The progression continues for the Thomas Worthington High School boys bowling team.
The program has grown from eight bowlers in its inaugural season two years ago to 10 last season and 16 this season.
Third-year coach Joe Taylor also has seen improvement in performance. After finishing 1-13 overall in 2010-11, the Cardinals went 6-7 last season and are 4-3 heading into a match against Westerville South on Friday, Jan. 4, at Columbus Square Bowling Palace.
Thomas is 2-2 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North Division and 1-1 in the OCC-Ohio.
This is the Cardinals' first season competing in the OCC-Ohio, which also includes Kilbourne, Groveport, Lancaster, Newark and Reynoldsburg. Thomas beat Groveport 1,839-1,665 on Dec. 11 but lost to Newark 2,350-2,130 on Dec. 21.
"We lost one senior last year and we have a good group of seniors and some good underclassmen this year," said Taylor, whose program features a co-ed roster because the school does not have a girls team. "We have a good group of kids, including (four) girls.
"We spent the past few months looking for more girls but couldn't come up with enough to have a consistent team. You need more than five girls because illness and injuries are something you have to deal with every season."
The varsity consists of seniors Rockwell Dendiu, Nate Ensminger, Hayden Plummer and Charlie Roach, juniors Forrest Eisenschmidt and Tyler Tedrick, sophomores Nate Boggs and John Knox and one girl in junior Jahnai Dyer.
Rounding out the program are juniors Daniel Monnin and Cody Prosser, freshmen Grant Canty and Brown Icenhower and three girls in sophomore Abbey Dials and freshmen Kirsten Ensminger and Hala Mustafa.
Roach leads the Cardinals with a 195.2 average per game, followed by Knox (178.9), Eisenschmidt (169.3), Dendiu (169.1) and Boggs (164.6).
"Charlie Roach is far and away our best bowler because he is steady, and John Knox is right behind him," Taylor said. "Nate Boggs and Nate Ensminger also have been improving."
Last season, Thomas finished 5-7 in the 13-team COHSBC-North to place ninth, behind co-champions Jonathan Alder (11-1) and Westerville North (11-1), and finished 16th (2,364) in the 24-team sectional tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, as the top nine teams advanced to district at HP Lanes.
The Cardinals did not have any individual district qualifiers.
Wolves' program continues to grow
The Kilbourne boys team is 2-3 overall and in the COHSBC-North and the girls team is 2-2 overall and in the COHSBC-North.
The Wolves are in their first season competing in the OCC-Ohio. They open their OCC schedule Friday, Jan. 4, against Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes.
"We have a bunch of kids back from last year," third-year coach Mark Mramor said. "We had six bowlers in our first season (2010-11) and 16 last year and are up to 20 now. We only lost three kids from last year and have seven freshmen, so we're pretty excited."
The boys team is led by junior Alex Mramor, a district qualifier last season who is averaging a team-high 200.1 per game. Senior Tessa Epifanio and sophomore A.J. Lent both are averaging 188.9, followed by junior Josh Toulmin (150), sophomore Yuki Ono (144.6), senior Michael Johnson (139.8), freshman Matt Wilber (132) and sophomore Daichi Mae (115).
Epifanio elected to compete with the boys team during the regular season and, as a result, will not be eligible to compete in the girls postseason tournaments.
"Tessa made the choice to bowl with the boys this season so she could face better competition," coach Mramor said. "It was her choice and she's excited about the season.
"Alex Mramor, Tessa and A.J. Lent are our three main wheels. They will be who we lean on for any success we may have."
Sophomore Joy Sun leads the girls team with a 134.3 average, followed by sophomores Minori Mae (117.1) and Kyrie Barone (107.8), junior Lynn Tong (103.6), sophomore Haley Wilber (94.8) and freshman Olivia Brady (79.5).
"It's early for us," coach Mramor said. "We're still getting organized as a squad and I think we're making strides and getting a little better. We'll see how far we come from December to February."
Last season, the boys team finished 2-10 in the COHSBC-North to tie Olentangy Liberty for 11th and finished 17th (2,244) in the sectional at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, with Mramor advancing to district by rolling a 597 series to secure the fourth of nine individual district-qualifying berths.
At district, Mramor rolled a 545 to tie Westerville South's Adam Henson for 38th, as the top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the state tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The girls team went 3-7 in the 11-team COHSBC-North last season to tie Olentangy Orange for seventh, behind champion Westerville Central (10-0), and finished 20th (1,584) in the 22-team sectional at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The Wolves did not have any individual district qualifiers.