The Groveport Madison High School boys bowling team will be a work in progress this season after losing five of its top six athletes from last season to graduation.
Junior William Lawson is the returnee with the most experience, while juniors Jeremiah DeLong and Jamell Mitchell are other returnees.
"The boys team lost a lot of seniors and most of them had been a major part of the team for years," said second-year coach Christi Middendorf, who oversees both the boys and girls teams. "I think it will be a growing season. We do have some newcomers who are catching on quick and they focus in practice."
Middendorf said juniors Jakob Benline, Jeremiah Slonaker and Alex Weber and sophomores Sabashton Ferguson and Austin Snyder appear to be making progress in their development.
However, the Cruisers were 0-3 before competing against Hilliard Darby on Dec. 18.
"It's been real difficult early because so many of the kids have other commitments," Middendorf said. "The marching band is performing in the Peach Bowl and they are practicing so much. Then we have a number of other boys and girls who are performing in the Christmas choir event on Dec. 18 and they've been rehearsing a lot."
Completing the roster are senior Kyron Moses and sophomore Brandon Cordle.
"We have a lot of boys because our school gives a gym credit for bowling," Middendorf said. "We've got two j.v. teams and we kept all of the kids, but most other schools don't have a j.v. team and few have two j.v. teams so it'll be hard for me to get them all experience. But we'll rotate as many as we can."
The Cruisers lost to Lancaster 2,003-1,836 in the opener Dec. 4, fell to Gahanna 2,192-1,499 the next day and lost to Pickerington North 2,252-1,965 on Dec. 11.
Last season, Groveport finished 13th in the Division I district tournament and 2018 graduate Chaz Wilson was district runner-up and finished 19th of 103 competitors at state. The other 2018 graduates in last year's lineup were Corey Claprood, Tyler Miracle, Stephen Snyder and Lonnie Stuckey.
The girls team again will be led by senior Leah Deaner, who placed 18th of 102 competitors at district last year when she rolled a 488 three-game series.
Sophomore Makayla Harold is the only other returnee for the Cruisers, who are 2-1.
Groveport beat Lancaster 1,726-1,591 and Pickerington North 1,571-1,389 and lost to Gahanna 1,876-1,555.
"Leah has committed to Savannah College of Art and Design and will continue bowling there," Middendorf said. "She's really trying to help the young kids and trying to encourage them, too. She's doing wonderful.
"The rest of the girls will be working on their approaches and all of the fundamentals."
Other members of the team include junior Jessica Clayton, sophomore Kayla Sheets and freshman Suzie Francis.
"We lost (a total of) 10 (graduates) from the (combined) programs last year, so there's going to be a lot of teaching, learning and hopefully improving as we move through the season," Middendorf said.
Wrestling team wins title at Bexley Duals
The wrestling team went 5-0 to capture the title in the Bexley Duals on Dec. 15.
Muhamad Conteh (120 pounds) and Jake Nelson (195) both went undefeated in the event, as the Cruisers defeated Big Walnut 48-34, Marysville B 41-33, Bexley 60-21, Westerville Central 55-18 and North Union 49-24.
Boys basketball team falls to Indians
The boys basketball team was outscored 41-19 in the second half of a 66-44 loss at Canal Winchester in an OCC-Capital Division contest Dec. 14.
Elijah Monroe had 14 points and Nahki Taylor scored 11 to lead Groveport in a game that was tied at 25 at halftime.
The Cruisers were 3-2 overall before playing Pickerington Central on Dec. 18 and are 1-1 in the league entering a home contest against New Albany on Friday, Dec. 21.
Monroe had 18 points, Martez Knight scored 11 and Terrence Kee added nine in the Cruisers' 56-44 win over Grove City on Dec. 11.
Boys tennis team to have new coach
The boys tennis team will have its third coach in as many seasons this spring.
Dylan Merle stepped down as coach after one season. Last spring, the Cruisers finished 1-8 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Capital. Merle replaced Bernie Sleshi, who also coached the team for just one season.
*Dec. 4 -- Lancaster at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Dec. 5 -- Gahanna at Gahanna Lanes
*Dec. 11 -- Pickerington North at Rule 3
*Dec. 18 -- Hilliard Darby at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Dec. 20 -- Olentangy Berlin at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 8 -- Hilliard Davidson at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 10 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 14 -- Whitehall at Holiday Lanes
*Jan. 15 -- Hilliard Bradley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 23 -- Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes
*Jan. 25 -- Thomas Worthington at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 28 -- Pickerington Central at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Feb. 1 -- Delaware at Colony Lanes
*Feb. 7 -- Newark at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Below are the coming schedules for the Groveport Madison boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. New Albany
Dec. 22 -- At Granville
*Dec. 21 -- At New Albany
Dec. 20 -- Home vs. Madison Plains and Hamilton Township