Running a first-year program hasn't been simple for Bexley High School boys bowling coach Michael Munsell.
Being a club program, the Lions have to raise the majority of their funds and carpool to practices and competitions, but the experience has been enjoyable for Munsell and his fledgling group.
The Lions were 6-4 overall and 5-4 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-C Division before facing Northland on Jan. 29.
"We had a lot of things to overcome like the monetary situation, but things have still gone pretty well," Munsell said. "We had to get the kids to understand the difference between regular games and (the rotation of players in the) Baker games. There were also things like who will be playing in each match and the numbers needed to play varsity. I really wish we had a j.v. team because some of the kids would have been able to gain more experience."
Munsell has been rotating players to ensure they get to roll a game in most matches.
"I'm very happy that the kids are always here and enthusiastic and their parents are here every match," he said. "We're a club team, so we don't have a bus. We have to carpool here. The sophomores have been really talking the sport up around the school, and I think a lot of kids really wish they would have come out for bowling."
The program started, in part, because of the postseason efforts of Munsell's son, Douglas Munsell. Last season, he competed as an individual and finished 37th of 91 bowlers in the Division II district tournament, rolling a three-game series of 520 at HP Lanes. He had a 609 series in the sectional at HP Lanes to advance to district.
"You have to keep adjusting; that's the biggest thing in bowling," said Douglas Munsell, who had a 179.5 average before Jan. 29 with team highs for a game (235) and a series (419). "For me, it's the first time I have had to rely on teammates. I was always an individual bowler and didn't have a team. Teamwork is something I definitely gained as a skill."
The senior also works as another coach, helping teammates with their games and learning about his own in the process.
"The difference between just rolling practice games and practicing with teammates is that I can learn from them and their mistakes," he said. "If I see a teammate making a mistake that I have been making then I can visualize that myself and help both of us out."
One of the teammates he has helped is sophomore Tyler Roberts, who entered the week with a 165.5 average.
"Doug has taught me how to get more control of the bowling ball and how to handle the oil patterns," Roberts said. "He also has helped me in selecting what ball to use. I use my strike-ball when the pins are standing on the left and a spare-ball when it's on the right."
Roberts also does homework of his own, rolling games the day before matches to get an idea of what to expect on those lanes during competition.
"The day before a match, I go there to get to know those lanes a lot better than from the usual 10-minute practice beforehand," Roberts said. "My ball spins a lot, and I need to know where to land the ball and what I need to do to hit my mark."
Senior John D'Alessandro had a 164.5 average entering the week.
"I like bowling partly because it's one of the only sports I'm good at," he said. "I'm not a good runner and I wouldn't say I have a ton of endurance, so that takes a lot of sports off the table.
"Also, bowling is an accessible sport. You don't need a ton of expensive equipment and there are a lot of bowling centers around."
D'Alessandro also is a member of Bexley's "In the Know" team.
"In general (bowling and 'In the Know') both have you focusing on the next thing at hand," he said.
"You can't worry about missing the answer or a pin, just worry about what's ahead."
The Lions compete in the MSL tournament Saturday, Feb. 3, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. Last season, Douglas Munsell was first-team all-league.
"I'm really happy with the way the season is going," coach Munsell said. "I think we can be competitive in the MSL tournament, but Whitehall is so strong that there's not much you can do about that."
Stamm leads girls in MSL swim meet
Leah Stamm won two events to lead the girls swimming and diving team to a runner-up finish in the 14-team MSL meet Jan. 27 at Columbus Academy.
Stamm won the 100-yard butterfly in 1 minute, 1.72 seconds and was first in the 100 backstroke in 1:01.2. She joined Ailbhe McCann, Olivia Mitchell and Libby Brown on the third-place 200 medley relay (2:02.47) and teamed with Mitchell, Brown and Frieda Liu on the fourth-place 200 freestyle relay (1:50.73).
The Lions scored 220 points to finish behind Academy (342).
"I think we had a lot of kids who swam very well for us," coach Sandy Sliwowski said. "We didn't have a lot of time drops since we had a meet (the night before), but we swam well."
Ally Grieshop was fourth in the 500 free (5:41.32) and fifth in the 200 free (2:09.02). She also joined Margaux Harding, Sophie Jones and Becca Dashevsky on the third-place 400 free relay (4:30.84).
Brown was fourth in the 100 free (1:00.45) and Lily Rosenthal placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.62). Arianna Martin was sixth in the 50 free (29.29) and Mitchell was sixth in the 100 free (1:01.45).
The boys were seventh (68) of 11 teams behind champion Academy (334). John Niermeyer was third in the 50 free (25.02) and was on the fifth-place 400 free relay (4:10.03) with David Tugend, Danner Rogers and Jack Zwick.
Boys basketball team to face Vikings
The boys basketball team is 12-5 overall and 3-4 in the MSL-Ohio heading into a contest Friday, Feb. 2, at home against league-leading Academy.
The Vikings were 14-0 overall before playing Horizon Science on Jan. 31 and are 6-0 in the MSL-Ohio. They won the first meeting 53-46 on Jan. 4 as Damian Davis, Shannon Stanley and Anthony Welsh scored 10 points apiece for the Lions.
"You have to be able to handle adversity in this league," coach Todd Phillips said. "Sometimes we have handled it and other times we have not. We have to be more consistent."
The Lions lost at Grandview 47-41 on Jan. 26 in league play after being outscored 12-3 in the third quarter. Davis had 15 points and Stanley added 12.
They rebounded to defeat Bloom-Carroll 54-40 one day later led by Stanley's 18 points. Davis had 12 points on four 3-pointers and Welsh scored 12 with three 3s.
Girls basketball team prepares for London
The girls basketball team gets a chance to avenge its only MSL-Ohio loss Friday, Feb. 2, at London.
The Lions lead the league at 7-1, with the Red Raiders second at 6-1.
London won the first meeting 42-35 on Dec. 21, outscoring the Lions 15-6 in the fourth quarter. Maddy Vincent led Bexley with 10 points and Maddy Young added eight.
Bexley was 12-4 overall before playing Patriot Prep on Jan. 30 and had won four consecutive league games after defeating Whitehall 41-20 on Jan. 25 and Academy 45-24 on Jan. 27. Vincent had 18 points against the Rams, and she and Amanda Frey each scored 16 against the Vikings.
Wrestling team looks to defend league title
The wrestling team competes in the MSL-Ohio tournament Saturday, Feb. 3, at Whitehall, looking to defend its league championship.
It was the Lions' first league title since 1998. Returning league champions are Elliot Clark (182 pounds) and heavyweight Grant Robinson, who won at 220 last year.
In the Division II team dual tournament, fifth-seeded Bexley was ousted from Region 14-B on Jan. 24 at Logan Elm, falling to fourth-seeded Williamsport Westfall 63-15 in its opener. Clark won by pin, Robinson won by decision and Brent Banks won by forfeit at 220.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys basketball, girls basketball, boys bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy. The Lions lost to the Vikings 53-46 on Jan. 4.
*Feb. 2 -- At London. The Lions lost to the Red Raiders 42-35 on Dec. 21.
Feb. 3 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
Feb. 5 -- At Columbus South
Feb. 3 -- MSL tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 2 -- At St. Charles with Columbus School for Girls and Village Academy
Feb. 3 -- MSL-Ohio tournament at Whitehall