Despite having no seniors, the Worthington Christian girls bowling team won the Worthington Cup, the MSL tournament and tied Teays Valley for first in the COHSBC-C Division last season.
That success, combined with the Warriors' 15-2 overall record and a sixth-place finish (3,310) at the Division II district tournament a year ago, has the program feeling optimistic.
Worthington Christian was 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the COHSBC-C before facing Briggs on Dec. 11 at HP Lanes.
"We look strong," fifth-year coach Matt Hamilton said. "Bringing back a good group of bowlers with a lot of experience, (we're hoping) for a nice run this year."
Seniors Natalie Opava, Amber Ralston and Coral Varian and juniors Lilly Marsh, Hope Nyland and Emily Weishaar are the top returnees. Opava led the Warriors with a 23rd-place finish (483 three-game series) at district last season, with Ralston rolling a 460 to place 34th and Weishaar rolling a 438 to finish 43rd.
Seniors Naysa Dunlap and Anna Opava also were key contributors last season.
Junior Abby Lanker is another key bowler.
Through four matches, Ralston was leading the team with a 174.9 average. In a 2,018-1,629 victory over Centennial on Dec. 4, Ralston rolled a 401 two-game series that included a 234 in her second game.
On Wednesday, Dec. 18, the Warriors face Teays Valley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl in a matchup of teams that went 9-1 in COHSBC-C action last season.
Boys bowlers bring back strong nucleus
Senior Caleb Slagle is the top returnee for the boys bowling team after rolling a 619 three-game series to tie for seventh at the Division II district tournament last season, falling one spot shy of a state berth.
Through four league matches, Slagle was the leading the Warriors with a 198.4 average, ranking him 15th in the overall COHSBC.
"Caleb is our captain (and) I expect him to lead us to states this year as a team," seventh-year coach Dave Krebs said. "We have a super sophomore class. With the maturing of our sophomores, we're already improving on last year."
Sophomore Jonah Varian, who was 31st (555) at district last year, is another key returnee from the team that won the Worthington Cup and MSL tournament and tied for third in the COHSBC-C at 10-3.
The Warriors, who went 12-5 overall a year ago, also return junior Mason Marsh and sophomores Noah Dirscherl, Nathan Fullerton, Connor Lawson and Tyler White. Sophomores Nathan Fry and Will Muskopf are others looking to contribute.
In a 2,094-2,004 victory over Centennial on Dec. 4, Slagle had a 398 series as all five of the Warriors' competitors rolled better than a 300 two-game series.
Morgan returns to lead swim team
The top returnee for the girls swimming and diving program is junior Lena Morgan, who scored 479.85 points in diving at the Division II state meet to finish second behind 2019 Pepper Pike Orange graduate Janie Boyle (483.7).
The Warriors, who open Friday, Dec. 13, with the Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State, also return three swimmers with district experience in senior Anna Stathulis, junior Mary Lake and sophomore Morgan Lawrence after they competed on the 200-yard medley relay last year.
Freshman Emma Stoll gives the Warriors another swimmer for relays.
"Overall, the team is smaller than last year," 19th-year coach Jim Peterfish said. "Our lone diver this year, junior Lena Morgan, returns as the state runner-up and enters the season as the top-ranked Division II diver in the state. Freshman Emma Stoll adds to our depth in relays this year and may prove to be a district finalist individually as well. Senior Anna Stathulis, junior Mary Lake and sophomore Morgan Lawrence all return with district experience."
Returning to compete for the boys team are sophomores Isaac Myhal, Synjin Sharp and Micah Shemenski.
Last season, Myhal was a district qualifier in the 100 butterfly and Shemenski competed at district in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.
Andrew Lawrence, who placed fifth in diving (265.2) at district a year ago, was lost to graduation.
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Christian boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 13 -- At Grandview
Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Mount Gilead
*Dec. 17 -- Home vs. Bexley
*Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
*Dec. 18 -- Teays Valley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 13-14 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State