Bowling: Hilliard Bradley Jaguars boys team ends league title drought

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
The Bradley boys bowling team won the OCC-Cardinal title, its first league championship in 10 years. The team includes (front row, from left) Joe Dwyer, Nick Caruso, Carson Dever and (back row, from left) Zander Dietz, Nick Curren and Jacob Wolford. The girls team also won the OCC-Cardinal for its third consecutive championship.

It had been 10 years since the Hilliard Bradley boys bowling team won a league title, but that drought has ended thanks to balance and teamwork.

The Jaguars finished 7-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division, ahead of Delaware and Worthington Kilbourne, which tied for second at 5-2. It was the Jaguars’ first league championship since back-to-back OCC-Capital titles in 2010 and 2011.

“We’re playing more as a team this year and our Baker scores have been phenomenal,” said Zander Dietz, who had a team-leading 199.2 average during the regular season. “We don’t have one guy carrying the team. It’s been a team effort.”

The Jaguars swept the OCC-Cardinal championships, as the girls team won its third consecutive league title by tying Newark for first at 6-1. Delaware and Olentangy Berlin tied for third at 5-2.

“The girls have a turkey this year and next year they’ll go for a hambone,” said coach John Thompson, referring to the bowling terms for three and four consecutive strikes, respectively. “The boys came tighter as a team, and they weren’t bowling as individuals for themselves. We had seven who could bowl, and if one boy wasn’t holding up his end of the bargain, another would step up.”

Nick Caruso was second for the boys with a 193.3 average, followed by Jacob Wolford (188.8), Carson Dever (183.3), Joe Dwyer (180.8), Brandon Dever (177.1) and Nick Curran (172.3).

Brandon Dever, a senior, led the squad with a 205.8 average last season.

“I’m really excited about winning the league, even though it wasn’t the best season for me personally,” said Dever, whose team finished 13-1 overall and 10-1 in the COHSBC-B. “It’s good to have a great season as a unit.

“I definitely made it my goal to keep everyone in the right mindset. We thought we would win when we went into matches and that definitely helped.”

Curran said some fine-tuning helped the team get to where it needed to be.

“It kind of means a lot (to win the title),” he said. “We’ve been having a lot of trouble trying to figure out what to do and how to bowl. Once we started picking up spares, we finally got to where we needed to be and saw that it could be a good year.”

The girls team needed to defeat Newark in the final match of the regular season to keep its title streak alive. Olivia Johnson was medalist with a 421 and Callie Hribar added a 366 in a 2,105-1,904 win over the Wildcats on Feb. 9 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.

“No matter how many people we’ve lost over the years and the obstacles we’ve had to overcome, we continue to win,” said Johnson, whose team finished 11-2 overall and 9-2 in the COHSBC-B. “We’ve made spares and did what we needed to do."

Johnson led the girls team during the regular season with a 195.5 average, followed by Hribar (181.7), Makayla Davis (167.4), Katie Yabroff (154.8), Madison Kennedy (151.6) and Maddy McKay (144.4). 

Hribar was pleased that both teams were able to win league championships.

“It’s really important to us,” Hribar said. “We all see ourselves as one big team. We have a good bonding experience between the teams and we have helped each other during these tough times. It’s really incredible to experience this together.”

The Jaguars girls competed in a Division I sectional Feb. 17 at HP Lanes, and the boys competed Feb. 19. From both, the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes. 

The girls finished third (3,405) behind Jonathan Alder (3,580) and Gahanna (3,505) at sectional, with Hribar (588) and Johnson (575) leading the way. Hribar was fifth and Johnson was sixth as Jonathan Alder’s Danielle Phipps (598) won the individual title.

At district, the top four girls teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state March 5 at Wayne Webb’s. The top three boys teams and top three individuals not qualifying teams advanced to state March 6 at the same venue.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen