First-year Groveport Madison High School bowling coach Christi Middendorf believes the boys team has the potential to reach the Division I state tournament this season.

The Cruisers have returned two athletes who competed in the district tournament last season in seniors Stephen Snyder and Chaz Wilson.

"I really like the potential of this team," said Middendorf, who replaced Alan Drury after his only season guiding the program. "They have been great at Baker games and that's such an important part of high school bowling.

"I think if we can keep their attitudes in check, we'll have a terrific season. They're pretty hard on themselves and sometimes that isn't such a great thing. But with five seniors, if we can keep them on the straight and narrow and eliminate some of the head games, this is a team that could get to state. That's my goal for them."

Last season, Wilson rolled a 631 three-game series at district at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl to tie 2017 graduate Jordan Bennett for 14th of 127 bowlers as the top four finishers advanced to state. Logan's Austin Huffines (646) was the final state qualifier.

"Chaz is a really strong bowler who also has shown consistency," Middendorf said. "He has a good head on his shoulders and is very knowledgeable about the sport."

Snyder rolled a 463 to place 101st at district last season as the Cruisers finished 16th (3,798) of 20 teams, behind champion Westerville Central (4,176). The top four teams advanced to state.

Joining Wilson and Snyder in the regular lineup to start the season are seniors Corey Claprood, Tyler Miracle and Lonnie Stuckey. Stuckey is a transfer from St. Charles who had a 174.3 game average last season.

"Lonnie has started very strong and Tyler is really bowling well, too," Middendorf said.

Last season, Groveport won the OCC-Cardinal Division championship and placed third in the 16-team Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South Division. The COHSBC underwent realignment during the offseason and the Cruisers are now competing in the B Division.

Groveport was 2-2 overall and 2-1 in both leagues entering the week.

The Cruisers beat Worthington Kilbourne (2,253-2,191 on Dec. 7) and Hilliard Bradley (2,160-1,909 on Dec. 8) in matches that count toward both leagues. They lost to Pickerington North (2,194-2,165 on Dec. 12) in a COHSBC-B match and lost to Newark (2,143-1,885 on Dec. 5) in an OCC-Cardinal match.

Entering the week, Wilson had a team-high 201.7 average, followed by Stuckey (194), Claprood (169.4), Miracle (158) and Snyder (153.4).

Others on the team who have seen limited time thus far are senior Nathan Kuhn (127), junior Kyron Moses (140.5), sophomore William Lawson (150) and freshman Jeremiah Delong (147.8).

Deaner, Carter to lead girls bowlers

Junior Leah Deaner and senior Shayana Carter are expected to lead the girls bowling team.

Deaner had a 183 average as a freshman and a 174.5 average last season when she competed with the boys team because there were not enough girls to field a team.

Competing in the girls postseason a year ago as an individual, Deaner rolled a 571 three-game series to place sixth in the Division I sectional at Sawmill Lanes and then rolled a 462 to finish 59th of 133 bowlers at district at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.

"Leah is fantastic and is really into competing," Middendorf said. "I think she enjoys being back with a team this year and she has a strong first-year (varsity) bowler in Shayana Carter. I think she's really going to be strong and they're a great 1-2 punch.

"But we've got a number of girls behind them that are working hard on their game, but not at the same skill level yet. I'm not only excited about Leah and Shayana, but I'm excited to see how well the others progress and gain some confidence in their ability and enjoy the sport."

Rounding out the roster are seniors Katie Cordle, McKenzie Daniel and Abby Quinn, sophomore Miranda Wodzisz and freshmen Leanne Dotson and Makayla Harold.

The Cruisers were 2-2 overall and 1-2 in both the COHSBC-B and OCC-Cardinal entering the week.

They defeated Kilbourne (1,483-1,451 on Dec. 7) and lost to Bradley (1,820-1,591 on Dec. 8) in matches that count toward both leagues, beat OCC-Cardinal foe Newark (1,483-1,322 on Dec. 5) and lost to COHSBC-B foe Pickerington North (1,585-1,548 on Dec. 12).

Entering the week, Deaner led the team with a 183.1 average, followed by Carter (154.6), Cordle (115) and Quinn (111.6).

Boys basketball team entered week on skid

The boys basketball team was 1-5 overall before playing host to Pickerington Central on Dec. 19 and is 1-1 in the OCC-Capital entering a game Friday, Dec. 22, at New Albany.

Groveport, which defeated Franklin Heights 77-57 in a league game Dec. 8, entered the contest against Central on a four-game losing streak.

The skid began Dec. 9 with a 62-49 loss to Hilliard Darby and continued with losses to Grove City (80-78 in overtime Dec. 12), Canal Winchester (64-56 on Dec. 15) and Olentangy (74-72 in overtime Dec. 16).

Against Grove City, the Cruisers overcame a 17-point first-quarter deficit and outscored the Greyhounds 31-21 in the fourth quarter, only to be outscored 7-5 in overtime.

Against Olentangy, the Cruisers were outscored 9-5 in the fourth quarter and 8-6 in overtime. Against Canal Winchester, the Cruisers led 45-44 through three quarters before getting outscored 20-11 in the fourth.

Jhaiquez Ford had 18 points against Franklin Heights, with Antwon Hampton scoring 14 and Tyreese Cherry and Teron Pittman scoring 10 apiece.

Hampton had 24 points, including layup at the buzzer to force overtime, against Grove City. Nahki Taylor added 14 points, Cherry scored 13 and Ford scored 10.

Cherry had 22 points and Pittman scored 10 against Canal Winchester, while Pittman and Hampton scored 15 apiece against Olentangy, with Cherry adding 13 and Jacobs 11.

Through five games, Cherry was averaging a team-high 16 points, followed by Hampton (13.2), Pittman (10) and Jacobs (8).

Girls basketball team out to slow start

The girls basketball team is out to a slow start.

Groveport, which is young in terms of experience, was 2-5 overall before playing Pickerington Central on Dec. 19 and is 1-2 in the OCC-Capital entering a home game against New Albany on Friday, Dec. 22.

The Cruisers defeated Columbus Academy 40-20 on Nov. 28 and beat Franklin Heights 46-24 in a league game Dec. 8.

Through seven games, Groveport was averaging 31.6 points and allowing 49.9. The Cruisers were 0-5 when allowing 25 or more points.

Laney White was averaging 11.6 points through seven games, but entered the contest against Central averaging 17.7 points in the previous three games.

Wrestlers place second at Bexley

The wrestling team finished second in the six-team Bexley Duals on Dec. 16, losing to Dresden Tri-Valley 42-31 in the final.

The Cruisers defeated Newark Catholic 60-20, Marysville B 41-33, Bexley 48-30 and Whetstone 74-3 in the event.

Groveport, which defeated host Hamilton Township 51-24 on Dec. 13, doesn't return to action until Jan. 6 when it competes in the Licking Valley Invitational. The Cruisers then will begin their OCC-Capital duals Jan. 11 at Canal Winchester.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

BOWLING

Dec. 2 -- Red & Blue Classic at HP Lanes

*Dec. 5 -- Newark at Park Lanes

*Dec. 7 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*Dec. 8 -- Hilliard Bradley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*Dec. 12 -- Pickerington North at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

Dec. 16 -- Beast of the East at Sunrise Lanes

*Dec. 18 -- Hilliard Davidson at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*Dec. 19 -- Pickerington Central at Rule 3

*Jan. 5 -- Delaware at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*Jan. 11 -- Thomas Worthington at Capri Lanes

*Jan. 12 -- Columbus Academy at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*Jan. 16 -- Hilliard Darby at Game of Western Bowl

*Jan. 18 -- Centennial at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*Jan. 22 -- Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes

*Feb. 1 -- Lancaster at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Groveport Madison boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 22 -- At New Albany

Dec. 23 -- Home vs. Granville

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. New Albany

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 22 -- Teays Valley at Pickaway County YMCA

*League contest