The Westerville Central High School boys bowling team isn't resting on its laurels.
After capturing the program's first Division I state title last season, the Warhawks are making a strong bid to win another.
Central was 10-0 overall and 10-0 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division before facing London on Jan. 30. It had secured at least a share of the league title, as second-place Gahanna is 9-2.
"We're definitely a big target out there, but that's where you want to be," junior Zach Gonzalez said. "It's fun to be put in pressure situations once in a while."
The Warhawks, who close league play Friday, Feb. 2, against Marysville at Columbus Square Bowling Palace, now have won four consecutive COHSBC titles. They also have clinched the OCC-Buckeye at 7-0, giving them four OCC championships in a row.
Central now can focus on the postseason, which begins Feb. 23 with sectional play at HP Lanes. The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district March 3 at HP Lanes.
At district, the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state March 9 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
"We're probably a little bit ahead of last year," coach Julie Wells said. "We're just trying to take it one day at a time."
Last season, Central beat Wapakoneta three games to none in the state final at Wayne Webb's.
"We do talk about last year, but it's in the past and we're trying to do it again this year," Gonzalez said. "We're in a pretty good place right now, about the same as last year. It's just about repeating the same steps as last year."
The Warhawks remained unbeaten by defeating New Albany 2,223-1,846 on Jan. 26. Junior Nick Owsiak led Central with a 394 two-game series, followed by freshman Malik Brown with a 388.
Central again has received a balanced effort this season. Entering the week, junior Devon Richardson led the area with a 217.2 average.
"Devon has been a force since he joined the team," Wells said.
Seniors Cameron Gonce (210.2) and Ryan O'Connor (210), Gonzalez (208.7), sophomore Wesley Minke (208.6) and Owsiak (202.2) also were among the leaders.
"We're in a pretty good position at this point, but we still have some things to work on," Gonzalez said. "There's always something to work on no matter how good you are, so that's the importance of practice. Our spares are the key in bowling, so you cannot ever have too much practice on your spares."
The girls team entered its match against London at 8-2 in the COHSBC-A, trailing Gahanna (11-0) and Olentangy (8-1).
Central finished 6-1 in the OCC-Buckeye and trails Olentangy, which was 5-0 before facing Westerville North on Jan. 30. The Braves close OCC play Friday, Feb. 2, against Big Walnut.
The Warhawks defeated New Albany 1,700-1,544 as sophomore Reace Gonzalez, Zach's sister, had a 337 series.
Senior Kirsten Miller entered the week with a 185.7 average, followed by junior Jocelyn Grimsley (171.4), senior Summer Snyder (167.4) and Gonzalez (165.9).
"Both teams are getting better every time they throw and it's right where we need to be going into the postseason," Wells said.
Boys basketball team has tough weekend
The boys basketball team looked to rebound from a disappointing weekend when it played Upper Arlington on Jan. 30.
Central entered the game 11-5 overall, coming off overtime losses to Olentangy Orange (67-65 on Jan. 26) and Dublin Scioto (52-49 on Jan. 27).
The Warhawks led Orange 37-19 at halftime, but the Pioneers outscored Central 43-25 in the second half to force overtime.
Thomas Hickman scored 25 points to lead Central, followed by Cam Schroeder (12), Josh McDaniel (11) and Solomon Wells (10).
Hickman scored 16 points against Scioto, with Chaz Dixon adding 11.
Hickman scored 18 points in a 46-44 win over Pickerington Central on Jan. 23.
Swim teams compete in league meet
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams competed in the OCC-Buckeye meet Jan. 27 at Thomas Worthington.
For the girls, Annie McNenny was second in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 22.33 seconds) and 100 butterfly (1:00.68), and Macey Swearingen was second in the 200 free (1:59.52) and 100 backstroke (1:00.22).
Kaila Aaron was second in the 50 free (25.57) and third in the 100 free (56.1).
Swearingen, Aaron, McNenny and D'Nisa Oocumma were second in the 200 medley relay (1:53.56), and Swearingen, Aaron, McNenny and Sophie Antonetz were second in the 400 free relay (3:44.83).
The girls finished fourth (182.5) behind Olentangy Liberty (279), Olentangy (273.5) and Orange (186) and ahead of Westerville North (161) and Westerville South (145).
The boys team finished sixth (73) behind Liberty (400.5), Orange (259), Olentangy (210.5), North (163) and South (142).
Gymnastics team finishes fifth
The gymnastics team finished fifth (118.85) in the seven-team Westerville Central Invitational on Jan. 26 at Worthington Youth Boosters Gymnastics behind champion Thornville Sheridan (138.75).
Junior Gianna Brooks, who has been battling a left hip-flexor injury, won balance beam (9.05) and finished second on uneven bars (8.8).
"The team has come a long way," coach Shea Stammen said.
"This group of girls came in as beginners and new. They learned something new every day. They've worked really hard."
Senior Torie Cochran is hoping for a strong finish. She missed the latter part of last season with a back injury.
"I'm really glad I did this," said Cochran, who is in her second season with the program. "I just want to do my best. I want to get good scores. I don't have specific goals in mind. I wish I would have done this sooner."
Below are the coming schedules for the Central boys basketball, girls basketball and bowling teams:
*Feb. 2 -- At Olentangy. The Warhawks defeated the Braves 68-57 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- At Gahanna
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Olentangy. The Warhawks lost to the Braves 59-49 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Gahanna
*Feb. 2 -- Marysville at Columbus Square Bowling Palace