The Olentangy Orange High School boys bowling team has been feasting on what's commonly referred to as house patterns, but that's about to change.
The Pioneers have more than a week to prepare for the postseason, which begins Feb. 23 with the Division I sectional at HP Lanes. Coach Rodney Palmer said the team would need that extra time to prepare for the more difficult oil patterns normally found in the postseason.
"Everything we normally bowl on is a house pattern, which is what (a bowling alley) puts out for their league bowlers," said Palmer, whose team is 9-4 overall and finished 8-3 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference A-Division and 5-2 in the OCC-Buckeye. "It's a much easier shot than a sport shot, which is what we see in the postseason. ... When you get on a sports shot, (the oil pattern) can be anything. Kegel (which manufactures bowling equipment and machinery) has a whole library on how to read oil patterns.
"We will practice on sports shots until we get into the postseason."
The Pioneers have four bowlers averaging within 10 pins of one another. Senior Brendan Tansky leads with an average of 179.7, followed by junior Jake Norz (174.5), freshman Jake Burre (173.9) and junior Tanner Davidson (169.7). Sophomore Marcus Turner averages 158.2.
"I also have started to put three of our bowlers that roll very similar (styles) together on the same lanes to try to break down (the oil on) the lanes the same way for them," Palmer said. "I put Tanner Davidson, Jake Burre and Jake Norz together. I paired Brendan Tansky with the rookie Marcus Turner, who has been rolling really well over the last few weeks."
Norz said camaraderie has been a key ingredient in the Pioneers' success.
"I really think we have a good dynamic with the players because we have one senior, two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman," Norz said. "It helps bring us together as a team, and the whole coaching staff -- Rodney, (girls coach) D.C. (Boysaw) and (assistant) George (Rowan) -- really helps us a lot."
Tansky not only is the only senior in the starting lineup, but he's also the only left-hander.
"Sometimes (being a left-hander) helps because I get my own side of the lane and (the oil on the lanes) breaks down better for me," he said. "(We have been successful) just from practicing over and over again. We try to stay focused and calm. If you miss your shot, you miss your shot. The big thing is staying consistent."
The goal now is to continue that consistency at sectional. Davidson said that can only come with practice.
"We're going to be practicing a couple weeks for that," he said. "HP (Lanes) puts down a very different pattern. For me, it makes it a lot harder to get my ball in the pocket depending (on) how oily it is."
Burre also stressed the importance of practice heading into the postseason.
"We need to practice our spares and targeting on the lane," he said. "We have to practice even more. At HP, they don't use a house shot, so it's tougher than here at Capri."
Ritchie, Ritterspach lead gymnasts in OCC
Celia Ritchie and Grace Ritterspach led the gymnastics team in the OCC-Buckeye meet Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington, finishing second and third, respectively, in the all-around.
The Pioneers were runners-up (134.425) to Olentangy (136.3) while recording their program-high score.
"We had a great meet and did everything we could," said Jen Hedrick, who was named league Coach of the Year. "I'm proud of the way these girls competed."
In the all-around, Ritchie scored 34.575 to finish behind champion Lillian Towles (34.75) of Olentangy and ahead of Ritterspach (34.5).
Ritchie won vault (9.1) and balance beam (8.85), placed fifth on floor exercise (8.675) and was sixth on uneven bars (7.95). Ritterspach was second on bars (8.775), third on floor (8.75), fourth on vault (8.625) and fifth on beam (8.35).
Molly Wheeler was fifth in the all-around (33.05) led by an 8.175 on bars (fourth). Emma Wood was sixth in the all-around (31.775) with a top performance of 8.2 on beam (sixth).
Girls swimmers take fourth at sectional
The girls swimming team finished fourth in a Division I sectional Feb. 9 at Kenyon College thanks to the efforts of Brooke Farren, Kayla Fisher and Alex Knodel.
Knodel placed fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 18.11 seconds) and sixth in the 200 free (1:59.27) as the Pioneers totaled 143 points, behind champion Dublin Coffman (266) as nine teams scored.
Farren was fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:00.34) and 100 butterfly (1:01.81), and Fisher was fourth in the 100 free (54.63).
Orange also advanced all three relays to district Friday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State. Farren, Fisher and Knodel joined Emma Logan on the third-place 400 free relay (3:44.1) and fourth-place 200 medley relay (1:51.81), and Casarina Coniglio, Kali Butler, Alice Crowe and Marcy Paredes were on the ninth-place 200 free relay (1:51.81).
Graham Weidenhamer led the boys team by placing eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.79) and 500 free (4:55.39). Orange was ninth (38) behind champion St. Charles (299) as 10 teams scored.
The boys also sent all three relays to district. Weidenhamer was on two eighth-place relays with Noah Crowe, Merek Helmer and Tannor Lambert: the 200 medley (1:49.05) and 400 free (3:38.92). Helmer, Samuel Evers, Ben Reusser and Andrew Sutley comprised the ninth-place 200 free relay (1:43.6).
Girls divers Lauren Cheetham, Allie Guagenti, Emily Peterson and Josie Vance compete at district Friday, Feb. 15, and boys diver Luke Cheetham competes Thursday, Feb. 14. The top five girls advance to state Feb. 21 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, and the top four boys advance to state Feb. 23.
In swimming, the top two in each district event automatically advance to state Feb. 22 and 23. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 15 -- At Westerville North. The Pioneers lost to the Warriors 69-65 in overtime Jan. 11.
March 1 -- Home vs. 20th-seeded Delaware or 24th-seeded Westerville Central in second round of Division I district tournament. The Pioneers are seeded 13th.
Feb. 16 -- At 11th-seeded Teays Valley in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays 18th-seeded Canal Winchester in second round Feb. 22. The Pioneers are seeded 34th.
Feb. 19 -- Berlin, Liberty and Olentangy at Sawmill Lanes
Feb. 14 -- Beauty and the Beast Invitational at home
Feb. 16 -- Seventh-seeded Olentangy in first round of Division I district tournament at Chiller North. Winner plays eighth-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier or 26th-seeded Mason in second round Feb. 17 at OhioHealth Ice Haus. Winner plays second-seeded Upper Arlington, 17th-seeded Watterson or 24th-seeded Cincinnati Sycamore in quarterfinal Feb. 23. The Pioneers are seeded ninth.
*Feb. 14 -- Home vs. Olentangy