Gahanna led the way for central Ohio in the Division I state boys bowling tournament March 6 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
During the qualifying round, senior Nathan Minzler followed a 194 in the first game with back-to-back games of 230 for a 654 three-game series to place 14th and earn honorable mention all-state honors. He was the central Ohio’s top finisher.
Gahanna, which was making its first appearance at state since 2011 when it placed 10th, was in 11th place after two games of regulation but put together a 952 in its third game and did well enough in the Baker games to tie for seventh and qualify for the championship round.
After losing a roll-off with Mentor to determine which team would be the seventh seed, the Lions lost to top-seeded Centerville 3-1 in a quarterfinal to finish eighth of 16 teams.
Wadsworth’s Chris Steele won the individual title with a 716 and Sidney beat Centerville 3-0 for the team title.
“I got out to a slow start and then the lanes starting going with me,” Minzler said. “Everything we did, we did phenomenally. Just to say we made it to state was enough for me. (I’m) happier than I’ve ever been (to) make it past (the qualifying) round.”
Also competing for the Lions during the qualifying round were Deandre Quiero (tied for 43rd, 573), Eddy Pax (49th, 563), Kevin Foit (61st, 541) and Jimmy Walther (76th, 493).
After a strong start, DeSales finished 14th (3,266). The Stallions were seventh (963) after the first game and ninth (921) after their second, but slipped to 14th after rolling an 848 in their third game. The Stallions were making their first state appearance.
Andrew Swift tied for 41st (575) to lead DeSales, followed by Bryan Ritzler (45th, 572), Isaiah Thomas (56th, 551), Caden Lester (66th, 529) and Will McAfee-Witherspoon (74th, 505).
“We started out great, but we missed some spares and it went downhill from there,” DeSales coach Miranda Singer said. “The guys just wanted to be in the top eight. Once that 848 hit, we just knew we were going to fall short, unfortunately.”
Olentangy Liberty’s Carter Street, who was district champion, opened state with games of 212 and 210 before rolling a 175 in his final game to tie for 32nd (597).
“(The atmosphere) was crazy,” Street said. “It’s something I’m used to from bowling lots of tournaments, but it was tricky today. I couldn’t find anything good and it was a struggle.”
New Albany’s Grant Kresina, the program’s first state qualifier, finished 54th (554).
“The nerves got to me in the first game (a 161). That’s kind of where I fell short,” said Kresina, who rolled a 201 and a 192 in his final two rounds. “I set the nerves aside. I told myself I was out of it and so I just kept bowling, really, and I made some adjustments and figured out what was wrong with my form. A lot of it had to do with my release and my backswing. I tend to bring my arm behind my back and not get the line I want.”
Briggs’ James Pappas tied for third at state last season but found the going tougher this year, placing 57th (548).
He rolled a 210 in his second game, but according to Bruins coach Art Susi, it could easily have been a 250 had a couple pins fell differently.
“I don’t think I threw three (strikes) in a row all day,” Pappas said. “This was my senior year, so (getting to state) was a good send-off, I guess.”