As her team's only returning Division I district qualifier, Big Walnut High School girls bowler Kaitlyn Morrison has been supporting the many young teammates around her.

As her team's only returning Division I district qualifier, Big Walnut High School girls bowler Kaitlyn Morrison has been supporting the many young teammates around her.

The sophomore's message has been all about consistency, and she's fitting into her role as a leader.

"With bowling, consistency really matters," Morrison said. "Spares matter more so than strikes in a sense because you're still marking. You're able to stay more consistent as long as you pick up your spares."

The girls team, which is relying on a number of sophomores this season, fell to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North Division with a 1,834-1,575 loss to Westerville Central on Dec. 19 at Capri Lanes. Despite the loss, the Golden Eagles already have matched their overall win total from last season, when they finished 2-12.

Big Walnut's next match is against Olentangy Orange on Jan. 4 at Capri Lanes.

"Kaitlyn really has become more consistent this year," said coach Scott Morrison, Kaitlyn's father. "Her freshman year, she led the team, but she was very up and down. This year, she's more consistent and she's really taken on that (leadership) role. She knows it's her team now."

Morrison rolled a season-high 452 two-game series to lead the Golden Eagles in a 1,622-1,374 victory over Hilliard Bradley on Dec. 9 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. She has a 176.8 game average with a season-high 236 against the Jaguars.

Morrison did not have any open frames in the match against Bradley, according to her father.

Autumn Leidke, another sophomore, isn't far behind. She produced a season-high 358 series against Westerville Central and has a 150.1 game average with a season-high 192 against Central.

"Both girls (last season) would go high and then follow it up with a low game," coach Morrison said. "But now they're starting to put two good games together, which is what you have to do."

The boys team, which fell to 0-5 overall and 0-3 in the COHSBC-North with a 2,247-1,811 loss to Marysville on Dec. 20 at Marysville Lanes, continues to search for consistency.

Sophomore Jack Belcher leads the Golden Eagles with a 162.4 game average and has a season-high 397 series. Senior Reilly Mengel is averaging 148.8 per game with a season-high 341 series, and junior Henry Lemaster bowled a season-high 371 series against the Monarchs.

"Each week their totals are getting higher," coach Morrison said. "They're starting to get scores going, but we just don't have that consistency yet. We'll have one guy shoot a 190 and follow it up with a 120."

Freshmen wrestlers showing promise

Wrestling coach Luke Moore predicts that four or five freshmen could be regulars in the lineup by season's end.

Thus far, three of them have earned spots based on their improving performances.

Entering a home dual match against St. Charles on Dec. 22, Nathan McKelvey (138/145 pounds) was 6-3 and Max Lenz (220) and Quintin Humphries (heavyweight) both were 4-4.

"They're doing a great job, and I'm very impressed with how they're developing," Moore said. "They've stepped up, and they're going to be our guys there. Max and Quintin are two guys who had a lot of success at the junior high level. The more they learn technique and how to wrestle, the better they're going to get."

The Golden Eagles were 1-4 in dual matches before competing against St. Charles. Three of those losses -- Delaware (39-30), Springboro (48-32) and Amanda-Clearcreek (45-29) -- came in the Delaware Duals on Dec. 17. Big Walnut's only dual victory came against Hartley (33-30).

McKelvey and Lenz are expected to travel with the upperclassmen to compete in the 64-team Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Invitational Tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 27, and Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Wright State University.

"It's one of the better tournaments in Ohio," Moore said. "We'll see St. Paris Graham, which has won 15 straight state titles, and a couple big schools from Kentucky. It will be a good experience for our guys."

Big Walnut's two returning Division I district qualifiers -- juniors Bailey Munday and Cole Foster -- had its top records ahead of the dual with St. Charles. Munday (120/126) was 8-1 and Foster (132/138) was 7-2.

Also with winning records were seniors Carson Dearth (160, 6-3) and Josh Parker (182, 6-4).

Boys basketball team out to slow start

The boys basketball team was 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Capital Division before facing Marion Harding on Dec. 22.

Big Walnut lost to Olentangy Orange 59-49 on Dec. 17 after falling to New Albany 53-41 on Dec. 16 in a league contest.

Henry von Hollen and Jordan Koebel both had 13 points against Orange, while von Hollen and Alex Kelso both scored 12 against New Albany.

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