Statistically, Pickerington North girls bowler Alana Robinson has had a better junior season than she did a year ago, when she advanced to the Division I district tournament.
Robinson averaged 143.9 pins per game during the regular season, 1.4 pins higher than she did as a sophomore, partly because she has improved her form and consistency. Her lofty expectations stem from her district appearance of a year ago, when she finished 68th as the Panthers' only representative and fell short of a state berth.
Robinson earned her second consecutive district berth and brought the team with her Feb. 22 during the Division I sectional at HP Lanes when she finished 24th (492) of 192 bowlers to lead the Panthers to a 13th-place finish (2,821) of 42 teams, behind champion Westerville Central (3,653).
"I've fallen off a little bit, but I am coming back next year and I hope I improve way more than what I did this year," said Robinson, who bowled a career-best 216 game late last season but had yet to break 200 this year entering sectional. "I expect a lot out of myself. I want to get to district again.
"Last year, I bowled more with a flat wrist and I've worked on that a lot this year. I think I've improved my form and my consistency as well. I just go in, bowl my best and hope (my best) is good enough."
Robinson's 143.9 regular-season average was second on the team behind Kathryn VanCourt (149.1) and ahead of Evy Vance (138.6), Sienna Reedus (124.6) and Piper Clark (112.3).
Led by Jacob Dollmatch, who rolled a 570 three-game series to tie for 21st out of 270 individuals, the boys team finished 12th (3,597) in the 47-team sectional Feb. 21 at HP Lanes behind champion Reynoldsburg (3,991).
Also scoring were Ethan Yurko (24th, 565), Alex Zumock (tied for 84th, 490), Caden Thieken (191st, 299) and Kyle Butterfield (196th, 290).
The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams from both sectionals advanced to district Saturday, Feb. 29, at the same facility.
North's boys and girls teams both finished 8-5 overall, 7-5 in the COHSBC-B Division and 4-2 in the OCC-Central.
"I'm not sure I saw us having the same record as (the boys team), but we're thrilled," said Reedus, who placed 37th (462) at sectional. "When the boys' record dropped (a three-match losing streak between Jan. 15-21), it happened in a week where we won two of our three matches. A lot of times in practice, we'll go back and forth and realize one is ahead of the other and we start going harder. (Coach Mike) Rossi loves it."
Ethan Yurko's 196.6 average led North during the regular season, ahead of Alex Zumock (193), Kyle Butterfield (178.1), Jacob Dollmatsch (175), Caden Thieken (171.1) and Gary Neal (169.1).
"I was expecting to be closer to (a) 205 average, but I've missed some spares here and there," Yurko said. "Our coaches do a good job helping us with our left-side and right-side spares and that's what I've been practicing on leading up to (the postseason)."
At district, the top three boys teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams as well as the top four girls teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state March 6 and 7 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
"When you get (to district), then you see what happens. You really have to be on top of your game," Rossi said. "If everything goes well and we bowl some of our better games, you never know."
Swim season ends at state meet
The girls swimming team's 200-yard medley relay of senior Lindsey Keaton and juniors Sydney Hopkins, Rylee Kreinbrink and Regan Turnbull finished 22nd (1 minute, 50.1 seconds) in the Division I state meet Feb. 21 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The relay added 1.86 seconds from its time at district eight days earlier at Ohio State, where it finished eighth. They were seeded 23rd at state.
The relay was North's only state qualifier.
That ended a season in which the boys and girls teams both finished second in the OCC-Ohio meet Jan. 26 at Kenyon College behind Gahanna and were second and third, respectively, at sectional Feb. 8 at Upper Arlington.
In addition to the three juniors on the state-qualifying relay, 11 district qualifiers are eligible to return, including seven on the boys team in juniors Nick Clemons and Nathan Ojeda-Pesa, sophomores Gavin Mumma and Grant Turnbull and freshmen Aiden Eberhardt, Braden Hopkins and Marcus Schwartz.
Girls district qualifiers expected back are juniors Emily Harness and Lauren Vinson and freshmen Lainey Mack and Kaci Naegele.
Clemons, Eberhardt, Mack and Turnbull are divers.
Keaton is a University of Tampa recruit.
Wrestlers set for sectional tourney
The wrestling team has the second-best seed of the 12 teams in a Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 29, at Watkins Memorial, as it is 11th of 47 teams in the district.
Only fifth-seeded Westerville North is seeded better than North at Watkins Memorial, and the potential matchups are why Panthers coach Derek Oney chose that sectional, rather than the fact that it is by far the closest for his team.
"I'd planned on going there because they run a good tournament and it's close (about eight miles), but I didn't want to base my decision on location. I want to base it on how well my guys are going to do," Oney said.
"Our matchups, it looks like we'll be in good shape there. We've seen every other team in the sectional, so I have a pretty good idea what we're looking at."
Rounding out the field are Central Crossing, Gahanna, Hilliard Bradley, Licking Heights, Logan, Olentangy, Olentangy Berlin, Walnut Ridge and Whetstone.
The other sectionals are at Marysville, Newark and Upper Arlington.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.
Girls basketball team falls to Warriors
The girls basketball team's season came to an end Feb. 21 with a 50-20 loss at sixth-seeded Westerville North in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
Sophia Walton's five points led the 42nd-seeded Panthers, who finished 2-21. North trailed 15-3 after the first quarter and 20-7 at halftime but was outscored 22-6 in the third.