Olentangy High School bowling coach Jim Brehm considered senior Addison Starr his "right-hand man" of sorts entering the season, both in terms of helping him oversee a young program and keeping him organized on a daily and weekly basis.
Citing an example, Brehm pointed out that he was a bit disjointed after the Braves split a match against Marion Harding on Jan. 23 at Delaware Lanes. Led by Starr, the girls team defeated the Presidents 2,177-2,027 and the boys lost 2,435-2,297, and while Brehm was making post-match announcements he got confused as to when the program's senior night would be.
"I need a little help with organization sometimes," Brehm said, laughing after he remembered that senior night was Jan. 30 against Buckeye Valley. "Addison helps me keep things straight. She's very organized and, obviously, a great bowler, too. She's a great leader and someone who's very dependable all around."
Starr is having her strongest season yet as she wraps up her prep career, averaging 195.2 pins per game through 11 matches to lead Olentangy to records of 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division before a match against Delaware on Jan. 28. The Braves are 4-2 in the OCC-Buckeye.
That average was third-best among all individuals in the COHSBC, regardless of division, before Jan. 28. Only Groveport's Leah Deaner (199.7) and Briggs' Dakota Fink (198.1) had better averages.
Starr almost matched her career-best effort against Harding, bowling a 253 in the first game on the way to a 470 two-game series. Her best career game before a Jan. 25 match against Westerville North was 259, a mark she set Jan. 15 against Berlin.
That eclipsed her previous best of 245, which came Jan. 10, 2018, against Delaware.
Starr took up bowling in eighth grade as an activity she and her father, Larry -- a Braves assistant coach who oversees the girls team -- could enjoy together.
Starr averaged 154.3 as a freshman, 159.2 as a sophomore and 177.5 last season, when she finished 11th (506) in the Division I district tournament. The top four finishers advanced to state.
"I give a bunch of credit to (my father)," Starr said. "He knows me and when to say something encouraging or tell me what might be off on one ball versus the other so I can adjust and get back to throwing strikes. ...
"I go in knowing where I should (stand) or how fast I should be throwing my ball. (My father) watches some and gives me slight adjustments to help me get clicked in faster than I can do by myself sometimes."
Starr and Ana Oliverio are the girls team's only two seniors and its co-captains.
Junior Kristen Mullins had a 156.4 average through 11 matches, ahead of freshmen Savannah Claar (154.2) and Hannah Lamar (146.6) and Oliverio (140.4). Olentangy's team average of 792.7 before Jan. 28 was fourth best in the entire COHSBC.
Led by Michael Lamar's 213.6 average, which was second in the COHSBC behind Briggs' James Pappas (236.9) entering the week, the boys team was 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the COHSBC-A before a match against Delaware on Jan. 28. It is 4-2 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Starr hopes to bowl or shoot archery in college, although she has not chosen a school. She also is president of the orchestra leadership team and serves in the senior class cabinet.
"Addison has lived up to our expectations and exceeded them," Brehm said. "We just didn't know what we'd have this year for the most part since we're so young, but we knew what Addison could do this season."
Girls swimmers capture league title
Shrieks of joy rang out across Thomas Worthington's natatorium Jan. 26 and swimming and diving coach Calvin Higdon flashed a wide smile as the girls team captured the OCC-Buckeye championship, its first league title since winning the OCC-Capital in 2014.
Six first-place finishes and five runner-up efforts led the Braves to 276 points and first place ahead of Westerville North (259.5), Orange (217), Liberty (204), Westerville Central (165) and Westerville South (141.5).
Bridget Parker won the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 20.56 seconds), placed second in the 200 free (1:57.03) and helped the 200 medley relay (1:52.12) and 400 free relay (3:38.89) to wins to lead the Braves.
Cameron Kuriger won the 100 butterfly (57.62), was runner-up in the 50 free (25.22) and was on both winning relays, as was Martina Peroni, who was first in the 200 individual medley (2:11.11) and second in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.87).
Anna McGrath finished first in the 100 free (56.14).
"For us to be able to pull this out is super exciting," Higdon said. "I definitely knew we had a shot, but it's not just about getting first, second and third. It's about getting any places that score. If you can win those events, you will steal points from other teams. We have a good balance of the really experienced swimmers and kids who are improving and know how to get points."
Ciara Szerencsits was runner-up in diving (345.75) and the 200 free relay placed second (1:47.46).
The boys team finished third (170.5) in the league meet behind Liberty (506.5) and North (180) and ahead of Orange (140), Central (134) and South (126).
Preston Kuriger won the 100 backstroke (56.15), placed second in the 100 free (50.94) and helped the 200 medley relay (1:50.55) and 400 free relay (3:36.2) to third-place finishes. Max McAlister tied for third in the 50 free (23.88) and Chris Sabharwal placed third in the 500 free (5:13.2) and was on both third-place relays.
Girls basketball team tries to end slump
The girls basketball team sought to end a five-game losing streak when it visited Grandview on Jan. 29.
Olentangy was held to fewer than 30 points in both of its games last week, falling to Big Walnut 53-27 on Jan. 22 and 36-19 to Westerville North in an OCC-Buckeye contest Jan. 25.
Meg Spohn had nine points and Olivia Margolies scored six against Big Walnut, while Spohn and Olivia Corley both scored four against North.
Olentangy was 7-10 overall before playing Grandview and is 2-6 in the OCC-Buckeye entering a Friday, Feb. 1, home game against Westerville Central.
Below are the coming schedules for the Olentangy boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 1 -- At Westerville Central. The Braves defeated the Warhawks 71-47 on Dec. 21.
Feb. 2 -- Centennial at Hoosier Gym in makeup from Jan. 19
Feb. 5 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
*Feb. 1 -- Home vs. Westerville Central. The Braves lost to the Warhawks 47-31 on Dec. 21.
Feb. 5 -- At Davidson
*Jan. 31 -- Grandview at Sawmill Lanes
Feb. 3 -- Central District Preview at Columbus Square Bowling Palace in makeup from Jan. 19
*Feb. 5 -- Marysville at Marysville Lanes
Feb. 2 -- Springboro at Chiller North
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 6 -- Diving: Worthington Kilbourne at Thomas Worthington
Feb. 2 -- 12th-seeded Reynoldsburg in Division I, Region 5 team dual tournament at Marysville. Winner faces fourth-seeded Delaware or 13th-seeded Thomas Worthington in quarterfinal. Semifinals and the final held later in the day. The regional champion advances to the state tournament Feb. 10 at Ohio State's St. John Arena. The Braves are seeded fifth.