The Olentangy Orange High School bowling teams finally are getting a chance to compete in matches.

Entering a Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division match with Grandview on Dec. 18, the boys and girls teams had played only one match. Normally, the Pioneers have four or five matches under their belts by mid-December.

"We're coming into the game late," fifth-year boys coach Rodney Palmer said. "We have competed in a couple of tournaments, but we only have played one regular match. We were supposed to play Delaware (on Dec. 12), but there was a mix up at the lanes and they had a Christmas party scheduled so we moved that to January."

The Pioneers defeated Olentangy 2,203-2,180 on Dec. 14 in a COHSBC-A and an OCC-Buckeye match. Freshman Jacob Burre led with a 395 two-game series, followed by senior Brendan Tansky (381), juniors Jake Norz (380) and Tanner Davidson (355) and sophomore Seth Yu (334).

"We have a solid four and we're looking for a solid fifth," Palmer said. "When we get that, I think we can be better than last season, and we had a pretty good team then.

"Jake Norz threw a 235 (in the first game against Olentangy) and then threw a 145. He had two single-pin misses in his 235, so that would have been higher. It always comes down to the kids making their spares."

Davidson (513 three-game series, 30th) and Tansky (498, 37th) competed in the Division I district tournament last season, when the Pioneers finished eighth (3,374) of 16 teams behind champion Westerville Central (3,907).

"If we get these guys concentrating on making their spares and getting their averages up, we should do well," Palmer said. "Consistency is the key. On single-pin spares, they should be running around 90 percent or higher, and on multi-pin spares, they should be around 80 percent or higher."

The girls team has three returnees in senior Makenzie Peterson and juniors Remy Gray and Raymie Shields.

"We only had four girls at our first practice, so we had them go out and bring some kids to the second," second-year coach D.C. Boysaw said. "We wanted to get enough for two teams (varsity and j.v.) and now we have 11 girls."

Orange lost to Olentangy 1,889-1,873 in its opening match. Shields led the Pioneers with a 327 series, followed by Peterson (316), freshmen Lauryn Deck (315) and Eve Wicks (303) and Gray (298).

"With one match, honestly, we started out better score-wise than last year," Boysaw said. "We lost by 13 (pins), but we missed a few spares we should have made. It came down to the 10th frame of the second Baker game and, unfortunately, we didn't get it to fall.

"It just comes down to spares. We would have made up the 16 pins way before that last frame and I think we had four opens in the second Baker game alone."

Gymnastics team has high expectations

Gymnastics coach Jen Hedrick believes this should be the Pioneers' best team in her 11 seasons leading the program.

"I believe this will be my strongest team since we started the program here," said Hedrick, who also is coaching Berlin. "I have more girls with club experience than in the past.

"That's good because (club gymnasts) typically have more skills and their technique will be better. They aren't getting as many (scoring) deductions on the technique side of it."

The Pioneers have 25 gymnasts in their program, including 13 returnees in seniors Katherine Bookheimer, Savannah Byas, Nicole Carifa, Alice Cooke, Celia Ritchie and Paloma Stripling, juniors Hope Baumeyer, Julia Burt, Olivia Dieckmann and Courtney Thagard and sophomores Megan Leopold, Grace Ritterspach and Emma Wood.

Newcomers with club experience are junior Holly Schutte and freshmen Layne Petrilla, Riley Rankin, Macie Smith and Molly Wheeler.

"Every year, you see who will be coming out," Hedrick said. "You don't always know who will be coming over from club.

"Your higher-level girls will be coming from club, and basically it comes down to whether they will decide to leave club to go compete in high school. A lot of your better gymnasts don't do that, and it's that game of 'can you get them to come out?'"

Orange won its opener Dec. 14, scoring 125.35 points in a four-team meet to edge runner-up Dresden Tri-Valley (124.35).

"The biggest thing we need to work on is preparing for the new requirements and new deductions that they are adding for composition," Hedrick said. "We just need to make sure all of our girls' routines have everything they are able to do, have the highest start value and also not get those composition deductions for not having level skills that are high enough."

Torio leads wrestlers in Liberty Classic

Rocco Torio finished third at 132 pounds to lead the wrestling team in the Liberty Classic held Dec. 14 and 15.

The junior defeated Medina Highland's Jake Bryson 12-6 in the consolation final to go 5-1 in the event, as the Pioneers finished 12th (94.5) of 33 teams, behind champion Macedonia Nordonia (174.5).

Junior Cardan Mutai (220) placed sixth, while juniors Tristan Bluntschly (170) and Nick Scheonleb (160) and sophomore Dylan Dempsey (182) all finished 3-2 and seniors Colin Burns (170), Cole Jackson (126) and Zach Stevenson (heavyweight), junior Alex Lopez (195), sophomore Zach Miller (138) and freshman Mitchell Broskie (160) all went 2-2.

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Schedules

BOWLING

Dec. 1 -- Red and Blue Classic at HP Lanes

Dec. 8 -- Holiday Baker Marathon at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

*Dec. 14 -- Olentangy at Capri Lanes

Dec. 15 -- Pioneer Baker Bash at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

*Dec. 18 -- Grandview at Sawmill Lanes

*Jan. 7 -- Westerville North at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

*Jan. 8 -- Marysville at Marysville Lanes

Jan. 18 -- Teays Valley at Capri Lanes

*Jan. 22 -- Berlin at Capri Lanes

*Jan. 23 -- Delaware at Colony Lanes

*Jan. 24 -- Liberty at Capri Lanes

*Jan. 30 -- Big Walnut at Capri Lanes

*Jan. 31 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Capri Lanes

*Feb. 1 -- Westerville South at Capri Lanes

*Feb. 4 -- Westerville Central at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

*Feb. 5 -- New Albany at Capri Lanes

Feb. 19 -- Liberty, Olentangy and Orange at Sawmill Lanes

GYMNASTICS

Dec. 14 -- Big Walnut and DeSales at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheer

Dec. 20 -- at *Westerville Central with Berlin, Buckeye Valley and Grove City

*Dec. 22 -- at Liberty with Big Walnut and Olentangy

Jan. 4 -- Delaware Invitational

Jan. 9 -- at Marysville with Berlin and Dresden Tri-Valley

Jan. 19 -- Westerville Central Warhawk Invitational at Worthington Youth Boosters

Feb. 9 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Thomas Worthington

Feb. 14 -- Beauty and the Beast Invitational at home

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 21 -- At Westerville South

Dec. 22 -- Mentor at Mount Vernon Nazarene

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Westerville South

HOCKEY

*Dec. 21 -- Upper Arlington at OhioHealth Ice Haus

*Dec. 23 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Chiller North

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 21 -- Delaware County Classic at Ohio Wesleyan

WRESTLING

Dec. 20 -- At Dublin Coffman with New Albany and Reynoldsburg

Dec. 22 -- At Berlin with Amanda-Clearcreek and Buckeye Valley

*League contest