There are going to be bumps in the road for any first-year program, and that definitely has been the case with the Thomas Worthington High School bowling team.

There are going to be bumps in the road for any first-year program, and that definitely has been the case with the Thomas Worthington High School bowling team.

Just getting a team together took almost four years. Now, getting that first win is proving to be a challenge.

Girls make up more than half of the Cardinals' co-ed bowling team, which competes against opponents' boys teams. Maggie Taylor (178 average) and Kris Hand (163 average) lead the Cardinals.

"It's a first-year program and we're struggling a bit. We're going through some growing pains," coach Joe Taylor said. "We've had a few chances to steal one here and there. I think (the bowlers) are still getting used to the idea of being able to beat a boys team."

Led by Tessa Epifanio and Alex Mramor, Kilbourne has not struggled as much as Thomas in its first year.

Having some easy success has led Kilbourne coach Mike Mramor to start thinking big.

"There's people in the area that have some skills but don't know about us," coach Mramor said. "So I would say, depending on the skill level of the people that come out for the team in the future, that in two to three years if we can keep the same bowlers together and develop their skills accordingly that we could be in a position to be one of the better teams in the area."

Although bowling is a varsity sport in the state, both Kilbourne and Thomas compete as club teams. Both coaches want it to stay that way.

"We'd like to remain a club. There's still a lot of economic concerns in the school district," Mramor said. "All we wanted was a chance, and we got it. I don't see us becoming a varsity sport. It's just not our desire at this time to become a varsity sport. It's easier to be a club right now."

Taylor would like to see both programs expand to include separate boys and girls teams. It's something he hopes to accomplish by next season.

Getting a bowling program together and competing was just one obstacle for Kilbourne and Thomas.

The next hurdle - one they've been trying to clear all season - was getting permission to compete in the postseason.

The OHSAA couldn't prevent Kilbourne or Thomas from competing in the postseason, which starts with the sectional on Feb. 18.

However, there was some confusion among members of the Worthington school board.

The original thought was that if the bowling teams competed in an OHSAA tournament then that would make them varsity teams, thus costing the school district money it never intended to spend on bowling. However, the OHSAA allows clubs to compete as interscholastic programs, assuming all the athletes are from the same high school.

The deadline to register a program for the postseason was Jan. 24, and both Kilbourne and Thomas received late word that the school board had given the OK to participate in the postseason.

"It took a while to get here, but it's a big relief that we're going to the postseason," Taylor said.

He said his bowlers have done well handling a difficult first season.

"They're doing fine. (The losing) gets to them sometimes, but for the most part they're good," Taylor said. "They've all got great attitudes and they're still working hard at it. They know their chances are slim, but they're still fighting and not giving up."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Thomas and Kilbourne bowling teams:

KILBOURNE

*Jan. 21 - Match vs. Jonathan Alder postponed because of bad weather. Makeup date has not been announced.

*Jan. 24 - Def. Olentangy Orange 2,177-1,776

*Jan. 25 - Competed against Thomas Worthington

*Feb. 2 - Westerville Central at Palace Lanes

Of note: The Wolves were 6-4 overall and 5-4 in the COHSBC-North Division before Jan. 25.

THOMAS

*Jan. 21 - Match vs. Westerville South postponed because of bad weather and rescheduled for Feb. 9.

*Jan. 25 - Competed against Kilbourne

*Jan. 28 - Hilliard Davidson at Capri Lanes

Of note: The Cardinals were 0-8 overall and in the COHSBC-North Division before Jan. 25.

*COHSBC-North match