Brad Jagers had a decision to make during his freshman year at Grandview Heights High School.
He was given two choices: Join the boys bowling team or take part in the robotics club. Three years later, he believes he made the right call.
"My mom (Susan Jagers) wanted me to do some sort of winter activity and it was either bowling or robotics and (bowling) seemed to be way more enjoyable," Jagers said. "Bowling was definitely the more appealing of the two. Robotics just isn't my cup of tea."
As it turned out, bowling suited Jagers just fine. The four-year varsity contributor had a team-best 181.0 average through 10 matches with team highs for a series (428) and a game (226).
"It's a good atmosphere," Jagers said. "I can come out, relax and have a good time. Once you get good at (bowling), it's more enjoyable. I pride myself as a good spare shooter."
Second-year coach Jason Hanely agrees that spares are the strongest part of Jagers' game.
"Brad has worked really hard at it and is really determined to improve his game, and spare shooting is a big part of that," Hanely said. "This year he has come in and bowled well all year. I have told him many times that he's a better spare shooter than I am."
With Jagers leading the way, Grandview was 5-5 overall before facing Reynoldsburg on Feb. 6. The Bobcats are 5-3 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-C Division.
As a freshman, Jagers joined the program with little, if any, bowling knowledge, but he has continued to improve each season. He averaged 142.0 as freshman, 153.9 as a sophomore and 166.7 last season.
"Like most of our bowlers, Brad came in during his freshman year without much experience," Hanely said. "He was shaky like a lot of the new kids, but quickly progressed. He got a bowling ball and learned what he needed to do."
Jagers said that until recently, he just picked up the ball and tossed it down the lane. Now, he takes his time and his average has improved.
"(Hanely) has taught me to slow things down," Jagers said. "In my first three years I didn't stand still and prep my shot, I just kind of walked up and threw it. But he really got me into getting set and looking for my mark. He had me taking deep breaths and focusing on my shot.
"Freshman year, I just threw a straight ball and I have added to the routine of throwing the ball since then. I'm hitting my mark. Now, I pick up the ball and I wipe the oil off of it with a towel. Then I find my board where I stand, look at my mark and take three deep breaths before I go into my follow-through process."
Jagers is the lone starter back from last season, when the Bobcats set a program record for wins by going 11-6 overall. They were 11-4 in the COHSBC-Central to tie St. Charles for third behind Beechcroft (15-0) and Ready (14-1).
"This season is going better than I expected," Jagers said. "We actually have won more matches than I thought we would, and we have improved noticeably."
Hanely said Jagers not only is good on the lanes, but he also helps the younger bowlers on the team make needed adjustments.
"I can't work with every kid for 10 minutes each practice and he has been helpful," Hanely said. "It's great seeing him working with them and help his teammates understand why their ball didn't hit the pocket the way they needed it to and what they need to do to fix things.
"He helps to set the tone. His hard work shows the younger kids that that they cannot just work for a week and expect to bowl like Brad. It takes time and focus and he's good at demonstrating that. He stays calm under pressure."
The Bobcats competed in the MSL-Ohio tournament Feb. 3 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. After being honorable mention all-league last season, Jagers earned second-team honors by finishing seventh of 39 bowlers with a 553 series as Grandview was second (3,799) behind Whitehall (4,117).
Aidan Young finished second (644) behind Brandon Shaw (738) of Whitehall to earn first-team all-league honors. Spencer Browning (sixth, 568) also was on the first team, and Noah Gangloff (10th, 534) was second team.
The girls team was third (2,427) behind Whitehall (3,786) and Worthington Christian (2,911). Shea McHugh (eighth of 35, 411) was second-team all-league, with Emily Bullock (12th, 348), Leila Meyer (13th, 336) and Emmy Davis (15th, 327) earning honorable mention.
"Being consistent is the toughest thing," Jagers said. "After a few games, you can get tired and let your form fall off. You have to take your time with each shot and make sure you continue to do what you want to do and throw it the way you want to throw it."
Boys basketball team remains in league race
The boys basketball team entered the week one-half game behind Columbus Academy in the MSL-Ohio standings.
The Bobcats improved to 6-2 in the league by defeating Whitehall 67-54 on Feb. 3. Academy was 6-1 before playing Whitehall, which was 5-2, on Feb. 5.
Grandview plays host to Academy on Friday, Feb. 9. The Vikings won the first meeting 52-44 on Jan. 6.
"This league is brutal. There's not a night off," said coach Ray Corbett, whose team was 14-3 overall before playing Horizon Science on Feb. 5. "There are so many good teams -- Academy, Bexley, us, Whitehall. There's four out of six that are very good and then you have (Worthington) Christian getting better and London when they have all their people, they're very good. It's the strongest small-school league as you could possibly play in."
Grandview avenged a 49-33 loss at Whitehall on Jan. 3 by winning the rematch. The Bobcats outscored the Rams 24-13 in the fourth quarter to seal their seventh consecutive win.
"The disadvantage (Whitehall) coach (Drew Williams) had coming into this game was that his kids naturally aren't going to listen because they beat the living tar out of us the first time," Corbett said. "That makes it very difficult for him to get their attention. My guys, on the other hand, it was pretty simple for me to talk to them because I just had to put on the board '30-2,' which was what we were down the first time, so that's a huge advantage as a coach."
Brian Collier led the Bobcats with 28 points. James Lachey had 14 and Luke Lachey added 10.
Jump leads wrestlers in MSL-Ohio tourney
Hudson Jump continued his league dominance Feb. 3 by winning his third MSL-Ohio championship and his second consecutive league Most Valuable Wrestler honor.
The junior had two first-period pins and another 30 seconds into the second period to win at 195 pounds and improve to 28-1.
"It means a lot to me," said Jump, who won at 195 last season and 182 as a freshman. "There were so many great wrestlers there and to be recognized as the best is amazing."
Bryce Stanley won the title at 152 as the Bobcats finished fourth (133) behind Bexley (195), London (192.5) and host Whitehall (161) and ahead of Academy (71).
Kyler Baker (145) and Derek Tullis (120) finished second, Jory Lust-George (138), Eli Tullis (126) and Jack Wallace (heavyweight) placed third and Gab Downer (220) was fourth.
"I feel like we're all peaking as wrestlers right now," Jump said. "The practices have been demanding, but that has helped us a lot."
Girls basketball team learns postseason seed
The girls basketball team is seeded 11th for the Division III district tournament and opens Feb. 20 with a first-round game at ninth-seeded Ready.
Grandview was 13-6 overall and had won four in a row before playing Buckeye Valley on Feb. 6.
The Bobcats improved to 5-4 in the MSL-Ohio by defeating Academy 56-24 on Feb. 2 as Jayla Coplan led with 14 points and Makenzie Bush scored 11. Kacey Murphy had nine points and Emma Hall and Tayler Pierce both added eight.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
*Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy. The Bobcats lost to the Vikings 52-44 on Jan. 6.
Feb. 10 -- At Utica
Feb. 13 -- Home vs. Galion Northmor
Feb. 8 -- Home vs. Grove City Christian
*Feb. 10 -- Home vs. London. The Bobcats lost to the Red Raiders 64-51 on Jan. 5.
Feb. 10 -- COHSBC tournament at Game of Western Columbus
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 10 -- Division II sectional at Upper Arlington. There are no automatic qualifiers, but 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectionals advance to district Feb. 16 at Ohio University.