William Hrivnak can count the number of weeks left in his career with the Pickerington High School North boys bowling team on one hand, but that doesn't mean the senior won't care about how the Panthers fare after he is gone.
So while he has remained one of the area's top bowlers, Hrivnak is doubling as a teacher and paying it forward in the hopes that North can continue a run so dominant that it sought its 60th regular-season victory in 65 matches since the start of the 2014-15 season when it competed against Hilliard Davidson on Jan. 31.
Hrivnak, one of only two bowlers who has been on all of those teams along with classmate Mason Gibson, had a 211.2 game average entering the week, ranking him second in the entire Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference behind Westerville Central's Devon Richardson (217.2).
The Panthers were 10-1 overall, 10-0 in the COHSBC-B Division and 3-1 in the OCC-Central before Jan. 31. North already had clinched the outright COHSBC-B championship before the match against Davidson.
"I really like (mentoring)," Hrivnak said. "I was taught by my dad, who averages about 230. So when I was teaching them, I was trying to remember the things that he taught me and the pitfalls I had as I was learning. Their growth at the sport is a lot faster than what mine is. For so many years, I was the student and now I finally get to be the teacher and pass on my knowledge of the sport.
"When I started bowling, sometimes I picked up some bad habits and I had to work those out. (Sophomores) Caden (Thieken) and Jacob (Dollmatsch) are starting with a clean slate. They are doing things right from the start. I didn't have to do much corrective work."
Coach Mike Rossi thinks he couldn't have picked a better teacher for his younger bowlers. Hrivnak averaged 198.1 as a freshman and improved to 203.5 as a sophomore and 209.6 last season.
North finished 14th in the Division I state tournament each of the past two seasons.
"He's been the most consistent bowler that I've seen," Rossi said. "He picks up spares. When he's up there, he does not get nervous. He just steps up. He's pretty consistent and very, very good, very smart. His knowledge is invaluable. For the last three years, we've had top-of-the-line bowlers where we haven't had to teach a lot. Now with younger bowlers coming in, having somebody like William to help them is invaluable."
Thieken, who carried a 136.9 average before Jan. 31, never had bowled before this season.
"(Hrivnak) taught me practically everything I know, how to hook the ball, where to stand, pretty much everything," Thieken said. "He made it easy to understand. It was daunting. This is my first school sport. If one person on the team doesn't do well, it can make us or break us. I want to be a productive member of the team."
Bowling is only part of Hrivnak's portfolio. He also plays violin in the school's orchestra, is a member of the National Honor Society and an active volunteer in the Pickerington community, including at a Special Olympics bowling league each Monday at Rule 3, the Panthers' home facility.
Hrivnak has a 4.4 GPA, which the last time he checked put him ninth in his class. He has been accepted to Cincinnati, Ohio Northern, Ohio State and Toledo and plans to eventually attend pharmacy school.
Before then, he wants to cap his prep career with his third state tournament appearance. He tied for 51st at state last year after finishing 59th as a sophomore.
"We're having a lot of fun and I've seen a lot of growth from the new bowlers we've been mentoring," Hrivnak said. "I've been solid myself, and we definitely have a lot of synergy. I am looking to finishing the season strong."
Girls swimmers repeat as league champs
The girls swimming team won only three events in the OCC-Ohio meet Jan. 27 at Thomas Worthington, but seven runner-up performances and three third-place finishes powered North to its second consecutive league championship.
Rylee Kreinbrink won the 200-yard freestyle (2 minutes, .58 of a second) and was runner-up in the 100 free (55.03). He also helped the 200 free relay (1:43.11) and 400 free relay (3:47.01) to second-place finishes, as North scored 389 points to finish well ahead of Gahanna (249), Lancaster (229), Pickerington Central (133), Grove City (116) and Reynoldsburg (77).
The Panthers' other winners were Kelsey Morgan in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.18) and the 200 medley relay (1:52.12).
"It says a lot that we won again. It's exciting," said Kreinbrink, a freshman. "Our depth definitely played a part in it. I don't know exactly how large we are in comparison to other teams, but we definitely had standout swimmers in each race. For myself, I just wanted to contribute points for the team so I didn't take my times into too much consideration, but I'm really happy with my times."
Morgan placed second in the 200 individual medley (2:12.71), two spots ahead of teammate Regan Turnbull (2:22.84). In the 100 butterfly, Gracie Kane was second (1:00.97) and Lindsey Keaton was third (1:01.17).
Caroline Ramos placed second in the 500 free (5:42.07) and fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:05.49), one spot behind Keaton (1:03.81). Turnbill was runner-up in the 100 breast (1:12.85).
Led by top-four finishes from all three of its relays, the boys team finished fourth (178) behind Gahanna (297), Lancaster (238) and Reynoldsburg (200.5) and ahead of Grove City (172) and Central (113.5).
The 200 medley relay (1:47.66) and 400 free relay (3:36.68) both placed third and the 200 free relay finished fourth (1:37.35).
North's top individual performance came from Wyatt Ross, who placed third in the 100 breast (1:06.05). Connor Daniel was fourth in the 100 back (1:00) and Spencer White was fifth in both the 200 free (1:57.31) and 500 free (5:17.86).
Wrestlers seeking first league win
The wrestling team fell to 0-4 in the OCC-Ohio with two losses Jan. 25 in a quad at Lancaster, 67-10 to Grove City and 60-15 to the host Golden Gales.
The previous night, North was eliminated from the team dual tournament with a 63-13 loss to third-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley in a Division I, Region 5-A second-round match at Watkins Memorial.
Against the Scotties, the sixth-seeded Panthers got wins from Elijah Clarke at 145 pounds, Atticus Mahaffey at 126 and Elliot Mahaffey at 160. Mahaffey won by pin.
North will compete in the 20-team Canal Winchester Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 3, before finishing league competition Feb. 8 at Central.
Below are the coming schedules for the North boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 2 -- At Lancaster. The Panthers defeated the Golden Gales 47-31 on Dec. 22.
*Feb. 3 -- Home vs. Grove City in makeup from Jan. 12
Feb. 6 -- At Canal Winchester
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Lancaster. The Panthers lost to the Golden Gales 38-34 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
*Feb. 1 -- Marysville at Rule 3
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 2 -- Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg at Robert K. Fox Family YMCA
Feb. 3 -- Canal Winchester Invitational