Despite losing her top player to graduation, Westerville Central High School girls bowling coach Julie Wells believes her team again will contend for titles this season.
Mary Wells, the coach's daughter, now is a freshman bowler at the University of Central Missouri. Last season, she was sixth (632) at state as Pickerington North's Brittany Beeghley won the title (654) among 108 competitors.
Wells was second-team all-state and Central finished fifth at state behind champion Coldwater.
"I'm happy and I'm not surprised because they're working really hard and they know what it's like to go to state and they want to go back," said coach Wells, whose team is 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North Division.
Back are sophomores Savannah Slark and Kelly Scarborough and junior Katelynn Rygg. Slark was 68th (468) at state last season.
"All three girls have really stepped up," coach Wells said. "My returnees have all done very well. They worked real hard over the summer."
The team also includes juniors Gina Scarborough, Maranda Tatman and Amber Wackerly and freshman Adrieann Rowland.
"This is a very young team," said coach Wells, who is in her seventh season. "We have no seniors."
Central defeated Olentangy 1,792-1,662 on Dec. 5, Hilliard Bradley 1,610-1,498 on Dec. 11 and Delaware 2,048-1,873 on Dec. 20.
The Warhawks were 26th in the 32-team Invitational Kickoff Tournament on Dec. 1 at Columbus Square Bowling Palace behind champion Beavercreek.
Central also was ninth (2,500) in the 22-team Holiday Baker Marathon on Dec. 8 at Columbus Square behind champion Zanesville.
Last season, Central won (3,551) the 28-team Eastland Lanes sectional ahead of runner-up Cardington (3,503) and finished first (3,603) in the 18-team district tournament at HP Lanes ahead of runner-up Cardington (3,585).
The Warhawks finished 13-0 overall and first in the COHSBC-North at 10-0, ahead of second-place Gahanna (8-1).
Central also finished first in the OCC-Cardinal at 5-0, ahead of Gahanna (4-1), Westerville South (3-2), Delaware (2-3), Westerville North (1-4) and Big Walnut (0-5).
North returns four bowlers
North returns four bowlers from a team that finished 13th (2,618) in last season's 22-team Columbus Western Bowl sectional behind champion Briggs (3,494).
Back are seniors Michaela Giese and Megan Patterson, junior Myriah Child and sophomore Megan Stark.
The roster also includes freshmen Alivia Garee, Cara Mariland and Emily Moore.
"I'm just looking to build on what we had last year," seventh-year coach Dean Dabe said. "We struggled last year and took our lumps. So far this year they've won. They haven't been pretty wins, but like I tell the kids, a win is a win."
North was 3-2 overall after losing to Watterson 1,429-1,364 on Dec. 28. The Warriors also were 2-1 in the COHSBC-North. They defeated Hilliard Darby 1,623-1,184 on Dec. 11, Olentangy Liberty 1,631-1,560 on Dec. 13 and Watterson 1,585-1,374 on Dec. 17, and lost to Westerville South 1,772-1,673 on Dec. 4.
North placed 20th (1,848) in the Holiday Baker Marathon.
Last season, the Warriors tied Darby for fifth (5-5) in the COHSBC-North and finished fifth in the OCC-Cardinal.
South off to strong start
South was 5-1 overall and 5-0 in the COHSBC-North before playing Hilliard Davidson on Jan. 2.
In addition to beating North, the Wildcats defeated Olentangy 1,790-1,585 on Dec. 12, Hilliard Bradley 1,612-1,580 on Dec. 13, Olentangy Orange 1,778-1,370 on Dec. 17 and Big Walnut 1,816-1,554 on Dec. 18. They lost to Delaware 1,783-1,631 on Dec. 6.
South was 28th in the Invitational Kickoff Tournament and eighth in the Holiday Baker Marathon.
Back are juniors Hannah Gotschall, Jontae Jackson, Mahaya Porter and Maranda Reed and sophomore Charley Goodwin.
Other bowlers are sophomore Marissa Barthel and freshmen Kirsten Doty, Aleyah Mayne and Sydney VanScyoc.
"I have a few bowlers back this year and I have some new faces," seventh-year coach Jamie West said.
Last season, South was fourth (3,127) in the Columbus Western Bowl sectional and fourth (3,353) at district as third-place Gahanna (3,415) secured the final state berth.
Competing as individuals at state were 2012 graduates Kate Reid (63rd, 485) and Jessica Shambaugh (64th, 484).
The Wildcats were third (8-2) in the COHSBC-North and third in the OCC-Cardinal.