New Albany Roundup: Eagles bowlers' strong season ends at district tournament
The New Albany boys bowling team left the Division I district tournament Feb. 22 at HP Lanes proud of its season but unsatisfied with its end.
Junior Elliot Greer bowled a 613 three-game series to finish on the cusp of an individual state berth, but the Eagles finished 13th (3,526) behind champion Marion Harding (4,316) as 44 teams scored. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state March 6 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
Greer finished 39 pins behind the final individual qualifier, Nathan Clark of Jonathan Alder.
“We agree we didn’t do as well as we should. I hoped I had enough to make state,” said Greer, who had games of 182, 244 and 187. “Throughout the whole week when we practiced on this oil pattern, it’s been up and down. (Feb. 22) was one of our better days. I am happy with the 244 but overall, I know I could have done better.
“Everyone noticed the pattern was inconsistent from lane to lane. When we bowled we were switching lanes and they were all different day by day, just a little different. Some days it was easier, some days it was harder. There were still some weird spots that hurt us a little bit.”
Also scoring at district were junior Noble Conn (tied for 67th, 483), sophomores Lucas Burnard (82nd, 362) and Liam Harper (84th, 332) and seniors Damon Jolly (89th, 270) and Cole Dybik (96th, 174).
“We excelled in some parts of the game and struggled in other parts. Our spare game was lacking,” assistant coach Jason Peck said. “We always kept our spirit up. Anytime we had a bad shot, we kept our spirits up for the next frame. We rooted on one another to bowl well. That might have been our biggest strength all year.”
That ended a season in which New Albany went 10-1 overall and in the COHSBC-B Division, finishing second behind Olentangy Orange (11-0). Their only loss was to the Pioneers, 2,276-2,224 on Jan. 15 at Columbus Square Bowling Palace.
Greer averaged 199.1 pins per game, ahead of Burnard (188.3), Conn (184.8), Harper (177.2) and Jolly (166.3).
“It was definitely a great season, the best we’ve ever had,” Peck said. “All we can do is move on and try to be better.”
The girls team’s only district qualifier, junior Jada Biller, did not compete because of an injury. She tied for 43rd (446) at sectional Feb. 17 at HP Lanes and earned one of 16 individual berths to district.
The entire girls lineup is eligible to return, including juniors Grace Layman and Abby Phelps and sophomores Taryn Jolly, Ally Lothes and Sydney Wamsley.
Biller led the team in average at 168.5, ahead of Jolly (147.4), Phelps (142), Layman (113.2) and Wamsley (110.8).
Girls basketball team
falls to Wolves
The girls basketball team went 14-5 to finish with its most wins since the 2015-16 team went 14-11, but fell short of a postseason win.
Junior forward/guard Lauren Wood had 12 points and junior forward Katie Kaucheck added nine Feb. 19 as the ninth-seeded Eagles lost to visiting and 15th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 47-40 in the second round of the Division I district tournament. The Eagles, who went 8-2 in the OCC-Ohio to finish second behind Gahanna (10-0), improved by four wins from last year, when they went 10-13 in coach Phil Sikorski’s first season.
“We had a great season and we have come a long way in (the past) two years,” Sikorski said. “We have talented youth coming to give Wood and Kaucheck help next year. Freshman (forward Libby) Henry got valuable minutes this year so we are in a good place right now. I’m proud of the growth the nine seniors made and (how they) changed the culture of the program.”
Wood averaged a team-leading 11.5 points as well as 3.6 rebounds, tied for third on the team with senior point guard Brooklyn Gammon behind Kaucheck (3.9) and senior guard Haley Dennis (3.7). Kaucheck averaged 9.8 points and a team-best 3.0 steals.
Gammon, a Tiffin recruit, added 7.6 points and 2.7 assists per game. Senior guard Olivia Gittins averaged 6.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals.
Dennis, who missed the last several weeks of the season after knee surgery, will play basketball and volleyball at Otterbein. Senior point guard Tymber Wynn is a Houghton recruit.
Hockey team falls
in second round
A challenging season for the hockey team ended Feb. 20 with a 5-1 loss to top-seeded St. Charles in the second round of the district tournament at Chiller North.
Senior forward Zach Blaney scored for the 12th-seeded Eagles, who finished 4-15-0-3 overall and had 14 total players — 12 skaters and two goalies — this season. New Albany began the postseason Feb. 19 with an 8-1 win over 23rd-seeded Cincinnati Sycamore in a first-round game at Chiller North.
After averaging just 1.6 goals in its first nine games, New Albany hit its stride offensively in the second half of the season and averaged 3.9 goals in the final 13 contests. The Eagles went 3-1 in a four-game stretch before losing to St. Charles.
Junior forward Colin Appell led the Eagles with 14 goals, one ahead of his older brother, senior forward Victor Appell. Sophomore forward Colin Carr had 11 goals and classmate Josh Haywood added six.
Among the team’s other losses to graduation are defenseman Ian Hoff and both goalies in Brandon Beesley and Max Dupler.
Girls golf coach
takes over boys team
Having enjoyed a wildly successful four-year run as girls golf coach, Rich Ritter is embracing the opportunity to lead the boys team to new heights.
Ritter, who has coached the girls team to Division I state championships each of the past three seasons, was named boys coach Feb. 19.
“I had some discussions with Richie Wildenhaus, our athletics director, and it seemed like it would be a good fit to take on leadership of both programs at this time,” Ritter said. “There is a fair number of boys coming up through the middle school ranks. There are opportunities for the boys side to do some good things in the years ahead. … It’s a fun opportunity. There will be good energy around the programs.”
Ritter succeeds Ryan Hosack, who resigned after two seasons to take a job in the Denver area.
Ritter’s sons, Alexander, Ethan and Huston, will be freshmen at New Albany this fall, and his daughter, Anna, is a junior who was state medalist as a sophomore.
Ritter said he and Hosack had plans for combined boys and girls offseason activities last year before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic hit.
The girls team is projected to return four of its top five from last season in juniors Kary Hollenbaugh and Ritter, sophomore Anna Coccia and freshman Emerson Purcell. Juniors Gibson Dain and Jackson Fry and sophomore Andrew Ferinni are eligible to return for the boys.
•Record: Boys — 10-1 overall; Girls — 6-4 overall
•League finishes: Boys — Second (10-1) in COHSBC-A behind Olentangy Orange (11-0), tied for second (5-1) in OCC-Buckeye behind Orange (7-0); Girls — Sixth (4-6) in COHSBC-A behind champion Olentangy (10-1), fourth (2-3) in OCC-Buckeye behind champion Big Walnut (6-0)
•Seniors lost: Boys — Jacob Cohen, Cole Dybik and Damon Jolly; Girls — None
•Key returnees: Boys — Lucas Burnard, Noble Conn, Elliot Greer, Liam Harper and Max Higgins; Girls — Jada Biller, Taryn Jolly, Grace Layman, Abby Phelps and Sydney Wamsley
•Postseason: Boys — Fifth (3,945) at sectional behind champion Marion Harding (4,316), 13th (3,526) at district behind champion Harding (4,195); Girls — 20th (2,697) at sectional behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,580)
•Record: 14-5 overall
•OCC-Ohio standings: Gahanna (10-0), New Albany (8-2), Grove City and Pickerington North (5-5), Westerville Central (2-8), Westland (0-10)
•Seniors lost: Reagan Benseler, Haley Dennis, Brooklyn Gammon, Olivia Gittins, Alex Mormon, Riley McNabb, Katie Short, Karli Theis and Tymber Wynn
•Key returnees: Libby Henry, Katie Kaucheck, Gabby Weiner and Lauren Wood
•Postseason: Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 47-40 in first round of Division I district tournament
•Record: 4-15-0-3 overall
•CHC-Red standings: St. Charles (25, 12-2-1), Upper Arlington (24, 11-3-0-2), Olentangy Liberty (22, 10-3-1-1), Olentangy Orange (21, 10-4-0-1), Dublin Jerome (10, 4-10-1-1), New Albany (5, 1-9-2-1)
•Seniors lost: Victor Appell, Brandon Beesley, Zach Blaney, Max Dupler, Ian Hoff, Daniel Kahana, Zach Lewis and Max Murch
•Key returnees: Colin Appell, Colin Carr and Josh Haywood
•Postseason: Defeated Cincinnati Sycamore 8-1; lost to St. Charles 5-1 in second round of district tournament