Delaware Hayes Roundup: Pacers bowlers working to overcome late start

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group

With OCC competition suspended until mid-December because of concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Delaware Hayes boys and girls bowling teams were among the central Ohio squads stuck in limbo. 

All the Pacers could do was practice while they waited for news regarding their season. According to coach Darin Halstead, the delay hindered the Pacers’ development early on. 

“Not having match play, you don’t get into your peak season type of performance, because you’re not thinking about your adjustments per where you’re at,” he said. 

But the Pacers held out hope while bowling practice round after practice round. 

“All the kids were locked in; it was practice after practice after practice,” Halstead said. “I told them, ‘You guys need a match just because you’re bored with practice.’ ” 

The preseason discipline eventually paid off for Delaware, as the boys and girls teams both were 5-1 overall, 3-1 in the OCC-Capital Division and 2-0 in the COHSBC-A after sweeping Big Walnut on Jan. 18. The boys defeated the Golden Eagles 2,145-1,893 and the girls won 1,973-1,879.

“The varsity squads have played pretty well to start the season,” Halstead said.

Hannah Halstead, who was leading the girls team with a 189.6 average, said the Pacers’ consistency despite the preseason uncertainty has been key to both teams’ early success. 

“Although the practices we’ve had have decreased in quantity, the quality remains the same, if not more, than a normal season,” she said. “We keep up with our drills with the limited practices we have and due to the bowling centers still being open with COVID protocols in place, many of us go in on our own time and practice.”

Makayla Pounds also has performed well, averaging 181.5 with a team-high 439 two-game series. 

On the boys side, Brandon Thomas has led the way with a 202.4 average and a 439 two-game series. 

“Brandon has come on,” coach Halstead said. “I’m thinking he’s posed to do fairly well this year.” 

C.J. Deel and Carson Holt were averaging 190.1 and 179.8, respectively. Deel also had a 438 two-game series. 

Both teams had busy schedules recently, as they faced Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 20, Teays Valley on Jan. 21 and New Albany on Jan. 22. They also will take on Hilliard Darby on Jan. 25 at Sawmill Lanes, Olentangy on Jan. 27 at Delaware Lanes and Olentangy Orange on Jan. 28 at Penn Lanes. 

Hannah Halstead said if the Pacers can continue to weather the conditions created by the pandemic, they should continue to meet their expectations. 

“Things have gone pretty well for our team so far,” she said. “Although we aren’t used to certain actions we have to take (regarding the coronavirus), I think we have adapted to them well.” 

Delaware Hayes' Maddi Francisco competes on the uneven bars during a meet Jan. 6 at Worthington Kilbourne. The sophomore finished sixth in the all-around with a score of 30.85.

Gymnastics team

sees early improvement 

The gymnastics team had competed in only two meets before a scheduled home meet Jan. 22 against Upper Arlington, Westland and Franklin Heights. 

But coach Heather Besselman said the Pacers already have made progress. 

On Dec. 18, Delaware placed second (118.55) behind Olentangy (126.1) and ahead of Big Walnut (93.85), Buckeye Valley (90.85) and Watkins Memorial (33.2). 

On Jan. 6, the Pacers placed third (119.6) behind host Worthington Kilbourne (131.95) and Lancaster (125.85) and ahead of Buckeye Valley (96.1).

“They’re improving every week,” Besselman said. “Between the (first) and (second) meets, they brought their team score up ... which in the gymnastics world is huge. So if we can keep that going, that would be awesome.” 

Maddi Francisco has led the way so far. The sophomore placed third on floor exercise (8.45) in the opening meet and then at Kilbourne, she tied for third on vault (8.15), placed fourth on floor (8.6) and finished sixth in the all-around (30.85). 

“She’s been our top performer both meets,” Besselman said of Francisco, who’s competing solely on varsity after spending time on both varsity and in club gymnastics last year. “She’s really learning to just have fun with it, and I think over the next few meets we’ll really start to see a fun spark come out of her.” 

Freshman Kaitlyn Zimmers placed sixth on vault (7.9) in the opener. At Kilbourne, she was fifth on vault (8.05) and fifth on floor (8.5). 

“Kaitlyn has a great work ethic,” Besselman said. “She is coming in as a freshman and is not intimidated at all by the upperclassmen. She motivates them; she pushes them.

“I’m really looking forward to the next three years with her in high school. She’s holding her own right now, but I really think she could really blossom over the next few years.” 

Allyson DesJardins and Jeorgia Turturice also performed well in Delaware’s first two meets. 

DesJardins placed second on vault (8.05) in the opener. At Kilbourne, she tied for fourth on vault (8.1) and placed sixth on floor (8.4). 

Turturice placed third on vault (8.0) in the opener. At Kilbourne, she was seventh on balance beam (7.7) and tied for seventh on vault (7.9). 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve