Big Walnut Roundup: Aidan Furukawa striking it big with Golden Eagles boys bowling team
When the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of bowling alleys last spring, Aidan Furukawa wasn’t about to let it stop him from perfecting his game.
Furukawa, now a freshman on the Big Walnut boys team, decided a mattress would suffice as home protection for the required repetitive drills – until he put a hole in a wall.
“I had flipped the mattress up against the wall to practice my backswing,” he said. “That kind of put a stop to that.”
His passion for the sport, which his grandfather and father introduced him to at age 3, has grown over the years, beginning as “something fun to do” to his current standing as one of the top competitors in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference.
Furukawa was averaging 216.2 pins per game with a COHSBC-best two-game series of 516 heading into Big Walnut’s match Jan. 13 against Westerville South. He recorded that series with games of 279 and 237 during a 2,234-1,919 win over Olentangy Berlin on Jan. 11, as the Golden Eagles improved to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the COHBC-A Division.
Heading into action Jan. 12, Furukawa’s average was fourth in the COHSBC behind Marysville’s Ethan Moeller (236.4), Teays Valley’s Russell Orris (219.3) and Gahanna’s Edmund Pax (219.3). The averages for Furukawa and Orris were compiled over 15 games, while Pax had bowled 10 games and Moeller had bowled five.
“Aidan is very humble, and he’s a quiet guy,” coach Scott Morrison said. “You’d never know how good he is, and he doesn’t care if he doesn’t finish first as long as we win.”
The match format of high school competition has been an adjustment for Furukawa, who began bowling in leagues in 2013 at Sequoia Pro Bowl in Columbus and started entering competitive tournaments two years ago.
“I also think he’s learned high school bowling isn’t as easy as he thought it was going to be,” Morrison said. “He was used to winning or finishing at the top of every tournament. Sometimes we bowl on lanes that aren’t freshly dressed and burned out from the league the night before. You have to figure it out.”
Furukawa began his prep career in the best way possible, winning the Ohio High School State Invitational Kick-Off Tournament on Nov. 21 with a 714 three-game series and a 280 high game.
Not only does Furukawa serve as Big Walnut’s anchor in competition, he also has become a second coach for a group that includes freshman Nick Green (161.4), sophomore Connor Tracy (180.4), juniors Tyler Lewis (172.5), Logan Nash (158.4) and Adam Wilhelm (163.8) and senior Brayden Buchs (181.4).
“He’s really quick to work with the guys if he sees something,” Morrison said. “He asked me right out of the gate if that was OK. How I try to coach my team is to have them look out for each other.”
For example, Furukawa thought Green might improve his score by trying a different ball.
“He liked it and started coming out of the ball a little bit cleaner,” Furukawa said. “He started out like I did. He wanted to put speed and power on the ball, and he didn’t have to.”
In evaluating his own game, Furukawa, who bowled a career-best 297 at a summer tournament, said he needs to “stay more relaxed. If I’m a little more tense, I might not have the same speed on the ball and I lose carry into the pins.”
Morrison knows Furukawa’s best moments are yet to come.
lead girls bowling team
Juniors Cassandra Sanders and Ashleigh Westervelt have been leading the girls bowling team, which was 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the COHBC-A after losing to Berlin 1,889-1,741 on Jan. 11.
Sanders was averaging 164.2, followed by Westervelt at 158.9.
The Golden Eagles finished fifth (2,631) behind first-place Gahanna (3,011) at the Holiday Baker Marathon on Jan. 11.
“This is always one of the premier tournaments featuring several teams not only from central Ohio but also the Dayton and Cincinnati areas that qualify for states every year,” Morrison said.