The Whetstone High School girls bowling team has some time to make any needed adjustments before the Division I sectional Feb. 24 at HP Lanes.
The Braves competed against Briggs for the City League championship on Feb. 12 and finished 9-0 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-C Division to edge runner-up Worthington Christian (8-1) for the title. Whetstone was 14-3 overall before the City championship match.
"Our team goals haven't changed," said coach Larry Howell, whose team competed against Eastmoor Academy on Feb. 14 and will conclude the regular season against Marion Harding on Thursday, Feb. 15, at HP Lanes. "We won a (COHSBC) title, we want to win the City title and qualify as a team to district."
At sectional, the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament March 3 at HP Lanes.
Howell realizes the Braves will have to pick up their game, and spares, to reach district.
"For us to qualify for district, we are going to have to be more consistent in making our spares," he said. "We miss too many easy spares and leave a lot of pins on the lane. We've got to clean that up before the sectional, and that's probably where we will spend most of our work on leading up to then."
Entering the week, the Braves had the 15th-highest game average as a team (685.8) in the 46-team COHSBC and the 13th-highest Baker average (139).
Senior Abbi Swank was leading Whetstone with a 174.6 game average through 17 matches, ranking 19th of 278 competitors in the COHSBC.
"Our next goal is to get Abbi out to state," Howell said. "She has all the skill she needs. She just has to stay calm and composed. Abbi can be her own worst enemy when she gets emotional or gets into her own head. I am just hoping she starts off the postseason well and stays relaxed."
Following Swank in average for the Braves were Lindsay Arnold (152.5), Alea Millington-Fuqua (137.2), Allison Weeks (132.3) and Noa Leslie (127.7).
The boys team was 11-5 overall before competing against Marion Harding on Feb. 12 and Eastmoor on Feb. 14 and finished 8-2 in the COHSBC-C to tie Worthington Christian for second place, behind Northland (10-0).
The boys Division I sectional is Feb. 23 at HP Lanes.
According to coach Chris Lisi, the Braves have lost their top bowler, Joshua Roeder, for the remainder of the season. Lisi would not disclose the reason. Roeder had a team-best 198.2 average.
Davis Kleen had a 185.9 average through 16 matches, followed by Dalton Daugherty (167.2), Victor Waitkus (158.5) and Nathan Vokac (146.7).
"Davis is bowling well, but not his best yet," Lisi said. "My younger bowlers are getting better. Victor Waitkus is greatly improved over last year and Nathan Vokac is the most improved since beginning of the season. My only realistic goal remaining is to get Davis to the district as an individual."
Relays to represent swimmers at district
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams both will be represented in the Division I district meet Saturday, Feb. 17, by a pair of relay teams that advanced from a Division I sectional Feb. 10 at Upper Arlington.
The boys team, which has moved up to Division I after being in Division II the past two seasons, had the Braves' highest finish at sectional, as the 200-yard freestyle relay of Francisco Soto, Jake Marshall, Matthew Conroy and David Maston placed sixth in 1 minute, 38.48 seconds and is seeded 24th of 30 teams at district.
The 200 medley relay of Alex Marcum, Marshall, Soto and Maston was ninth (1:51.21) and is seeded 27th.
"I'm disappointed for David that he didn't make the cut in his individual events, the 100 and 200 free," coach John DeRing said. "He easily would have made it in Division II and would've had another week to chase down school records in those events."
Maston placed seventh in the 200 free (1:52.18) and eighth in the 100 free (50.39). The final at-large qualifying times were 1:51.67 in the 200 free and 50.29 in the 100 free.
Soto finished 14th in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.51) and 15th in the 200 individual medley (2:14.77), Conroy was 16th in the 500 free (6:04.86), Marcum was 17th in the 100 backstroke (1:05.56) and Marshall was 18th in the 100 breast (1:12.35).
The winner of each sectional swimming event automatically advanced to district. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
For the girls team, the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay both advanced to district. Both relays consisted of Abi Schaefer, Bryn Van Dommelen, Rebeka Spulgis and Mary Dougherty, who placed ninth in the medley relay (2:07.98) and 10th in the 200 free relay (1:51.61). At district, they are seeded 24th in the 200 free relay and 28th in the medley relay.
Van Dommelen just missed advancing in the 500 free after placing ninth (5:46.08) and finished 16th in the 200 IM (2:33.07). Leah Schaefer was 22nd in the 500 free (6:54.32), Abi Schaefer was 23rd in the 100 free (1:00.03) and 24th in the 50 free (27.4), Emma Schaefer was 23rd in the 500 free (7:02.27) and Spulgis was 24th in the 200 IM (2:46.46).
"We were hoping that Bryn would make it out in the 500 free because she has worked really hard and dropped a lot of time this season," DeRing said. "She dropped eight seconds in the 200 IM at district. I thought the girls swam very well. It just wasn't meant to be for us this season in terms of individual swims. But as a team, the girls had 15 bests out of 26 total swims."
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event qualify for the state meet Feb. 23 and 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large berths will be awarded in each swimming event based on times statewide.
Boys basketball team sweeps International
After waiting for over a calendar year to win a game, the boys basketball team posted two victories in a span of six days.
Whetstone beat International 77-61 on Feb. 1 in a makeup game from Jan. 12 and defeated the Lions again Feb. 6, 66-27. The win on Feb. 1 snapped a 25-game losing streak and marked the Braves' first victory since beating International 85-45 on Jan. 20, 2017.
On Feb. 6, Rayshon Walker led Whetstone with 13 points. Sam Barrett scored 12 and Antwan Allen added 11.
The Braves then lost to East 87-54 in their City-North finale Feb. 9 after leading the Tigers 34-32 at halftime. Walker had 22 points, Jaden Arledge scored 13 and Elijah Benson added 10 for Whetstone, which finished 2-12 in league play.
The Braves were 2-18 overall before playing Watterson on Feb. 13 and will close the regular season Thursday, Feb. 15, at Briggs.
Whetstone then will turn its focus to the Division I district tournament, where it is seeded 47th of 48 teams. The Braves have a first-round bye and will play at second-seeded Upper Arlington or 45th-seeded Franklin Heights in the second round March 2.
Girls basketball team caps regular season
The girls basketball team is seeded 39th of 50 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play at 19th-seeded Logan in the first round Saturday, Feb. 17.
The Chieftains are 12-9.
The winner plays 17th-seeded Canal Winchester or 30th-seeded Marysville in the second round Feb. 23 at the home of the higher seed.
Whetstone is 11-9 overall and finished 9-5 in the City-North after beating International 45-35 on Feb. 5.
Whitney Staggs had 26 points against International and Macy Staggs scored seven.
Five Braves make college decisions
Five student-athletes announced their college decisions last week.
Mitchell Hughes will play men's soccer at Bowling Green, Ibrahim Sesay will play football at West Virginia State, Whitney Staggs will play women's volleyball and basketball at Columbus State, Haley Thomas-Speigle will play women's basketball at Columbus State and Bryn Van Dommelen will compete in women's swimming at Wellesley College.
Below is the coming schedule for the Whetstone wrestling team:
Feb. 17 -- City League tournament at Mifflin