The St. Charles Preparatory School bowling team took small steps in its first three seasons before rolling over opponents this year.

The St. Charles Preparatory School bowling team took small steps in its first three seasons before rolling over opponents this year.

The Cardinals improved to 14-0 overall by beating Columbus Academy 2,189-1,849 on Jan. 30 in a Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division match. They have the same record in the 15-team division and clinched their first league title with a 1,947-1,524 win over Linden-McKinley on Jan. 27 at HP Lanes.

Before Jan. 31, Brookhaven (11-2) was in second place and DeSales (11-3) was third.

"Our depth has been helpful for us, as well as the age of the team," coach Mike Warner said. "We have a lot of juniors and seniors, and we also have some good bowlers. Some teams have one great guy and the others aren't so good. But when you have four good bowlers, you're going to do well."

Through 13 matches, senior Zak Stephenson led St. Charles with a 201.4 per game average, which was eighth in the 41-team COHSBC behind league-leader Brandon Dye of Walnut Ridge (228.3). Stephenson has a high game of 290 and a high two-game series of 463.

Junior Tom Cianflona (242 high game, 404 high series) was next for the Cardinals with an average of 181.7, followed by sophomore Noah Thomas (255, 399) at 174.5, senior Dezmond Brown (244, 429) at 172.5 and senior Eric Powell (195, 385) at 158.7.

Stephenson and Cianflona shined in the Central Ohio District Preview on Jan. 14 at HP Lanes by making the all-tournament team in the 16-team event. Stephenson rolled his high game of 290 and had a three-game series of 728. Cianflona had a 637 series with a high game of 223 as the Cardinals finished fifth (3,762) behind champion Westerville South (4,208).

"Zak and Tom really played well in the district preview," said Warner, whose team played Walnut Ridge in a non-league match Feb. 1 and will play Whitehall in a non-league match Tuesday, Feb. 7, at HP Lanes. "Those are the kind of matches that get us ready for the postseason."

In COHSBC-Central play, the Cardinals had wins over Hartley (1,860-1,700 on Jan. 17), Grandview (2,036-1972 on Jan. 19), Centennial (2,117-1,827 on Jan. 24) and Brookhaven (2,084-1,898 on Jan. 25).

"The guys are playing with a lot of confidence right now," Warner said. "They (knew) they (were) undefeated going into their last league match (Jan. 31) and they are pumped up to see how they can do in tournaments. They want to see what they can do against the rest of the district. They know the competition this time, and know what to expect."

The sectional is slated for Feb. 17 at one of two sites - Eastland Lanes or Columbus Western Bowl. The top nine teams and the top nine individuals not on qualifying teams from each sectional advance to the district tournament Feb. 25 at HP Lanes.

•The swimming team won its 14th consecutive CCL title on Jan. 28.

In the league meet at home, the Cardinals scored 447 points to easily outdistance runner-up Hartley (238), Watterson (119), DeSales (104) and Ready (7).

"The league (meet) is all about depth and we were able to use that again to our advantage," coach Geoff Gear said. "We have good enough numbers to place a number of guys in the top 12 in every event, in some cases the top six."

The 200-yard freestyle relay of Alex Kocher, Nick McKinley, Sean O'Leary and Natty Patterson won in 1 minute, 33.19 seconds.

The 200 medley relay of Daniel Cogan, Chris D'Angelo, Ryan Doyle and Jordan Krumpelman won in 1:42.48.

Other winners for the Cardinals were Cogan (100 backstroke, 57.16), Alex Kendall (100 breaststroke, 1:04.82), Kocher (100 free, 51.75) and McKinley (200 free, 1:50.65). Runners-up were Sam Aslaner (500 free, 5:13.2), Casey Horan (200 free, 1:55.47) Franz Kobelka (100 butterfly, 56.57; 100 breast, 1:06.19), Krumpelman (50 free, 23.3), O'Leary (100 free, 51.88) and Zach Poltor (200 individual medley, 2:05.87).

The 400 free relay of Aslaner, Poltor, Andrew Hoffman and Eamon Cleary was second in 3:30.6.

Finishing third were Carl Calcara (100 back, 1:01.94), Cleary (500 free, 5:17.42), O'Leary (100 breast, 1:06.63), Patterson (200 IM, 2:05.96) and Michael Ritchey (100 free, 53.54).

The Cardinals will compete in a home dual Feb. 4 against Academy.

"This is the start of championship season for us," said Gear, whose team beat Cincinnati Sycamore 96-73 on Jan. 20 and Warren (Mich.) De La Salle 131-39 on Jan. 21. "This will be the first week that we will start to decease the volume a little for the varsity guys. We weren't very sharp (in the league meet) and we're only going to get better."

The Cardinals will compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 11 at Upper Arlington. The winner of each event qualifies for district Feb. 18 at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths will be awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.