Austin Hagemann is making his mark in his return to the Westerville North High School boys bowling team.
The senior competed as a freshman, but opted not to return to the program as a sophomore and junior. This season, he led the Warriors in average (190.0), high game (269) and high series (465) through 11 matches.
"Austin kept up his bowling even though he was not bowling for our team," first-year coach Luke Williams said. "With a new coaching staff, he decided to come back, and it's great to watch him improve and continue to grow as a bowler."
The Warriors were 3-8 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division before facing Marysville on Feb. 6. They defeated New Albany 1962-1,900 on Dec. 15 for their first win since beating Big Walnut 2,136-1,898 on Feb. 11, 2016.
North was 0-16 last season.
"I think we have been doing pretty well as a team," Hagemann said. "As for myself, I could always be doing better. I wish I would have kept playing in my sophomore and junior years."
Hagemann has been making up for lost time on the lanes, mainly because of his ability to gauge changes in the oil patterns.
"The thing that differentiates Austin from the pack is that he is very aware of the lane changes," said Williams, whose team finished seventh (1-6) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Westerville Central (7-0). "The lane conditions can change drastically over a game because of the way the oil is drawn. He's aware of that and he makes proper adjustments. That's why he consistently gets good scores and can do so well."
Hagemann said it comes down to being able to position himself correctly in making his approach and learning what he can during the warm-up period.
"If the lanes are dry, I have to start out way over to the left," he said. "I start out two or three boards to the left, then move two or three boards again and keep moving back and forth until I find the right spot.
"I don't have the time to move one board at a time. I have to move a bunch and find it from there. That gives me an area to work from. If it's still hooking too much or not enough, you can figure things out from there."
Hagemann takes as many as seven bowling balls to matches with variations on two varieties: the solid and the pearl. The one he selects will depend on the lane conditions.
"The solid hooks all the way down the lane and the pearl doesn't," he said. "The solid works better on oily lanes and it hooks right into the pocket, but the pearl snaps on the back end. If it's really dry, then the pearl works better."
Hagemann doesn't solely depend on his viewpoint to judge the lane conditions. He turns to Williams for another point of view.
"Coach helps me get my mark," Hagemann said. "I try to keep the same speed and watch the pin reaction, because pin reaction tells me where I need to move. Coach tells me if I miss my mark to move a hair over or hair back, which helps out a lot."
Williams said as Hagemann continues to make strides, the small details will matter the most.
"At this point it's minute things that make the biggest difference," Williams said. "One board to the right or left is a huge difference, so he has to get down his specific pattern and make sure he is hitting the right board every time."
Wrestling team falls short in regional semi
The wrestling team reached a Division I, Region 5 semifinal of the team dual tournament, but lost to host Marys-ville 35-26 on Jan. 31.
The Monarchs went on to defeat Lancaster 45-24 in the regional final, advancing to a state quarterfinal Sunday, Feb. 11, at Ohio State's St. John Arena.
Last season, the Warriors reached their first state quarterfinal, where they lost to Elyria 60-11.
"We knew it could come down to a couple of matches," said coach David Grant, whose team next competes in an OCC-Buckeye dual Feb. 15 at Olentangy Liberty. "The biggest thing is you want a chance to be in the big match and a chance at that pressure, and we gave ourselves that chance."
Gabe Ohle (106 pounds) and Blake Wright (132) both won by pin, and Jacob Goldsmith (182), Jacob Grant (145), Lucas Seibert (120) and Andrew Scherer (126) all won by decision.
Boys basketball team clinches share of title
The boys basketball team has clinched at least a share of its first league title since 2013. That season, it went 14-0 in the OCC-Cardinal.
After defeating Liberty 70-56 on Feb. 2, the Warriors hold a two-game lead in the OCC-Buckeye with two league games remaining.
They are 7-1 in the league, with Westerville South second at 5-3. The teams meet Friday, Feb. 9, at North, which won the first meeting 56-39 on Jan. 5. A win would clinch the outright title for the Warriors.
Jeremiah Keene scored 22 points with four 3-pointers and Philip Alston added 14 points to lead the Warriors past Liberty.
North was 15-3 overall before playing Dublin Coffman on Feb. 6.
Girls team seeded 31st in district
The girls basketball team is seeded 31st for the Division I district tournament and opens the postseason with a second-round game Feb. 23 against seventh-seeded Upper Arlington or 35th-seeded Grove City.
The Warriors, who were 7-13 overall before playing Coffman on Feb. 6, lost to Liberty 48-41 on Feb. 2 to fall to 3-6 in the OCC-Buckeye. Alyssa Wright led with 15 points.
Below are the coming schedules for the North boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
*Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Westerville South. The Warriors defeated the Wildcats 56-39 on Jan. 5.
Feb. 12 -- Home vs. Whitehall
*Feb. 9 -- Home vs. South. The Warriors lost to the Wildcats 44-25 on Jan. 5.
Feb. 10 -- COHSBC tournament at Game of Western Columbus
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 10 -- Division I sectional swimming meet at Upper Arlington. Winner of each event along with 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district Feb. 17 at Ohio University.
Feb. 12-13 -- Division I district diving meet at Dublin Recreation Center. The top five boys and top four girls advance to state Feb. 22 (girls) and Feb. 24 (boys) at Branin Natatorium in Canton.