Big Walnut Roundup: Golden Eagles girls bowlers fall just short of state berth

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek

The Big Walnut girls bowling team displayed proficiency in Baker games throughout the season.

That is one reason why coach Scott Morrison liked the Golden Eagles’ chances of earning their second state berth in three seasons as the Feb. 22 Division I district tournament at HP Lanes moved into the six-round Baker competition, where five competitors from the same team combine to bowl one game.

“After two games, we were only nine pins off the cut, and we’d been bowling good Bakers, so we were right where I wanted us,” Morrison said. “But we just came out and struggled. They missed some easy spares. They pulled together on their last three Bakers, but they’d already given up too much of a cushion to get back.”

Big Walnut fell 65 pins shy of being among the four teams that advanced to state March 5 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.

The Golden Eagles finished fifth (3,346) behind Gahanna (3,938), Jonathan Alder (3,691), Delaware (3,414) and Olentangy (3,411).

Big Walnut’s last state appearance was during the 2018-19 season, when it finished 15th and failed to advance to the eight-team championship round.

At district, sophomore Kelsi Meger led the way with a 522 three-game series, followed by juniors Abi Larkin and Cassandra Sanders at 507, junior Grace Gillespie (441) and junior Ashleigh Westervelt (426).

Sanders’ 204 in her third game was the team’s best score.

Gillespie’s 489 three-game series was tops at sectional Feb. 18 at HP Lanes, as Big Walnut tied for seventh (3,066) behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,580) to advance to district.

“I can’t wait for next year,” Morrison said. “For the girls to do what they did this year as second-year bowlers, it’s amazing.”

Just four pins and one spot in the standings separated the boys team from competing in the district field, as it finished 17th (3,560) behind champion Marion Harding (4,316) at sectional Feb. 20.

However, freshman Aidan Furukawa and junior Adam Wilhelm were among the top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team, advancing them to district.

Furukawa, who finished 40th at district with a 558 three-game series, expressed his disappointment in a Facebook post, saying he “didn’t have (his) A game going.”

Furukawa finished fifth in the COHSBC with a 210.8 average, behind leader Carter Street of Olentangy Liberty (230.3).

Wilhelm was 77th (445) at district.

“The boys didn’t come together like we thought they would,” Morrison said. “They were up and down a lot, but they did learn a lot.”

Freshman Nick Green, sophomore Connor Tracy and junior Tyler Lewis also are expected to be among the top returnees.

Big Walnut's Cali Lang battles Elyria's Riley Banyas in a 101-pound semifinal match during the state tournament Feb. 20 at Hilliard Davidson. Lang, who lost the match, went 2-2 at state and placed fourth.

Lang places fourth 

at state tournament

Cali Lang reached the podium for the second consecutive season in the girls state wrestling tournament held Feb. 20 and 21 at Hilliard Davidson, finishing fourth at 101 pounds.

The senior was third at last season’s inaugural event.

Lang faced Bellefontaine’s Makayla Young in the third-place match, described by Big Walnut assistant coach Jack Reall on the school’s athletics website as a “six-minute scramble fest,” with Young winning 18-6.

In a semifinal, Lang lost to Elyria’s Riley Banyas 14-1.

Lang went 2-2 at state with victories over West Union’s Scotlyn Adams in a quarterfinal and Jonathan Alder’s Sadie Napier (pin at 1:23) in her opening match.

She finished her varsity career at 22-8 against girls.

Lang was 21-11 for the season before competing at 106 in a Division I boys sectional Feb. 27 at Newark. The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.

Wion swims 

at district meet

John Wion of the boys swimming team finished 15th (4:59.63) of 24 competitors in the 500-yard freestyle in the Division I district meet Feb. 21 at Bowling Green.

Wion, a freshman, was the only Big Walnut swimmer to qualify for district after finishing in 5:07.88 in a sectional Feb. 13 at Thomas Worthington.

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BOWLING

Record: Boys – 8-8 overall; Girls – 13-3 overall

League finishes: Boys – Eighth (5-7) in COHSBC-A behind champion Olentangy Orange (11-0), sixth (2-5) in OCC-Buckeye behind champion Orange (7-0); Girls – Third (8-2) in COHSBC-A behind champion Olentangy (10-1), first (6-0) in OCC-Buckeye

Seniors lost: Boys – Braden Buchs; Girls – None

Key returnees: Boys – Aidan Furukawa, Nick Green, Tyler Lewis, Connor Tracy and Adam Wilhelm; Girls – Grace Gillespie, Abi Larkin, Kesi Meger, Cassandra Sanders and Ashleigh Westervelt

Postseason: Boys – 17th (3,560) at sectional behind champion Marion Harding (4,316); Girls – Tied for seventh (3,066) at sectional behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,580), fifth at district (3,346) behind champion Gahanna (3,938)