to the state tournament, but first the Tigers will need to prove they can make it past the sectional level.

The Pickerington High School North boys bowling team has aspirations of advancing to the state tournament, but first the Tigers will need to prove they can make it past the sectional level.

Last season North was 12th (2,511) at the sectional behind champion Westerville South (2,932) as the top nine advanced to district.

North will be led by seniors Ryan Gorring, Chris Beeghley and Drew Gray, juniors Phil Conley, Brandon Woods and Justin Gorring and freshman Kyle Mushill. All but Mushill are returnees, though Mushill has plenty of experience.

"We've got a strong enough team to make it to state if they keep their composure," coach Bob Reese said.

Until Reese figures out the ideal lineups for regular and Baker games, the Panthers will lean on Beeghley, Conley and Ryan Gorring. What ultimately did North in last season, the Baker games, is an area in which Reese would like to see some improvement.

"That's our downfall right now. They're getting better at working as a unit but it's still a concern," Reese said.

Having almost the entire team return from last year has added to the Panthers' expectations.

"They've got high hopes this year but they've got to do it for themselves," Reese said. "I can't go out there and do it for them."

•The North girls team has similar expectations to the boys team. With three seniors back from a team that just missed advancing to the district tournament, North has its sights set on a trip to state.

Last season North finished eighth (2,041) behind champion Westerville South (2,305) at the sectional as the top seven advanced to district.

Leading the Panthers will be seniors Katie Rosshirt, Chrissi Singell and Jess Widener. The rest of the team is rounded out by sophomore Emily Bartos and freshman Nicole Kuhnert.

"This season I think we can get through the sectional," coach Glen Kearney said. "We have three seniors and you can see they've grown from the first day of practice to now."

One of the team's strengths is chemistry, as three seniors returned.

"They're very supporting of each other," Kearney said. "They're not just looking for a star who will carry the team. They know it's going to take a team effort."

•The Central boys team has big expectations after falling just short of advancing to the state tournament last year. At district the Tigers were seventh (4,792) behind champion Westerville Central (5,193).

Central will be led by seniors Josh Fridley and Joel Newhouse and juniors T.J. McGuire, Wesley Bradford and Steven Piersol.

"We want to go further in the tournament and advance to state this year," coach Mark Miller said. "We also want to beat some of the teams we lost to last year. I'm confident we can do that if we concentrate on our spares. We've already improved some but we still have a lot to do."

The point of emphasis for Central will be picking up spares and improved Baker games. At district last year, the Tigers were fourth after the regular games but fell to seventh after the Baker round.

"That's about it. That's where we've lost them," Miller said. "You don't have 10 shots to get your head into it and you've got to make decisions on a lane you haven't bowled on. They just need to trust what they do and trust their instincts. That's what we're working on right now."

•The Central girls team also is hoping for a trip to the state tournament. First, though, the Tigers will need to prove they can advance to district. Last season Central was one spot away from qualifying to district as the Tigers finished eighth (2,697) behind champion Westerville Central (3,312).