Having returned all six members from last year's squad, the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys bowling team has its sights set on qualifying for the Division I state tournament.
Senior Evan Place is expected to lead the Wolves after being an individual state qualifier last season, when he rolled a 551 three-game series to tie for 54th of 102 bowlers.
"Evan ended his freshman year averaging 143 (per game) and currently is averaging (204.6)," third-year coach Susan Bond said. "Evan has definitely put in the time improving his skills and even takes private lessons to achieve the goals he sets for himself. I don't think there is a harder worker at his game than Evan.
"Last season, he rolled the first ever 300 game in competition for a Kilbourne bowler and has gone on to roll three more since then. Evan will, for sure, get the opportunity to bowl in college in a premier program."
Also returning for Kilbourne, which placed 11th (3,832) of 20 teams at district last season, are seniors Michael Barnewall, Zach Legue and Jarrett Shuey and juniors John Catanzarite and Colby Sutherland.
Completing the roster is freshman Donovan Rossette.
"Colby has improved almost 50 pins since his freshman year," Bond said. "He loves to learn the finer points of the game and has worked really hard at getting better each season. I think that he can also go on to bowl at the college level.
"Zach's average is up over 40 pins since his freshman year. He's another one who puts in all the time he can to improve his skills. I see Zach continuing to bowl in college. I believe he can achieve a perfect game this season."
Place leads the team in average, followed by Catanzarite (187.2), Sutherland (179.1), Legue (179) and Barnewall (173.7).
Kilbourne is 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division. The Wolves defeated Whetstone 2,117-1,926 on Nov. 29 before losing to Groveport 2,253-2,191 on Dec. 7.
Kilbourne, which also has competed in two tournaments and had a match against Newark on Dec. 19, will return to action Jan. 4 against Lancaster at Capri Lanes.
Girls bowling team returns veterans
The girls bowling team has returned seven letterwinners, including its top five athletes from last season when it finished 24th (2,682) in the 38-team Division I sectional at Sawmill Lanes.
Junior Casey Knuth (148.9) and senior Meghan Gaines (143.1) had the Wolves' top two averages last season and are expected to receive help from junior Aleks Tavella (121.8) this season.
Also back are senior Taysia Curry, juniors Maddie Mullen and Morgan Swazuk and sophomore Lia Castro.
Gaines and Knuth competed as individuals at district a year ago, with Knuth finishing 50th (483) of 133 bowlers and Gaines finishing 51st (479).
"Casey is a coach's dream in that she loves to learn all she can about getting better," said Bond, who is in her fifth season as girls coach. "She has worked very hard on her game and has improved over 40 pins since her freshman year. I only see her getting better and better this season.
"Meghan is one of our biggest assets. She spent time in the offseason working on her accuracy and improving her skills. Aleks has improved over 20 pins in two years and I expect even more improvement this season. She listens to her coach and does her best to apply what is being advised. She works really hard on the mechanics of the game and loves the sport."
Completing the roster is junior Sarah Mitchell.
The Wolves were 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the COHSBC-B before a match against Newark on Dec. 19.
Knuth was averaging 160.9, followed by Gaines (153.7), Curry (136.6), Tavella (126.5) and Mullen (121.2).
"The girls have set a goal of advancing to the district tournament," Bond said. "They work together and support each other. We often get comments about the team chemistry the girls have."
Gymnasts place ninth at Hilliard
The gymnastics team got top 10 performances from sophomore Abby Deitrick and freshman Emily Mosic to place ninth in the 14-team Hilliard Invitational on Dec. 16 at Hilliard Davidson.
The Wolves totaled 119.65 points as Dresden Tri-Valley (131.15) finished first.
Mosic placed fourth on vault (9.05) and tied for ninth on floor exercise (8.6), while Deitrick tied for fourth on floor (8.85) and was ninth on balance beam (8.175). No Wolves competed in all four events.
Deitrick and Mosic are expected to be among the team leaders this season, along with senior Tania Craig and junior Jenaiya Burrell.
"Abby competed in the state meet on (uneven) bars last year and had a great year as a freshman," 26th-year coach Cindy Fushimi said. "Her club experience was a good foundation for her success in high school. She is extremely hard working and sets a great example for others.
"Jenaiya contributed on floor consistently and Tania was counted on for bars last year. I think Emily should make an immediate impact as a freshman. She is strong on vault, beam and floor."
Also returning are senior Marissa Giordano and sophomore Trinity Leo.
Newcomers are junior Nuriza Kochkonbaeva and freshmen Sophie Baker, Sophie Seculov and Mackenzie Stevens.
"The team has set a score goal of 130," Fushimi said. "They also want to develop a strong team bond to help them improve each day. They have great attitudes and are willing to take risks to improve.
"As always, my measure for success is if we improve from beginning to end. Also, I want to see the girls improve in their work ethic, leadership, self-motivation and being a good teammate."
Last season, Deitrick was a state alternate on bars after finishing 10th (8.45) at district, and ended up competing at state because of an injury to another gymnast and scored a 7.55 to place 34th.
Also at district, Deitrick finished 13th of 90 gymnasts in the all-around (33.95). Burrell (72nd, 28.05) and Leo (76th, 27.9) also competed in the all-around for the Wolves, who finished fifth (128.95) of 23 teams.
Nov. 29 -- Whetstone at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Dec. 2 -- Red & Blue Classic at HP Lanes
*Dec. 7 -- Groveport at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Dec. 16 -- Beast of the East at Sunrise Strikes Lanes
*Dec. 19 -- Newark at Park Lanes
*Jan. 4 -- Lancaster at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 5 -- Columbus Academy at HP Lanes
Jan. 6 -- Pioneer Baker Bash at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 8 -- Reynoldsburg at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 9 -- Delaware at Colony Lanes
*Jan. 10 -- Hilliard Bradley at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 11 -- Pickerington North at Rule 3
Jan. 13 -- Central District Preview at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Jan. 16 -- Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 17 -- Pickerington Central at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 22 -- Hilliard Davidson at Ten Pin Alley
*Jan. 26 -- Hilliard Darby at Capri Lanes
Jan. 28 -- Cardinal Classic at Colerain Bowl
*Jan. 30 -- Centennial at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Feb. 2 -- *Thomas and Worthington Christian at Capri Lanes
*Feb. 7 -- New Albany at Gahanna Lanes
Dec. 5 -- at Upper Arlington with Washington Court House Miami Trace
Dec. 9 -- at *Delaware with Big Walnut and Olentangy Orange
Dec. 16 -- Hilliard Invitational at Hilliard Davidson
Jan. 6 -- Wolfpack Invitational at home
Jan. 11 -- vs. Dublin Coffman, *Dublin Jerome and *Dublin Scioto
Jan. 18 -- at *Thomas
Jan. 24 -- vs. Marysville and Thornville Sheridan
Feb. 1 -- at Hilliard Davidson with *Hilliard Bradley and *Hilliard Darby
Feb. 10 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at TBA
Feb. 14 -- vs. Westerville Central and Olentangy
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Delaware
*Dec. 22 -- At Delaware
Dec. 27-30 -- Carolina Invitational in Charleston, S.C.
*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby