The regular season was just a warm-up for Sophia Soisson.
The junior standout for the Westerville North boys bowling team has been biding her time so she can make her mark in the Division I girls postseason.
The Warriors had only two girls try out for bowling, which meant the duo had to play for the boys squad. Soisson led the girls team in her first two seasons with averages of 167.2 as a freshman and 177.6 last winter.
This season, she has a 201.7 average that is tied for 12th in the area boys rankings, which are led by Olentangy Liberty's Carter Street (218.2). It would be third in the girls rankings behind Briggs' Dakota Fink (207.6) and Westerville Central's Reace Gonzalez (206.7).
"There are a lot more guys who are better at bowling so it's tougher to be higher up in the rankings," Soisson said. "That helps make me better because I'm going up against better bowlers.
"I think bowling against boys will help me in the postseason. I have been used to bowling against good bowlers."
Soisson will compete in the girls sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes. The top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 29 at HP Lanes. At district, the top four individuals not on qualifying teams move on to state March 7 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
"Sophia is going to make state. I have confidence in that and she does, too," said coach Eric Hagemann, whose team is 0-11 both overall and in the COHSBC-A Division and 0-7 in the OCC-Buckeye. "She is better than last year. She's also quicker at switching balls. If one is hooking too much or not enough, she's good at changing the ball within two frames. Last year, she would wait six frames to change the ball in case (her form) was the problem."
Soisson said concentration is the biggest factor in her improvement since last season.
"I have been focusing more on bowling spares during practice and not worrying so much about the score," she said. "That has really improved my game.
"I think that I just have a different mindset. I have been able to put bad shots behind me and that has helped me bowl better games."
Soisson began bowling at 10 years old and quickly fell in love with the sport.
"I have six balls and use them depending on the oil conditions and whether I need a ball that reacts more and hooks more or one that doesn't hook as much," she said. "When the lanes are oily, I use a solid and it allows the ball to hook more to get through the oil. If the lanes are drier, I use a ball that doesn't hook as much."
Soisson said it won't be easy qualifying for state, but she has a lot of experience competing at HP Lanes.
"There is a lot of practice and preparation needed to go to state," she said. "I know HP has a different oil pattern. I always struggled at first there and then I am able to figure out the (oil) patterns and my games will improve."
Bernsdorf, Yeager leading swim teams
Alaina Bernsdorf and Hayden Yeager lead the swimming and diving program into the Division I district meet Thursday, Feb. 13, at Ohio State.
In a sectional Feb. 8 at Kenyon, Bernsdorf placed fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 7.97 seconds) as the girls team finished seventh (149 points) behind champion Dublin Coffman (398).
Christy Harper was fifth in the 100 backstroke (59.21) and ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:15.19).
Harper, Bernsdorf, Abigail Bosler and Allie Thompson were on the fifth-place 200 medley relay (1:53.13), and Ariana Sanabria, Thompson, Harper and Kayla Simashkevich were on the 10th-place 400 free relay (3:52.63). Sanabria, Bosler, Simashkevich and Bernsdorf swam on the sixth-place 200 free relay (1:45.61).
Paige Kadar, Lauren Richards, Emma Weisgerber Connie Wu all will compete in girls diving at district.
Yeager was second in the 100 butterfly (52.08) and seventh in the 200 IM (1:57.55) as the boys team finished eighth (113) at sectional behind champion Dublin Jerome (420.5).
Yeager also joined Gabriel Charles, Alex Hendon and Paul Buckley on the sixth-place 400 free relay (3:29.63). Charles, Yeager, Buckley and Taylor Sanford were on the eighth-place 200 medley relay (1:45.74), and Hendon, Sanford, Joshua Dewey and Colin Hudnell swam on the seventh-place 200 free relay (1:37.64).
The winner of each event advanced to district along with 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event automatically advance to state Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Also, the top four girls divers advance to state to compete Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Girls team prepares for district opener
The sixth-seeded girls basketball team opens the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 15, at home against 37th-seeded Grove City.
The winner faces 42nd-seeded Pickerington North on Feb. 21 in the second round.
The Warriors are 17-5 overall.
Alyssa Wright made a layup with 6 seconds left to give the host Warriors a 45-43 win over Westerville South on Feb. 7 to finish 7-3 in the OCC-Buckeye. It snapped a five-game losing streak against the Wildcats.
Imari Martin scored 14 points and Wright added nine.
Below are the coming schedules for the North boys basketball and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 14 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange. The Warriors defeated the Pioneers 42-41 on Jan. 10.
Feb. 22 -- At 21st-seeded Marysville in first round of Division I district tournament. The Warriors are seeded 28th.
*Feb. 13 -- At Olentangy Liberty