Notebook: Practice makes perfect for Olentangy Orange Pioneers boys bowlers
Extra practice time has been beneficial for the Olentangy Orange boys bowling team.
The Pioneers were 9-0 overall and in the COHSBC-A Division before facing Delaware on Jan. 28, and they are 6-0 in the OCC-Buckeye. That perfection was aided in part by the extra practice time they had in December, when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic limited competition for them to one match – a 2,207-2,078 win over Teays Valley on Dec. 1.
“We have been practicing a lot for the last two months, and it’s been kind of a grind,” said junior Jake Burre, who led the team with a 206.9 average through nine matches. “We’re getting it done on the lanes.
“This year we have had more consistency. We were up and down last year. I don’t think we have shot under 2,000 yet (through nine matches). That’s a plus.”
The top team score for the Pioneers came Jan. 22 against Big Walnut, a 2,306-2,073 victory in a match that counted in the COHSBC-A and OCC-Buckeye standings.
“Having that extra month (of practice) really helped us,” said junior Jaydon Goldenberg, who had a 164.7 average. “It gave us a chance to work on things that we needed to work on. I needed to work on keeping my arm straighter and throwing it straighter down the lane.”
Other top competitors have included senior Marcus Turner (195.6), junior Nick Kicas (189.6) and freshman Bobby Drexel (157.8).
Last year, the Pioneers finished 12-4 overall and tied Westerville Central for the COHSBC-A title at 10-1. The Warhawks (7-0) won the OCC-Buckeye, just ahead of Orange (6-1).
“Marcus, Jake and I played varsity last year,” Kicas said. “This year we have two new young guys – Jaydon and Bobby – and they are stepping up and executing well.
“We have been cooperating well as a team. We have a great group of kids, and coach (Rodney Palmer) has been coaching us up.”
The Pioneers are scheduled to close COHSBC-A play Feb. 9 against Marysville at Dragon Lanes.
“We’re clicking as a team and I feel like we’re bonding really well,” Drexel said. “It just seems like it’s becoming automatic, and it’s like a routine. We just go out and have fun, and it just so happens we have been winning.”
Eve Wicks (179.2) led the girls team, which was 3-5 overall and in the COHSBC-A before facing Delaware and is 0-4 in the OCC-Buckeye. Lauryn Deck (142.6) and Lauren Berend (137.6) were next in average.
•The Orange girls wrestling team lost its showdown with defending state champion Casstown Miami East 54-30 on Jan. 28.
Ayla Castin (121 pounds), Noel Frye (160), Taryn Martin (170) and Josie Nickoloff (126) all won by pin for the host Pioneers, who were runners-up last season in the first girls state tournament. Alicia Coleman (137) won by forfeit.
“It was disappointing for the girls but this was such a wonderful wrestling environment whether it was for girls or boys,” coach Scott Tressler said. “It didn’t end up the way they would have wanted, but it was a great experience for the girls wrestling program.”
Martin, a senior, announced after the dual that she would be wrestling at Tiffin next season.
“They have a great, up-and-coming wrestling program and they have a great psychology program,” Martin said.
•According to coach Ryan Ebie, “embrace the moment” is the Liberty swimming and diving program’s motto this season.
“This year has truly been unlike any other, and these swimmers have attacked each day like it was their last – and it very well could have been,” said Ebie, who joined the program as an assistant last season under coach Peter Krosnosky and has assumed more of the head-coaching responsibilities while Krosnosky has shifted to a director of operations role. “The kids have done an amazing job responding. They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them and more. So much has been taken from them compared to years past and they’ve stayed mentally strong and have continued to make those connections with their teammates.”
According to Ebie, senior Christian Hosler, sophomore Noah Rumberg and freshmen Jack Franz, Mason Miller and Hudson Williams have been among the leaders for the boys team. Seniors Sarah Beavers and Brooke Kleinschmidt and juniors Morgan Hofmeister and Kirin Loughrey have led the girls squad.
Senior Olivia Lynch, who won last year’s Division I state girls diving title and has committed to Miami University, is out for the season after having hip surgery Dec. 23.
“I was bummed to not have my senior year, but looking at the big picture, I wanted to get (the surgery) done,” Lynch said. “I thought now would be the best time to do it. I’m doing rehab and everything is going great.”
•Olentangy wrestling coach Dennis Lyberger’s overriding message to his team, which is smaller and younger this season than in previous years, has gone well beyond results.
Lyberger does not want his younger wrestlers to be afraid to try new things as they become further acclimated to varsity. The Braves were 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before a Jan. 28 dual against Dublin Jerome.
“In the grand scheme of things, it’s most important to get kids matches,” said Lyberger, whose team had to forfeit six weight classes in a 36-24 league loss at Thomas Worthington on Jan. 22. “We’re really young and we don’t have any upper weights. We have to look at everybody getting better, feeling more confident and scoring points, not being so defensive. We want them to be more aggressive. That’s what we’re looking for now. Winning and losing aren’t the top priority. If you score points, good things will happen.”
Vaughn Fowler’s 10-1 record at 120 led the team before Jan. 28. Ben Hall was 12-3 at 145.
•The Olentangy swimming and diving team finished its scheduled regular season Jan. 22 at perennial Division I power Upper Arlington, and the girls got five wins against swimmers they might see again in the postseason.
Cameron Kuriger won the 100-yard backstroke (1 minute, 1.91 seconds) and 100 butterfly (57.1), Martina Peroni was first in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.61) and 200 individual medley (2:08.82) and Lia Volpe won diving with 182.8 points.
Kuriger and Peroni were state runners-up in the 100 fly and 200 IM, respectively, last year.
Olentangy did not have any scheduled meets entering the week leading into a sectional Feb. 13 at the Delaware YMCA.
•The Berlin girls basketball team had lost 11 of 12 games and was 3-13 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Hilliard Darby on Jan. 29.
The Bears lost at Olentangy 33-25 on Jan. 22 in league play, but coach Megan Phillips said her team continues to work hard and make strides.
“You look at our season and our losses come in the span of two minutes,” Phillips said. “I think part of that is that we’re young, but we also are trying to learn how to win. That’s hard in central Ohio. We just keep getting better.”
Through 16 games, Maddie Goodman was averaging a team-high 12.1 points plus 2.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds.
Courtney Suchan was averaging 7.2 points, a team-high 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals. Abbie Bell was averaging 5.4 points and 4.9 rebounds.
The Bears play league games at Jerome on Feb. 5 and at home against Thomas on Feb. 9.
•Austin Corley has been the leader in several categories for the Berlin boys basketball team, which was 7-7 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Darby on Feb. 2.
Through 14 contests, Corley led the Bears in scoring (15.2 points), assists (1.6) and steals (2.6).
Derek Goodman was averaging 9.5 points and 1.3 steals, and Jason Inbody was adding 8.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Aiden Loeffler was averaging a team-leading 5.0 rebounds and scoring 5.2 points per contest.
The Bears are scheduled to play OCC-Cardinal games Feb. 5 against Jerome, Feb. 8 against Olentangy and Feb. 10 against Darby.
•After guiding the Liberty girls soccer team to a Division I district runner-up finish and a 12-4-2 record last season, Hillary Carter has stepped down as coach.
The Patriots went a combined 23-23-8 in her three seasons but enjoyed a breakthrough last fall behind sophomore Jaimason Brooker, who had 24 goals and five assists, and a 10-player senior class.
Carter recently gave berth to her second child.
“Now I have two kids under the age of 2,” she said. “I’ll miss Liberty, the program and the girls, but for now it’s time to focus on my growing family. It’s been my true honor to have coached at Liberty. I'm so grateful to (athletics director Darin) Meeker, (principal Michael) Starner and the rest of the administration for their support of myself and the girls soccer program and the players for their dedication to this program. I’m proud of where the program is headed.”