Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Bowlers expect to make strides
With the nucleus of his team back, Whitehall-Yearling boys bowling coach Tavi Netotian expects the Rams to enjoy league and postseason success.
“I really want to see what this team is made of,” said Netotian, who is in his 14th season. “I want to see what we need to work on. Some of the guys have gotten really better from last year from what I’ve seen so far. We need competition. We need that going against somebody else, to see what you really have.”
The Rams, who had no seniors a year ago, should be led by senior Elias Rozzelle and junior A.J. Scott. Both were first-team all-MSL-Ohio Division, while senior David Sattler and junior Nathan McGrath were second-team all-league.
Scott had a team-best 168.2 average, followed by Rozzelle (165.2), McGrath (158.6) and Sattler (155).
“Compared to last year, we’re 10 times better already,” Scott said. “Everybody’s gotten better. Everybody has jumped up at least 10 pins in average.”
Senior Nick Miner also returns, and sophomore Dylan Woodruff and freshman Jacob Leach round out the roster.
Junior Samuel McQuate decided not to return after averaging 151.5 last season.
Scott’s preseason has included bowling his first 300 game during practice at Holiday Lanes in late November.
“It was in practice,” Scott said. “It could have been more exciting if I did it in a match, so now I just have to do it in a match.”
Senior Chelsee Cress and sophomore Lilli Jones are the only returnees for the girls team.
“I’m looking forward to the season,” said Cress, who averaged 123.1 last season. “It’s going to be a challenging year, but I feel like if you enjoy bowling it doesn’t matter if it’s challenging or not.”
The roster also includes freshmen Isabel Collinsworth, Amajah Hill and Zaleah Palmer.
“We have five girls. That’s all we need,” said coach Lori Shaw, who is in her third season. “I’d like to get a couple more.”
A key loss was 2020 graduate Jessica Gress, who competed in her first Division I state tournament last season and finished 16th of 205 bowlers with a 582 three-game series. Gress reached state by placing seventh at both the district (546) and sectional (545).
“Our goal is to bowl the best we can this year and have fun,” Shaw said. “They’re working really hard and they’re listening.”
Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, both teams had to postpone or cancel matches in December. They hope to open the season Jan. 4 against Hilliard Darby at Holiday Lanes.
“We talk about (COVID-19) every time we meet,” Shaw said. “It’s nothing to mess with. I hope we have a season. These kids deserve it.”
The Rams’ early season also includes playing host to the Jim Shaw Baker Challenge on Jan. 9 at Holiday Lanes.
Both teams also have their sights set on the MSL-Ohio tournament Jan. 23 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
Last season, the boys team finished first (3,547) in pool play but lost 3-1 to Buckeye Valley in a best-of-five Baker series semifinal. The girls team finished fourth in pool play and lost 3-0 to Buckeye Valley in the best-of-five Baker series final.
Both teams were 3-10 overall, with the boys finishing 38th (2,782) and the girls placing 20th (2,732) at the Division I sectional.
“I hope to have (a season),” Scott said. “I hope that they don’t take it away from us.”
•Coaches: Boys — Tavi Netotian, 14th season; Girls — Lori Shaw, third season
•Top athletes: Boys —Elias Rozzelle and A.J. Scott; Girls — Chelsee Cress
•Key losses: Boys — Sam McQuate; Girls — Jessica Gress and Kamdon Pauley
•Last season: Boys — 3-10 overall; Girls — 3-10 overall
•2019-20 finishes: Boys — Tied for 10th in COHSBC-B, first in MSL-Ohio pool play, 38th at sectional; Girls — 10th in COHSBC-B, fourth in MSL-Ohio pool play, 20th at sectional