Bowling: Olentangy Braves girls squad eyes return to state
The Olentangy girls bowling team ended last season in uncharted territory, competing in its first Division I state tournament in front of a standing room-only crowd at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
The Braves and their boys counterparts began this season Nov. 21 in the Ohio High School State Invitational Kickoff Tournament at Columbus Square Bowling Palace in front of no fans, an experience 10th-year coach Jim Brehm called “surreal.”
“I had to cheer loudly to make up for nobody being there,” Brehm said. “We have a lot of talent this year on both teams. We’re excited for once the season gets going. Last year, we were just kind of tourists at state. This year, it’s unfinished business.”
The vast majority of the girls lineup that finished 12th of 16 teams in the qualifying round at state returns, as does the entire roster on a boys team that is eager to improve on last year’s 2-14 season.
Juniors Katie Claar, Savannah Claar, Hannah Lamar and Alex Oberyszyn and sophomore Phoebe Anderson return from the state tournament lineup. Anderson rolled a 562 series to tie for 21st place and led the team in average at 181.5 pins per game, ahead of Savannah Claar (174.9).
The girls team’s only loss to graduation, Kristen Mullins, remains with the program as junior varsity coach.
“We changed up the pattern at Delaware Lanes (the Braves’ home alley) to be better prepared for some of these tough tournaments later in the season,” Brehm said. “Usually you’re bowling on a house pattern and you’ll roll outside and the ball will come back in. Now we’ll have to adjust more and shoot more inside for the ball to roll out. The scores aren’t as high, but they’ll adjust and the scores will be better later in the year. I think they’ll be more confident (for the postseason) too.”
Other contributors for the girls should include Lillian Heinze — the team’s only senior — and sophomore Sonika Manakikar.
Seniors Derek Rather and Nick Wilson, juniors Nathan Holycross and Kai Whitacre and sophomore Alex Hilger are back for the boys team. Senior Patrick Dempsey rounds out the lineup.
Holycross averaged 170.0 last year, ahead of Wilson (158.7) and Rather (151.9).
“We’ll be more competitive this year,” Brehm said. “Every chance we get, the girls and boys compete against each other and the boys definitely try even harder then.”
For the third consecutive season, the Orange boys and girls teams both qualified for the Division I district tournament. Now, the Pioneers would like to take the next step.
The boys team is coming off a season in which it tied for the COHSBC-A title and was runner-up in the OCC-Buckeye. The Pioneers return three starters from that squad in senior Marcus Turner (192.2 average), junior Nick Kicas (180.8) and junior Jake Burre (171.7).
“We have a really good 1-2 punch with Marcus and Jake,” seventh-year coach Rodney Palmer said. “Nick continues to get better. We’re working on his confidence, and he will get there.”
Junior Jaydon Goldenberg and freshman Robert Drexel round out the lineup. Seniors Garrett Cook and Raul Ravishankar, sophomores Seth Jacobs and Keet Sandhu and freshman Oleg Evans also are on the roster.
“Jaydon finished with us last year and he has bowled well,” Palmer said. “We got some of his equipment refitted and that has helped him a lot.
“Robert is a freshman and we could tell from the first day that he has a lot of potential and is pretty consistent. You only have to tell him something once and he’s right on it.”
The girls team returns three starters in juniors Lauren Berend (140.7), Lauryn Deck (136.5) and Eve Wicks (153.2).
“Most of Lauryn Deck’s scores come from strikes, so we’re working on her spare game,” fourth-year coach D.C. Boysaw said. “Once she gets that down, she could average 190-plus.
“Lauren Berend hits spares but the pins that she leaves is what she has been struggling with. Eve Wicks is in-between. She can make spares and can get to the pocket and is getting better with single pins.”
Senior Sidney Brisson returns, and senior Abigail Fulton rounds out the roster.
Bears to be led by
Berlin is looking for more team success in its third season after both the boys and girls squads had individual participants in the Division I district tournament in junior Jacoby Oliverio and senior Bella Bland.
Oliverio tied for 40th in the boys district with a 520, and Bland was 48th in the girls district with a 438.
Oliverio (167.5 average) and Bland (165.0) return as third-year varsity bowlers along with senior Mason D’Amore (166.6) for the boys and junior Michele Starner (144.1) for the girls.
“We’ll be leaning on our third-year (varsity) bowlers for a little more leadership,” said coach Duane Joseph, who is in his third season. “They can kind of help bring up the freshmen and work with them a little bit, especially with the crazy year and everything going on (with the pandemic).”
Sophomore Aaron Shoaf (179.0) also returns for the boys, who finished 6-14 overall last season and were 25th (3,260) at sectional as the top 16 teams advanced to district.
Also competing for varsity spots are senior Malachi McKinney and juniors Ryan Pocius and Andrew Sherman, while senior Adam Ward, sophomores Andrew Kearns and John Spitale and freshman Logan Parillo round out the roster.
“Our boys team has come together as a group, and they have a good time and support each other,” Joseph said. “They’re a good group of boys who feed off of each other.”
Bland and Starner will be joined on the girls team by sophomores Annalee Montooth and Megan Roubineck and freshman Addison Kearns. Sophomore Stephanie Burkhart also is in the mix for varsity action.
“The girls have been working hard, and they’ve definitely improved,” said Joseph, whose team finished 7-12 overall last season and was 22nd (2,669) at sectional. “We will do everything we can to keep our team healthy and look forward to getting back to competing.”
Liberty again will be led by Carter Street, a junior who advanced to the Division I state tournament last season.
Street is one of six returning bowlers for the boys team, which finished 11-7 overall. The Patriots tied for sixth (5-6) in the COHSBC-A behind co-champions Westerville Central and Orange (10-1) and tied for fourth (3-4) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Central (7-0).
Street — who averaged 217.4 to lead the COHSBC — placed ninth (608) at sectional and captured the district title (704) before finishing 32nd (597) at state.
Senior Nick Bateson is back after finishing 48th (538) at sectional and 30th (542) at district.
Other returnees include seniors Matthew Lawrence and Brendan Sheehan, junior Ethan Shek and sophomore Austin Warnecke. Sheehan averaged 173.5 in COHSBC matches, followed by Shek (171.4), Bateson (158.2), Warnecke (153.4) and Lawrence (146.7).
Also in the program are juniors Ryan Dorr, David Hart, Noah Koknat and Stone Pigott, sophomores Joshua Beigel, Thomas Griffin and Cameron Shek and freshmen Greyson Harpman and Nikhil Kasam.
The boys missed advancing to district as a team by one spot, finishing 17th (3,481) behind Groveport (16th, 3,498).
The girls team had only three competitors last season and the lone returnee is senior Emily Williams, who averaged 114.7 in COHSBC matches.
New to the program are juniors Estella Krysty, Kathryn Lucius, Audrey Morris, Caroline Smith and Kalyn Ullman, sophomore Sydney Lucas and freshmen Carley Budreau and Samantha Yates.
At last year’s sectional, 2020 graduate Breanna Withrow bowled a 449 to place 44th and advance to district, where she was 53rd (418).
•Coach: Duane Joseph, third season
•Top athletes: Boys — Mason D’Amore, Jacoby Oliverio and Aaron Shoaf; Girls — Bella Bland and Michelle Starner
•Key losses: Boys — Cody Benton, Hunter Kraft, Brody Moore and Logan Wright; Girls — Shelby Buck and Eve Pennington
•Last season: Boys — 6-14 overall; Girls — 7-12 overall
•2019-20 finishes: Boys — Tied for sixth in COHSBC-A, seventh in OCC-Cardinal, 25th at sectional; Girls — Tied for eighth in COHSBC-A, tied for fourth in OCC-Cardinal, 22nd at sectional
•Coach: Steve Nole, second season
•Top athletes: Boys — Nick Bateson, Brendan Sheehan, Ethan Shek and Carter Street; Girls — Emily Williams
•Key losses: Boys — Patrick McDowell; Girls — Stefanie Greeno and Breanna Withrow
•Last season: Boys — 11-7 overall; Girls — 2-15 overall
•2019-20 finishes: Boys — Tied for sixth in COHSBC-A, tied for fourth in OCC-Buckeye, 17th at sectional; Girls — 11th in COHSBC-A, seventh in OCC-Buckeye, did not score at sectional
•Coach: Jim Brehm, 10th season
•Top athletes: Boys — Nathan Holycross, Evan McDonald, Derek Rather, Kai Whitacre and Nick Wilson; Girls — Phoebe Anderson, Katie Claar, Savannah Claar, Hannah Lamar and Alex Oberyszyn
•Key losses: Boys — None; Girls — Kristen Mullins
•Last season: Boys — 2-14 overall; Girls — 13-2 overall
•2019-20 finishes: Boys — 11th in COHSBC-A, seventh in OCC-Buckeye, 32nd at sectional; Girls — Second in COHSBC-A, second in OCC-Buckeye, third at sectional, third at district, 12th at state
•Coaches: Boys — Rodney Palmer, seventh season; Girls — D.C. Boysaw, fourth season
•Top athletes: Boys — Jake Burre, Jaydon Goldenberg, Nick Kicas and Marcus Turner; Girls — Lauren Berend, Lauryn Deck and Eve Wicks
•Key losses: Boys — Tanner Davidson and Jake Norz; Girls — Raymie Shields
•Last season: Boys — 12-4 overall; Girls — 9-6 overall
•2019-20 finishes: Boys — Tied for first in COHSBC-A, second in OCC-Buckeye, fifth at sectional, 13th at district; Girls — Fourth in COHSBC-A, third in OCC-Buckeye, 15th at sectional, 15th at district