Delaware Hayes Roundup: Pacers girls bowlers earn return trip to state

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group

The Delaware Hayes girls bowling team came a long way over the last few months, especially considering at one point the Pacers weren’t sure if they would have a season.

The early challenges and uncertainty, caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, are in the past now as Delaware finished third (3,414) in the Division I district tournament Feb. 22 at HP Lanes to advance to state March 5 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. Also moving on were champion Gahanna (3,938), Jonathan Alder (3,691) and Olentangy (3,411).

The Pacers’ Hannah Halstead turned in the best performance of all 104 bowlers at district, rolling a 675 three-game series to earn medalist honors. 

“I’m ecstatic,” coach Darin Halstead said. “They really performed as a team. They did a great job. Everyone was hitting. They were consistent; we continued to keep working on things (during the tournament).” 

Hannah Halstead rolled games of 246, 195 and 234.

“I’m very, very happy with her,” said coach Halstead, who also is her father. “Any kid who walks into district and throws a 200 average is having a great day. She almost pulled off a (700 series).”

Delaware had three others finish in the top 60 in Makayla Pounds (15th, 536), Madyson Wikoff (56th, 426) and Electra Holt (58th, 424). 

Hannah Halstead believes the Pacers’ district performance proves they can compete with anyone in the state. Last year at state, Delaware finished 15th of 16 teams and Halstead tied for 40th with a 523.

“I think this gives the team lots of momentum considering they now know we can do this. We sometimes doubt ourselves while bowling and I think that (district) is going to fix that,” she said. “I think my performance will motivate the rest of the team to believe in themselves and not give up, and I think our team accomplishments will motivate our team to finish this season strong.”

For the boys team at district, sophomore C.J. Deel finished 36th of 106 bowlers with a 560. 

On Feb. 20 at HP Lanes, Deel tied for 30th (589) at sectional to advance to district by being one of the top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team.

“C.J.’s young,” coach Halstead said. “This is definitely great experience for him.” 

Delaware Hayes' Meredith Milligan pins Mentor's Alana Shriver in their 121-pound match during the state tournament Feb. 20 at Hilliard Davidson. Milligan ended up placing fourth.

Four girls place

at state wrestling 

The girls wrestling team had four competitors place in the state tournament Feb. 20 and 21 at Hilliard Davidson – two more than last year – after having 12 competitors qualify.

Kelcey Dew (126 pounds) placed third for the second year in a row. Returnee Meredith Milligan (121, fourth) and newcomers Carmen Pape (170, fifth) and Molly Wells (111, sixth) also placed. 

The Pacers finished fourth (62) behind champion Marysville (131.5) as 85 teams scored.

Josh Lamb, who co-coaches the boys and girls teams with Kevin Rieman, said they were encouraged by the girls’ growth and measurable success this season. 

With 20 new athletes and only Dew and Milligan returning, the coaches anticipated this season would mostly be about acclimating the girls to the sport and “building interest,” Lamb said, but it ended up being more than that. 

“This group of girls really picked up fast and set up a great foundation of expectations for years to come,” Lamb said. “I don’t know that any of us anticipated finishing fourth in the state and closing the gap as quickly as they did. I couldn’t be more excited to see where they take it with an actual offseason.” 

Rieman said the girls team features a promising core group. The Pacers expect to return 18 competitors, including Dew, Milligan and Wells.

“The girls are already looking forward to getting back on the mats to continue the growth of our program and build off of early successes,” Rieman said. “We are very proud and excited to keep building girls wrestling in Delaware.”

Delaware's Mackenzie Carter qualified for the Division I state meet in the 50 free and 200 free relay. She competed Feb. 26 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Swimmers qualify

for state meet

Two swimmers, a relay and a diver represented Delaware in the Division I state meet Feb. 26 (girls) and Feb. 27 (boys) at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

For the boys, swimmer Connor Green advanced from the district meet Feb. 21 at Bowling Green and diver Mark Sulek, a former state qualifier, moved on from district competition Feb. 15 at Jefferson Country Club.

Green qualified in the 200-yard freestyle and 500 free after finishing fifth in the 500 free (4 minutes, 43.21 seconds) and sixth in the 200 free (1:42.84) at district. He was one of 16 at-large state qualifiers in each event based on district times statewide.

Sulek finished fifth (450.5) in diving as the top seven advanced to state.

On the girls side, former state-qualifier Mackenzie Carter qualified in the 50 free, in which she finished fifth (23.9) at district Feb. 21. Carter also was a member of the state-qualifying 200 free relay, which finished sixth (1:38.81) at district and also included Kailyn Smith, Natalie Fiant and Rena Ouyang.

Both Carter and the 200 free relay were at-large qualifiers to state.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve