After failing to qualify a bowler for the Division I state tournament last year and then watching the Westerville Central boys win their first state championship, the Westerville South High School boys and girls teams entered the season with the goal of making it back to state.
The girls advanced to state in 2016 and finished 16th (2,872) of 16 teams, while the boys last qualified for state in 2014, when they finished 12th (3,188).
"So far, so good. We have a little bit of work to do with consistency," 12th-year girls coach Jamie West said of both teams. "We have a lot of new faces, so they're learning the ways and by the end of the year we'll be hopefully where we are every year. That's the goal."
The boys team improved to 3-1 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division, and 1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye, with a 2,357-1,860 win over Big Walnut on Dec. 13 at Columbus Square Bowling Palace. Junior Colton Rice led the Wildcats with a 431 two-game series.
South lost to Olentangy 2,263-2,145 on Dec. 8 at Delaware Lanes as junior Cameron Voigt had a 402 series.
Senior Ryan Loggins, junior Callan Van Scyoc and sophomore Noah Weidmann join Rice and Voigt as returnees.
Other bowlers are junior Tanner Van Scyoc, sophomores Craden Kelley and Tristan Mathis and freshmen Andrew Collinsworth, Avery Ronse and Henry Tran.
Coach Bill Henson is in his second season leading the boys.
Last season at district, South finished 14th (3,816) of 20 teams as the top four advanced to state. The Wildcats also tied Central for the COHSBC-North title at 14-1 and went 6-1 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish second behind Central (7-0).
The girls team is 2-2 overall and in the COHSBC-A, and 1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye, following a 1,847-1,737 win over Big Walnut. Senior Taylor Knox had a 369 series and junior Maggie Van Scyoc had a 336.
"We have a lot of new people this year, so we're getting to work with all these new people and see what they can do and we're doing pretty well," Knox said. "We want to do our best. I want to make it to state. That would be pretty cool."
Other returnees are senior Rachael Bielby, juniors Emily Grise, Sophie Hand and Piper Lane and sophomores Karina Deere, Brenda Diaz and Fiona Thomas.
Other bowlers are junior Katie Ball, sophomores Lizbeth Espino-Hernandez and Kenzie Gearheart and freshmen Taylor Hughes and Alexia Steele.
Last season, South placed 12th (3,118) of 20 teams at district, won the OCC-Buckeye title at 6-1 and went 9-5 in the COHSBC-North to tie Olentangy Orange for fifth behind champion Gahanna (14-0).
"The goal first and foremost is everybody get better," West said. "We'd like to win the league, the OCC and obviously qualify for district and state and all that good stuff."
Boys basketball team rebounds from loss
The boys basketball team bounced back from its first loss of the season by defeating host Dresden Tri-Valley 41-23 on Dec. 16 behind Hafiz Turay's 10 points.
South lost at Olentangy Liberty 61-58 on Dec. 14 as the Patriots used a 13-0 run late in the third quarter to pull ahead.
Emmanuel Sunnyway scored 20 points, Jordan McMillian had 16 and Turay added 10.
"I thought our kids played tough and that's all I can ask for," coach Ed Calo said. "Every day is a learning experience. You win and you should learn something. You don't have to lose to learn something. Our kids are going to bounce back and stay on top of it."
The Wildcats are 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye as they prepare to visit Orange on Friday, Dec. 22. The Pioneers are coached by Calo's son Anthony.
Girls basketball team starts 2-0 in league
The girls basketball team improved to 2-0 in the OCC-Buckeye with a 75-42 win over visiting Liberty on Dec. 15.
Anyssa Jones scored 18 points, Sommer Pitzer had 13 and Peyton Guice and Casey Humphrey added 10 apiece.
South lost to visiting Africentric 47-42 on Dec. 16 as Pitzer scored 14 points and Jones added 11.
The Wildcats were 3-2 overall before playing Gahanna on Dec. 19.
Dec. 2 -- Kickoff Tournament at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 6 -- Marysville at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 8 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes
Dec. 9 -- Holiday Baker Marathon at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 12 -- Delaware at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 13 -- Big Walnut at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 5 -- London at Madison Lanes
Jan. 6 -- Pioneer Baker Bash at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 10 -- Westerville North at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Jan. 13 -- Central District Preview at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 17 -- Westerville Central at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 18 -- Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 23 -- Beechcroft at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 30 -- Olentangy Liberty at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 31 -- New Albany at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Feb. 1 -- Gahanna at Gahanna Lanes
Feb. 7 -- Lancaster at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Feb. 10 -- COHSBC tournament at Game of Western Columbus
Feb. 17 -- Lancaster at Tiki Lanes
Below are the coming schedules for South boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 22 -- At Olentangy Orange
Dec. 21 -- At Watterson
*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Orange
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 23 -- Westerville Central and Westerville North at Westerville Community Center