Notebook: Olentangy Braves girls bowlers heading back to state tournament

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group

The Olentangy girls bowling team’s primary goal entering this season was to make the Division I state tournament and improve on last year’s 12th-place finish.

After what coach Jim Brehm called “a terrible” beginning to the postseason, albeit one that was good enough for the Braves to advance, his team has the chance to fulfill its objective.

Phoebe Anderson’s 533 three-game series led Olentangy to fourth place (3,411) in the district tournament Feb. 22 at HP Lanes, earning the final qualifying berth to state March 5 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. 

The other team qualifiers were Gahanna (3,938), Jonathan Alder (3,691) and Delaware (3,414).

Anderson placed 16th, followed by Hannah Lamar (23rd, 513), Katie Claar (tied for 33rd, 482), Alex Oberyszyn (44th, 447) and Savannah Claar (51st, 437).

“They put their nose to the grindstone a little bit. We had a terrible sectional (finishing seventh Feb. 17 at HP Lanes),” Brehm said. “All of us were bad at once. Then we got in (Feb. 20 after a boys sectional), practiced after the boys were done, gained some confidence and then they just did what they did and hit their average.”

•The Orange boys bowling team qualified for its first Division I state tournament since 2015, rolling a 3,952 at district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes to earn the third and final berth to state March 6 at Wayne Webb’s. Marion Harding (4,195) and Hilliard Bradley (4,169) were the other qualifiers.

Jake Burre led the Pioneers with a 651 to finish sixth.

“I feel like that was the best I’ve been technique-wise all year,” said Burre, whose team won the COHSBC-A Division (11-0) and OCC-Buckeye (7-0). “We had great team chemistry by far, and we’ve been practicing pretty hard to get here.”

Nick Kicas (590, 24th) was next at district, followed by Marcus Turner (583, tied for 28th), Jaydon Goldenberg (544, 47th) and Bobby Drexel (543, 48th).

“It’s unbelievable (to make it to state) and it’s such a great feeling because we put in all the hard work,” Kicas said. “Teamwork has been important along with communication and keeping each other up. You can always go further than anyone else if you have teamwork.”

—Scott Hennen

•Junior Carter Street of the Liberty boys bowling team is headed back to the Division I state tournament. 

Street rolled a 782 to capture his second consecutive district championship as the Patriots finished seventh (3,782). The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams moved on to state.

“It’s pretty big (to win district), but the main thing on my mind is the state championship,” said Street, who finished 32nd (597) at state a year ago. “That’s what I’m focused on.” 

Liberty was runner-up (4,000) in the sectional Feb. 19 at HP Lanes as Street was third (665), Nick Bateson was ninth (627) and David Hart was 13th (613). 

At district, Ethan Shek rolled the Patriots’ second-best score with a 536 to tie for 51st, followed by Hart (59th, 511) and Matthew Lawrence (75th, 449). 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

Berlin's Elise Hedrick was 11th in the all-around, fourth on beam and 10th on vault in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet, helping the Bears capture the league championship.

•The Berlin gymnastics team captured its second consecutive OCC-Cardinal championship, but coach Jen Hedrick said winning the title outright this season made it more satisfying. 

“We shared the title with (Dublin) Jerome last year, but this year we legitimately won,” Hedrick said. “Depth is definitely the key to our success.”

The Bears scored 28 points and went 6-0 in the league, finishing ahead of Hilliard Darby (26, 5-1). 

Stephanie Balthaser led Berlin by finishing second in the all-around (35.85) in the league meet Feb. 20 at Thomas Worthington, where the Bears were first with 139.45 points. Balthaser won balance beam (9.325), was third on vault (9.05), fourth on floor exercise (9.15) and fifth on uneven bars (8.325).

“I did best on beam, and it was my highest score that I ever had in that event,” Balthaser said. “I did really good on three events, especially the beam. The bars were rough, but we made it through.”

Paige Dargatz was sixth in the all-around (34.475) with a fourth on vault (8.875), fifth on beam (8.85) and 10th on bars (7.95) and floor (8.8). Elise Hedrick was 11th in the all-around (33.175) with a fourth on beam (8.9) and a 10th on vault (8.1).

The Bears competed in the district meet Feb. 27 at Worthington Kilbourne. The top three teams advanced to the state team meet March 5 at Bradley, with the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around qualifying for the individual state meet March 6 at Bradley. 

—Scott Hennen

Liberty's Camryn Thompson was first on beam, second on bars and third in the all-around in the OCC-Capital meet, helping the Patriots share the league title with Worthington Kilbourne.

•The Liberty gymnastics team didn’t get the score it had hoped for in the OCC-Capital meet Feb. 20 at Thomas, but that didn’t take away from the overall celebration. 

With a 132.45, the Patriots placed second behind Kilbourne (133.1) but ended up with a share of the overall championship with the Wolves as both teams finished with 26 points.  

“They did a great job and pulled together,” coach Tara Mays said. “What I love about this team is that they’re a team and they support one another.” 

Hailee Cobb finished first on bars (8.725), second on floor (9.05), second on vault (8.875) and first all-around (35.275). 

Camryn Thompson was first on beam (9.05), second on bars (8.7) and third all-around (34.6). 

Sam Penzone was 10th all-around (31.55). 

Liberty’s best regular-season score was 135.1. 

“(Our OCC meet score) was not the best but not the worst,” Mays said. “We had a couple out for injury and I liked how we stepped up to support one another.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•Senior Mia Crumb was runner-up at 160 pounds for the Berlin girls wrestling team in the state tournament Feb. 20 and 21 at Hilliard Davidson.

Crumb went 3-1 at state, losing to Logan’s Alexus Brown 7-4 in the championship match. Last season, she was second at 150.

“This isn’t how I wanted to end my season, and I want to learn from this loss as I go into college,” said Crumb, who finished the season 14-2 and will compete at Indiana Tech. “The competition this year has been getting a lot better because the sport is growing so much.”

Aubrey Noeth also competed for the Bears at state, going 0-2 at 170.

—Scott Hennen

•The Olentangy hockey team expects to return two of its top four scorers and one of its two goalies after going 13-12-0-1 overall and winning its second league title in three years.

Senior forward Landon Johnson led the Braves in goals (25) and points (45) and also had 20 assists as they went 11-5 with 22 points in the CHC, winning the Blue Division by a game ahead of Watterson (20, 10-6). 

Junior forward Nick Biehl had 15 goals and 23 assists, sophomore forward Andrew Kieffer had 15 goals and 16 assists and senior forward Mitch Berger had 14 goals and 16 assists.

The Braves’ season ended Feb. 21 with an 8-2 loss to third-seeded Liberty in the second round of the district tournament. Olentangy was seeded 13th of 25 teams.

Players eligible to return include junior Kiernan Latshaw (forward), sophomores Essence Wyse (goalie) and Charlie Ziliak (forward) and freshman Ben Dorbish (forward). Wyse made 181 saves on 242 shots and recorded seven wins.

—Dave Purpura

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports

OLENTANGY HOCKEY

Record: 13-12-0-1 overall

CHC-Blue standings: Olentangy (22, 11-5), Watterson (20, 10-6), Gahanna (18, 9-7), Columbus Academy (13, 6-10-0-1), Worthington Kilbourne (9, 4-11-0-1), DeSales (6, 3-14), Dublin Scioto (0, 0-16)

Seniors lost: Nicholas Batten, Mitch Berger, Brenden Beals, Angelo Carroll, Landon Johnson, Manny Seyboldt and Cole Van Riper

Key returnees: Nick Biehl, Ben Dorbish, Andrew Kieffer, Kiernan Latshaw, Essence Wyse and Charlie Ziliak

Postseason: Defeated Beavercreek 3-2 (OT); lost to Liberty 8-2 in second round of district tournament