The youngest of eight children, Mary Pulsinelli often went to a bowling alley growing up as a way to stay occupied amid a busy household.

It was an experience the Watterson High School senior remembers fondly, and it has helped the girls bowling program.

For the second year in a row, Pulsinelli has been the lynchpin for a team that has won a league championship.

"I'm one of eight (children in my family), so the older kids would take us (to the bowling alley)," said Pulsinelli, who had two older brothers compete for the Watterson boys team. "That burns an easy three hours for little kids, then you come home and it's nap time.'

After sharing the CCL title last season, the Eagles won the championship outright at 6-0 this winter and also captured the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-D Division title at 11-0.

With a 1,642-1,250 victory over Mifflin on Feb. 7, the Eagles closed the regular season at 14-2 overall.

Pulsinelli had a 169.9 average in COHSBC action to rank among the top 20 in the conference heading into the final week of the regular season. Junior Isabelle Payton was next for the Eagles with a 152.4 average, followed by senior Anna Rose (146) and sophomore Rachel Reuter (145.4).

Sophomores Christine Rose and Madison Shaw and freshman Joy Packard also have been key contributors.

"We actually beat our goal score for the year, which was an 1,800, so that's very good, and I feel like this year we've really come together as a team," Anna Rose said.

The girls will compete in the Division I sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes. Last season, Watterson finished 10th at sectional and 14th at district, with Pulsinelli finishing 40th (434 three-game series) at district.

"We've just gotten a lot closer as a team and are bonding," Pulsinelli said. "When the team functions well, then you function well. We're all part of a system."

The boys team closed the regular season by beating Mifflin 1,748-1,375 on Feb. 7 to improve to 5-11 overall. The Eagles finished 5-7 in the COHSBC-D and 0-8 in the CCL.

Senior Seth Payton averaged 162.9 in COHSBC matches to lead the Eagles, who will compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 23 at HP Lanes.

Girls team earns share of CCL title

With a 52-31 victory over Ready on Feb. 7 in its regular-season finale, the girls basketball team secured a share of the CCL championship with Hartley. The Eagles and Hawks both went 6-1 in league play, splitting their two matchups.

Against the Silver Knights, Grace Jenkins, Elizabeth Rabold and Paige Woodford each scored 12 points to lead Watterson, which led 32-15 at halftime.

"The harder you work, the better things will pay off for you," Jenkins said a few days before the regular-season finale.

The Eagles finished the regular season 20-2 overall and are seeded fourth for the Division I district tournament. They will face 36th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in the first round Saturday, Feb. 16, at home and would play host to 20th-seeded Pickerington North in the second round Feb. 22 if they advance.

Bradley is 6-16 but closed the regular season on a three-game winning streak that included an upset of Dublin Scioto. The Irish finished second in the OCC-Cardinal Division and are the district's 17th seed.

Boys team can win league championship

The boys basketball team would earn at least a share of the CCL championship with a win over Ready on Friday, Feb. 15, at home.

Watterson, which edged the Silver Knights 62-60 in overtime Jan. 11 behind 15 points from Davis Boone and 12 apiece from Stephen Garrett and Zach Sawyer, and DeSales are tied for first in the CCL at 5-2. The Stallions conclude league play Feb. 15 at St. Charles.

The Eagles were 10-7 overall after beating Whetstone 58-19 on Feb. 9 and before facing Worthington Kilbourne on Feb. 12.

Watterson closes the regular season with games Saturday, Feb. 16, at home against Perry and Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Jonathan Alder before turning its attention to the Division II district tournament, which begins Feb. 25.

The Eagles are the seventh seed and will open March 2 at home against 21st-seeded Lakewood in the second round.

Swimmers begin postseason action

Members of the swimming and diving teams are set for district competition, with the boys competing in Division II on Thursday, Feb. 14, and the girls competing in Division I on Friday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State.

On Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington, the boys finished third (148 points) behind Wellington (301) and Grandview (194) in a Division II sectional and the girls were runners-up (206.5) to UA (385.5) in a Division I sectional.

At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet, which begins Wednesday, Feb. 20, and concludes Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. The top three boys divers in Division II and the top four girls divers in Division I qualify for state.

For the girls team at sectional, Elizabeth Intihar finished first in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 55.13 seconds) and 500 free (5:05.3), Lucia Cherok was second in the 200 individual medley (2:12.82) and third in the 100 backstroke (59.22), Mia Brown was runner-up in the 50 free (24.14) and fifth in the 100 butterfly (58.71), Olivia Oyster was second in the 100 free (54.07), the 200-yard medley relay (1:49.48) and 400 free relay (3:36.18) both placed second and the 200 free relay was fourth (1:46.21).

For the boys team, Michael Vondran won both the 50 free (22.49) and 100 free (51.25), Max Latshaw finished first in the 500 free (5:19.35) and third in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.4), Luke Franckhauser was second in the 100 fly (1:07.76) and the 200 medley relay was second (1:57.59).

Hockey team set to begin postseason

The hockey team is seeded 17th for the district tournament and opens the postseason at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, against 24th-seeded Cincinnati Sycamore at OhioHealth Ice Haus.

The winner faces second-seeded Upper Arlington at 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, in a second-round game at the Ice Haus, with the winner to meet seventh-seeded Olentangy, ninth-seeded Olentangy Orange, eighth-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier or 26th-seeded Mason in a third-round game at 4:45 p.m. Feb. 23 at the same site.

Watterson was the 11th seed for the Blue Jackets Cup consolation tournament and lost 4-2 to 14th-seeded Columbus Academy in the first round Feb. 8 at the Ice Haus to drop to 7-21. Max Graham and Mason Jolly each scored for the Eagles.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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