The Whetstone High School boys bowling team has returned two athletes from its lineup in the Division I state tournament last season.
Senior Josh Roeder led the Braves at state with a 559 three-game series to place 52nd of 102 bowlers at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, where Whetstone finished 16th (2,863) of 16 teams. Classmate Davis Kleen rolled a 481 to place 76th.
Whetstone placed third (4,114) in the 20-team district tournament a year ago at Sawmill Lanes, as the top four advanced to state. Roeder was district runner-up with a 711.
"Although we lost three of our top four bowlers to graduation, our goal is to return to the state tournament," fourth-year coach Chris Lisi said. "The boys are committed to improvement and very coachable."
Roeder led Whetstone with a 217.7 game average last season, followed by 2017 graduates Alex Johnson (185.7), Christian Jefferson (180.1) and Michael Curry (168.1) and Kleen (163.8).
Also back are junior Victor Waitkus (131.0) and sophomore Amein Diallo (127.3).
"Josh is a two-handed bowler who is very knowledgeable about the game," Lisi said. "He's always coaching the other guys. He rolled a 295 (game) at district last year and has a strong desire to return to state. He's capable of placing as an individual.
"Davis is a second-year bowler who has improved more in one year than anyone I've coached. No one has been more dedicated in the offseason. He and Josh were the two who brought last year's team its amazing chemistry and they are working to share it with the newcomers."
Completing the roster are seniors Dalton Daugherty and Caleb Sperling, juniors Nick Partridge, Will Stevens and Nathan Vokac and sophomores Amein Diallo, Demetrius Hill, Andrew Moorer and Michael Vedovato.
"Dalton Daugherty is a first-year, two-handed bowler," Lisi said. "He's been working with Josh in the offseason to better his game. He has been the most consistent newcomer. We've got some newcomers who have ability, but we need to find consistency with our fourth, fifth and sixth bowlers."
The Braves entered the week 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the 11-team Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-C Division. Through six matches, Roeder was averaging 201.5, followed by Kleen (179.7), Daugherty (170.9), Waitkus (151.8), Diallo (134.2) and Vokac (128.4).
Whetstone split two non-league matches to begin the season, beating Eastmoor Academy 1,829-1,388 on Nov. 27 and losing to Worthington Kilbourne 2,117-1,926 on Nov. 29.
In league matches, the Braves beat West 2,131-1,487 on Dec. 4, South 2,071-1,191 on Dec. 5, Bexley 2,081-1,751 on Dec. 11 and Grandview 1,927-1,766 on Dec. 12.
Swank to lead girls bowlers
Senior Abbi Swank has returned for the girls bowling team and is aiming to lead the Braves to their fourth consecutive league championship.
Swank had a team-best 175 average last season when Whetstone finished 16-2 overall and won the COHSBC-Central title at 13-0, ahead of runner-up Worthington Christian (11-2).
The Braves are competing in the COHSBC-C this season.
Even though Whetstone lost two key bowlers to graduation in Bailey Waitkus (173.9) and Savannah Stuver (170.6), fifth-year coach Larry Howell anticipates a good season.
"We have a lack of depth and experience compared to past seasons, but with Abbi returning, we have a solid senior to lead the program," said Howell, whose team finished 11th (3,224) of 20 teams at district last season. "Our goals don't change. We want to win our fourth straight (COHSBC) title and be the top team in the City League."
Swank finished 22nd (532) of 133 bowlers at district a year ago.
Other returnees are senior Sabrina Vedovato and juniors Lindsay Arnold and Ally Weeks.
Through six matches, all of the returnees had improved their averages from last season. Swank was averaging 180.8, an increase of 5.8 pins. Arnold was averaging 154.5 (up from 124.6 last season), Weeks was averaging 131.1 (up from 121.1) and Vedovato was averaging 115.9 (up from 98.4).
Newcomers include senior Unique Diallo, juniors Noa Leslie and Carrie Mullins, sophomores Assiatou Diallo and Alea Millington-Fuqua and freshman Keyanna Miller.
Leslie and Millington-Fuqua, who were averaging 149 and 140.1, respectively, through six matches, have seen the most action of the group.
Whetstone entered the week 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the COHSBC-C.
The Braves had non-league wins over Eastmoor (1,512-1,237 on Nov. 27), Kilbourne (1,834-1,696 on Nov. 29) and DeSales (1,756-1,045 on Dec. 11). In league play, they defeated West (1,712-1,176 on Dec. 4), South (1,705-1,294 on Dec. 5) and Grandview (1,500-1,464) on Dec. 12.
Boys basketball team out to rough start
The boys basketball team lost to Dublin Jerome 63-42 on Dec. 16 and was 0-6 overall and 0-2 in the City League-North Division before playing Northland on Dec. 19.
Lamine Komara had 24 points against Jerome and was averaging 14.2 points through six games. Sean Jones added 11 points against the Celtics.
Nov. 27 -- Eastmoor Academy at Eastland Lanes
Nov. 29 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Dec. 4 -- West at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Dec. 5 -- South at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Dec. 11 -- Boys: Bexley* at Sequoia Pro Bowl; Girls: DeSales at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Dec. 12 -- Grandview at Sawmill Lanes
Dec. 18 -- Beechcroft at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Dec. 20 -- Marion-Franklin at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 11 -- Worthington Christian at HP Lanes
*Jan. 16 -- International at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Jan. 17 -- Big Walnut at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 19 -- Teays Valley at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 22 -- Northland at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 29 -- Haugland Learning Center at Capri Lanes
Jan. 31 -- Linden-McKinley at HP Lanes
Feb. 5 -- Marion Harding at Old Southland Lanes
Feb. 7 -- Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes
Feb. 12 -- Marion Harding at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Feb. 14 -- Eastmoor Academy at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Mifflin
Dec. 21 -- At West
*Dec. 22 -- At Mifflin
Dec. 23 -- West Duals