Third-year Big Walnut High School bowling coach Scott Morrison has high hopes for the girls team this season given that it has six seniors who helped the Golden Eagles qualify for the Division I district tournament a year ago.
The Golden Eagles are 2-1 overall, 1-1 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division and 0-1 in the OCC-Buckeye. They won their first two matches before losing to Westerville Central 2,019-1,748 on Dec. 12.
"Having so many seniors is good and bad," Morrison said. "I'm really expecting a really good season from them this year. Unfortunately, we're going to lose them (after this season), all (of our bowlers) but one."
Morrison's daughter, Kaitlyn, is one of the seniors. Through three matches, she has a team-best 175.8 average with a two-game series high of 409. She is followed in average by seniors Anna Tanner (161.6, 328) and Autumn Leidtke (159.2, 390), freshman Ashleigh Westervelt (147.5, 335) and senior Caitlyn Lambert (145.3, 355).
Also on the team are seniors Ale Hernandez and Faith Myers.
Big Walnut opened Nov. 29, defeating Worthington Christian 1,867-1,800 at HP Lanes, and beat Delaware 2,065-2,018 on Dec. 6 at Colony Lanes after competing in the Red and Blue Classic on Dec. 1 at HP Lanes.
"Delaware is usually one of the stronger teams in our conference, and we beat them at Delaware," Morrison said. "We had our highest finish in the Red and Blue (Classic), finishing fifth out of 23 teams."
The Golden Eagles expect to return to the district tournament, where they finished 12th (2,787) of 16 teams last season behind champion Gahanna (3,596).
The boys team also is looking to return to district after placing 12th (3,306) of 16 teams last season behind champion Westerville Central (3,907). However, the Golden Eagles lost three of their top bowlers from a year ago in 2018 graduates Henry LeMaster, Matt Priestas and Chris Fetter.
Seniors Johnny LeMaster and Jacob Bowens and junior Bryan Mengel are leading Big Walnut, which is 2-1 overall, 1-1 in the COHSBC-A and 0-1 in the OCC-Buckeye after falling to Westerville Central 2,576-1,898 on Dec. 12.
Mengel did not compete last season because of a hand injury.
"The three are strong," coach Morrison said. "It's just going to depend on how the other guys hold up. They've all been putting a lot of work in on their own time, which is nice. I get as much lane time as I can with them."
Through three matches, LeMaster has a team-best 182.2 average with a series high of 410, followed by Bowens (180.7, 376) and Mengel (180.3, 393).
The roster also includes senior Erin Hoover, junior Andrew Hettinga and sophomores Brayden Buchs, Jacob Gillispie and Riley Shumaker.
Big Walnut opened with a 2,043-1,725 victory over Worthington Christian and beat Delaware 2,576-1,898. The Golden Eagles placed fifth of 30 teams in the Red and Blue Classic.
Gymnasts begin life without Dimitroff
The gymnastics team has begun the post-Mary Dimitroff era, looking to build off the legacy left by the four-year state qualifier and 2018 graduate who closed her prep career with two OCC all-around titles, which she won as a freshman and junior.
Kayla Hildebrand, the team's only senior, returns as one of the top competitors. Last season, she placed sixth (30.95) in the all-around in the OCC-Buckeye meet, ahead of freshman Kayla Farley (10th, 27.65), who will miss past of the season with a foot injury.
Last season in the Division I district meet, Hildebrand had the Golden Eagles' second-best score on the uneven bars (tied for 52nd, 7.55), vault (tied for 99th, 7.65) and balance beam (tied for 102nd, 7.15) as well as in the all-around (62nd, 29.925), while Farley was their second-highest finisher on the floor exercise (93rd, 7.625).
Also back is junior Ekaterina Brammer, who Wilson describes as a "very powerful" gymnast and motivator.
The roster also includes juniors Kelsey Ewing and Madison Withrow, sophomore Sydney Cornwell and freshman Angelina McConnell. Withrow is new to the sport.
"They all have a great work ethic and really want to go out there and try their best," said second-year coach Kaiden Wilson, whose team opened Dec. 14 with a meet against DeSales and Olentangy Orange at Central Ohio Gymnastics. "The girls are just trying to get used to the new rules."
Every four years, USA Gymnastics evaluates requirements for each routine, which impacts high school competition, Wilson said.
Wrestlers tie for ninth in home tourney
The wrestling team tied Westerville Central for ninth (94 points) of 17 teams in its annual Big Walnut Classic on Dec. 8, behind champion Dublin Coffman (287.5).
Ryan Coletta (160 pounds), Josh Halbakken (182) and Max Lenz (220) all placed third, while Andrew Parker (106) and Drew Armstrong (145) finished sixth, Lawrence O'Malley (145) was seventh and Austin O'Malley (170) and Michael Hurst (195) were eighth.
*Nov. 29 -- Worthington Christian at HP Lanes
Dec. 1 -- Red and Blue Classic at HP Lanes
*Dec. 6 -- Delaware at Colony Lanes
*Dec. 12 -- Westerville Central at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Dec. 15 -- Pioneer Baker Bash at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 18 -- Westerville North at Capri Lanes
*Dec. 21 -- Grandview at Capri Lanes
Jan. 5 -- Buckeye Classic at HP Lanes
*Jan. 8 -- Whetstone at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 9 -- Olentangy Berlin at Delaware Lanes
*Jan. 15 -- Marysville at Dragon Lanes
Jan. 19 -- Central District Preview Tournament at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Jan. 25 -- Westerville South at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 29 -- Olentangy Liberty at AMF Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 30 -- Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes
Feb. 1 -- Teays Valley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl Lanes
*Feb. 4 -- New Albany at Capri Lanes
*Feb. 7 -- Olentangy at Capri Lanes
Feb. 11 -- Marion Harding at Cooper's Bowl
Dec. 14 -- DeSales and Olentangy Orange at Central Ohio Gymnastics
Dec. 22 -- *Olentangy, *Olentangy Liberty and *Olentangy Orange at Buckeye Gymnastics
Jan. 5 -- Wolfpack Invitational at Worthington Kilbourne
Jan. 9 -- *Westerville Central, Liberty and Olentangy at Worthington Youth Boosters
Jan. 21 -- Olentangy Invitational
Feb. 6 -- Buckeye Valley, Marysville and Thornville Sheridan at Marysville
Feb. 9 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at TBA
Below are the coming schedules for the Big Walnut boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Newark
Dec. 22 -- Home vs. Caledonia River Valley
*Dec. 21 -- At Newark
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 21 -- Delaware County Classic Relays at Ohio Wesleyan