Coming off its first state title, the Westerville Central High School boys bowling team is thinking about what it can do for an encore.
Although 12th-year coach Julie Wells said the championship always will provide cherished memories, the Warhawks have moved on to their next quest, which includes defending their Division I championship.
"It was a great year," Wells said. "We met all of our goals, we won, but that was last year. We have to work on this year. It's one goal at a time."
The Warhawks are off to a strong start, as they are 5-0 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division. They also are 4-0 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Central returns the nucleus of its championship lineup, including senior Cameron Gonce, who rolled a 654 series in the state tournament to finish 10th of 102 competitors and earn second-team all-state honors.
Also back are junior Devon Richardson (19th, 530) and senior Alex Fleetwood (29th, 599).
Juniors Zach Gonzalez and Nick Owsiak and sophomore Wesley Minke also competed at state.
The Warhawks wrapped up their title by defeating Wapakoneta three games to none in the state final at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
"We came out with a goal (last season) to win state and we accomplished it," Gonzalez said. "Our main goal this year is to repeat and prove that we're still the best and look out for us. We shouldn't stop this year and we shouldn't stop next year, either."
Wells said freshman Malik Brown has a bright future and should contribute.
"We have a lot of familiar faces," Wells said. "All of them have been with us for at least a year and Malik, who is in ninth grade, he has been bowling since he was a young guy, so he brings a lot of experience as a freshman. ... We are very deep."
Central opened COHSBC-A and OCC-Buckeye play by defeating Westerville North 2,442-1,552 on Dec. 4 at Columbus Square Bowling Palace. Gonzalez led with a 436 two-game series, followed by Minke with a 434.
Last season, the Warhawks and Westerville South shared the COHSBC-North title at 14-1.
Central also won the OCC-Buckeye title at 7-0, ahead of second-place South (6-1).
Girls bowling team 'learning every day'
Wells said the girls bowling team is making strides.
The Warriors are 4-1 overall and in the COHSBC-A. They're also 3-1 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Central defeated North 1,822-1,603 on Dec. 4 as senior Summer Snyder had a 343 two-game series and junior Jocelyn Grimsley had a 315.
Also back are seniors Kirsten Miller and Madison Owsiany and sophomore Reace Gonzalez.
Junior Amber Hockstok and freshmen Jenna Owsiak and Stephanie Showalter also have contributed this season.
"The girls are learning every day," Wells said. "They're looking good and they're enthusiastic. They got their first win against North, which is always a positive thing when you bowl another Westerville school and win."
Last season, Central tied Hilliard Bradley for seventh in the COHSBC-North (8-6) behind champion Gahanna (14-0) and went 5-2 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie Olentangy for second behind South (6-1).
Boys basketball team evens league mark
The boys basketball team evened its OCC-Buckeye record at 1-1 with a 60-50 win over visiting Olentangy Orange on Dec. 15.
Josh McDaniel made four 3-pointers and scored 15 points to lead the Warhawks. Thomas Hickman also had 15 points and Cam Schroeder added 14.
Central took control in the second quarter, outscoring the Pioneers 20-6.
The Warhawks are 4-1 overall as they prepare to play host to Olentangy on Friday, Dec. 22, in a league contest.
Girls basketball team off to strong start
The girls basketball team was 6-0 overall before playing Upper Arlington on Dec. 19.
The Warhawks improved to 2-0 in the OCC-Buckeye with a 46-34 win at Orange on Dec. 15 as Mabinty Kebe led a balanced attack with 11 points.
Central also used a balanced effort to defeat Buckeye Valley 51-33 on Dec. 16. Najayah Shepherd scored 10 points.
Dec. 2 -- Kickoff Tournament at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 4 -- Westerville North at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 8 -- Big Walnut at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Dec. 9 -- Holiday Baker Marathon at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 13 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes
*Dec. 14 -- Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes
Dec. 16 -- Muskingum University High School Invitational at Hall of Fame Lanes in Canton
*Dec. 18 -- Delaware at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 5 -- Beechcroft at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Jan. 6 -- Pioneer Baker Bash at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 9 -- Olentangy Liberty at Sawmill Lanes
Jan. 13 -- Central District Preview at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 17 -- Westerville South at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 19 -- Gahanna at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Jan. 20 -- Pirate Challenge Tournament at Poelking Lanes in Dayton
*Jan. 26 -- New Albany at Gahanna Lanes
*Jan. 30 -- London at Madison Lanes
*Feb. 2 -- Marysville at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Feb. 10 -- COHSBC tournament at Game of Western Columbus
Below are the coming schedules for the Central boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Olentangy
*Dec. 22 -- At Olentangy
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 23 -- Westerville North and Westerville South at Westerville Community Center