It was a quarterfinal round for underdogs during the Division I boys state high school bowling tournament March 9 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
That didn’t serve third-seeded Westerville Central well, though. The defending state champion Warhawks lost to sixth-seeded Stow-Munroe Falls 3-1 in a best-of-five Baker games quarterfinal of the championship round.
“Kids aren’t robots and, unfortunately, we had some tough breaks in the quarterfinal,” said Central coach Julie Wells, whose team finished seventh. “But I’m proud of them for getting here and trying their hardest. Sometimes you just don’t get the breaks you need.”
Of the top four seeds, only No. 4 Celina survived the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs went on to beat Stow-Munroe Falls 3-1 in the final to win the state championship.
The Warhawks finished third of 16 teams in the qualifying round with 3,594 pins, as the top eight advanced to the championship round.
Last season, Central entered the quarterfinals as the third seed and fell behind sixth-seeded Vandalia Butler 2-1, but won the final two games en route to winning the championship.
This time, the Warhawks couldn’t rally after falling behind Stow-Munroe Falls 2-1. They lost the first game 192-175, won the second 209-148 and lost the third 164-158 before getting eliminated with a 225-186 loss in the fourth game.
In the pivotal third game, Central had some chances. Even after a foul created an open mark in the seventh frame, the Warhawks had an opportunity to win the game. Stow-Munroe Falls finished before Central, which needed just 14 pins in the final frame. However, a split caused another open frame.
“Momentum is such an important thing in match play,” Wells said. “Once (Stow-Munroe Falls) had it, they used that momentum and had strikes in four of their first five frames (in game 4) and we had a couple (more) opens; one of them was a split. It just wasn’t in the cards.”
The other two teams representing the Central District were Marion Harding, which finished 12th (3,217) and Whitehall, which was 13th (3,116).
Westerville Central was led by senior Ryan O’Connor, who finished sixth with a 662 series (258-230-174). He was followed by junior Devon Richardson (18th, 624) and senior Cameron Gonce (26th, 602).
Whitehall junior Jason Kefauver placed eighth (654), Olentangy Liberty senior Daniel Valz placed 10th (652), Groveport senior Chaz Wilson was 19th (623) and Northland senior Cameron Singer finished 34th (582).Videos
•Whitehall's Jason Kefauver
•Olentangy Liberty's Daniel Valz
The top five finishers made first-team all-state, the next five made second team and Nos. 11-15 were honorable mention.
“I just wanted to come here, be consistent and do the best I can,” Kefauver said. “I think I bowled pretty well and I’ll take second-team all-Ohio.”