The Westerville Central High School boys bowling team reached championship play in the Division I state tournament but fell short in its quest for a second title.
In a quarterfinal March 9 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, Ashland defeated the Warhawks three games to one -- 193-185, 195-204, 212-150 and 203-156 -- in a best-of-five Baker series.
Central, which finished sixth overall, qualified for championship play by finishing third (3,605) of 16 teams behind first-place Vandalia Butler (3,668) during preliminary play. The top eight teams advanced, and Butler went on to beat Ashland 3-1 in the final.
"Anything can happen in championship play and it usually does," coach Julie Wells said. "They bowled great all day. Breaks went to the other team in the first match. Unfortunately, 16 teams come in and only one gets to win. They're still a great team."
Central, which won the program's first state title in 2017, also lost in the quarterfinal round last season.
Wells, who resigned after last season following 12 years with the program, returned early this season when boys coach Jeff Robinson stepped away because of an illness.
Junior Wesley Minke led the Warhawks at state, finishing 10th of 100 bowlers with a 652 series to earn second-team all-state honors.
Senior Devon Richardson finished 15th (636) and was honorable mention all-state. He led Central with a 211 average during the regular season.
Sophomore Malik Curry-Brown (621, tied for 19th) and seniors Zach Gonzalez (576, 39th) and Nick Owsiak (86th, 345, two games) also competed at state.
"We did great this season and we didn't give up until the last frame (at state)," said Gonzalez, who finished with a 188 average. "I'm really proud of our team and how we did today, and even though we didn't win, I couldn't have asked for a better team."
Minke (209.7) and Curry-Brown (200.2) were second and third, respectively, in average for the Warhawks.
Sophomore Dominic Ferroni and freshman Zack Smock also are eligible to return.
Along with winning a district title (4,243) on March 2 at HP Lanes, Central also won its fifth consecutive Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference title at 11-0, finishing ahead of runner-up Westerville South (9-2) in the A Division, and fifth consecutive OCC championship at 7-0, ahead of second-place South (5-2) in the OCC-Buckeye.
"I've been with these boys for a long time. Seeing the seniors out was nice," Wells said. "Obviously, it's not the outcome we wanted, but they stayed together and they worked as a team. I couldn't have asked for anything more for all the work that they did."
Girls team rolls at state tournament
The girls bowling team finished 12th (2,860) of 16 teams behind first-place Stow-Munroe Falls (3,265) during preliminary play in the Division I state tournament March 8 at Wayne Webb's.
Centerville defeated Beavercreek 3-2 in the best-of-five championship series.
Senior Sammy McLaughlin led the Warhawks, tying for 26th of 104 bowlers with a 538 series.
Sophomore Jenna Owsiak was 29th (537), followed by junior Reace Gonzalez (62nd, 475) and seniors Jocelyn Grimsley (tied for 76th, 419) and Amber Hockstok (87th, 297, two games).
"We had a really good year, (but state) just didn't go the way we had hoped," coach Tony Gonzalez said. "When you put the whole thing together, we had a really good season."
Central entered state having won a district title (3,785) on March 2 at HP Lanes.
"Only 16 teams make it to state," Gonzalez said. "We made it by winning our district, so that's an achievement."
The Warhawks finished first (10-1) in the COHSBC-A, ahead of runners-up South and Delaware (9-2), and first (6-1) in the OCC-Buckeye, ahead of runners-up South and Big Walnut (5-2).
Juniors Stephanie Carson and Mackenzie Halloy and sophomore Stephanie Showalter also are eligible to return.