Now in its sixth season, the Worthington Christian High School bowling program is thriving.
During the 2015-16 season, the boys squad made the Division II state tournament for the first time and the school fielded a girls team.
Both teams advanced to the district tournament each of the past two seasons, with the boys team also having an individual state qualifier last winter, and participation numbers have reached a new high this season.
"We've got nine first-year bowlers out of our 12 guys, and for the first time we've got a (junior varsity) boys and j.v. girls team," sixth-year coach Dave Krebs said. "It's been an exciting development watching the program grow. We've got seven freshmen (boys), so to have four years with a young group, we've never been able to have that. This year will be a little bit of a growing period, but we've already got a couple that are starting to show their stuff."
After beating Marion-Franklin 1,839-1,634 on Dec. 17, the boys team was 4-2 overall and 4-0 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-C Division. The girls beat the Red Devils 1,726-1,401 to improve to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the COHSBC-C.
Junior Caleb Slagle and senior Garrett Rowda are key returnees from last season, when the Warriors went 12-3 overall, tied Whetstone for second in the COHSBC-C at 8-2 and placed sixth at district.
Freshman Will Muskopf and sophomore Mason Marsh also have been among the Warriors' top scorers.
Others on the team include senior Nathan Vallangeon and freshmen Noah Dirscherl, Connor Lawson, Jonah Varian and Tyler White.
The Warriors' top bowler last season was 2018 graduate Seth Parsell, who finished 27th at state.
Juniors Anna Opava, Natalie Opava, Amber Ralston and Coral Varian and sophomores Lilly Marsh and Emily Weishaar are returnees for the girls team.
Ralston, Varian, Weishaar and Natalie Opava all are averaging better than 150 in league matches.
Juniors Alyssa Burby, Naysa Dunlap, Jaclyn Hamilton and Amanda Strohmeyer and sophomores Caroline Burby, Abby Lanker, Hope Nyland, Rae Schreiber and Anna Valentine are others in the program.
"We have eight back from last year and they look pretty solid, and we picked up another seven," fourth-year coach Matt Hamilton said. "They (hopefully will) do some nice things this year. We should go to districts this year, but hopefully we'll also do well in our league. We're in (the COHSBC-C) with some of the City (League) schools and they've got some good bowlers back, too."
Swimming program grows in numbers
There are seven swimmers and three divers competing for the Warriors this winter.
The top returnees are sophomore diver Lena Morgan of the girls team and a pair of divers in senior Andrew Lawrence and junior Josh Stanfield for the boys squad.
At last year's Division II district meet, Morgan placed third (514.45 points) but fell one spot shy of advancing to state, while Lawrence placed fourth (246.9) and Stanfield was sixth (227.1) as the top three qualified for state.
"Lena Morgan enters this season as one of the top divers in the district with expectations of qualifying and scoring well at the state championships," 18th-year coach Jim Peterfish said. "As our largest team to date this season, we expect a much higher team placing at the MSL meet and a greater presence at the district championships."
Junior Anna Stathulis is the top returning swimmer for the girls team after competing at sectional last season. The other girls swimmers are sophomores Andrea Hess and Mary Lake and freshman Morgan Lawrence.
Competing in swimming for the boys team are freshmen Issac Myhal, Synjin Sharp and Micah Shemenski.
Lost to graduation from the boys team was Brian Kray, who placed sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 3.06 seconds) and 16th in the 100 freestyle (52.53) at district last season.
Basketball teams to stay busy over break
The boys and girls basketball teams will try to continue strong starts during the holiday break.
The boys team was 4-2 overall after losing to West Jefferson 44-35 on Dec. 15.
The Warriors rallied from a 22-14 halftime deficit to beat Columbus Academy 53-49 on Dec. 14 to improve to 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division. They opened league play Dec. 8 with a 62-56 loss to Grandview.
The Warriors will play host to Whetstone on Saturday, Dec. 22, and face Mount Gilead (Dec. 28) and Galion Northmor (Dec. 29) before returning to league action Jan. 4 at Whitehall.
Freshman D.J. Moore is averaging 19 points, followed by junior Derrick Hardin (14.3), junior Nakimba Mullins (10.8) and sophomore Tyler Kindberg (10.3).
The girls team is 7-0 overall after beating Ready 52-35 on Dec. 15 and is 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio as it prepares to play host to Whitehall on Friday, Dec. 21.
Sophomore Katherine Weakley is averaging 15.4 points and freshman Blessing King is averaging 11.3. King had 24 points in a 68-37 victory over Briggs on Dec. 13.
*Nov. 29 -- Big Walnut at HP Lanes
*Nov. 30 -- DeSales at HP Lanes
Dec. 1 -- Red & Blue Classic at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 5 -- Whetstone at HP Lanes
*Dec. 7 -- Columbus Academy at HP Lanes
Dec. 8 -- Holiday Baker Marathon at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 13 -- Columbus International at HP Lanes
*Dec. 17 -- Marion-Franklin at HP Lanes
*Jan. 7 -- Columbus South at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 9 -- Bexley at Holiday Lanes
*Jan. 10 -- Briggs at Sawmill lanes
*Jan. 14 -- Columbus West at Game of Western Columbus
Jan. 19 -- Warrior D2 Challenge at HP Lanes
Jan. 21 -- Pioneer Classic at Westgate Entertainment Center in Lima
*Jan. 24 -- Village Academy at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 25 -- Haugland Learning Center at HP Lanes
Jan. 26 -- Jaguar Bakers at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 29 -- Centennial at HP Lanes
*Jan. 31 -- Northland at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Feb. 1 -- Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne at Capri Lanes
Feb. 2 -- MSL Tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Feb. 5 -- Teays Valley at HP Lanes
Feb. 9 -- Conference Roll-Off at Holiday Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 7-8 -- Need Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 15 -- at Columbus School for Girls (diving)
Jan. 4 -- Hilliard Bradley and Westerville Central at Westerville Recreation Center
Jan. 18 -- Viking Invitational at Columbus Academy
Jan. 19 -- at CSG (diving)
Jan. 26 -- MSL meet at Academy
Feb. 1 -- Olentangy Berlin and Westerville South at Westerville Recreation Center
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Christian boys basketball and girls basketball teams:
Dec. 22 -- Whetstone at Mount Vernon Nazarene
*Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Whitehall