Bowling: Thomas Worthington Cardinals girls squad expects strong season

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Thomas Worthington logo

The Thomas Worthington girls bowling team finished strongly last season with an 11-5 overall record and a 13th-place finish (2,723) in the Division I district tournament behind champion Westerville Central (3,599).

Coach Joe Taylor, who is in his fifth season guiding the girls and his 10th leading the boys team, thinks the girls can go back to district this winter. It takes a top-four finish at district to qualify for state.

“The girls team is going to be pretty good,” Taylor said. “We were good last year ... and we’ve only changed out two players. We’ve brought back a lot of experience from last year and we have some really good helpers that are coming in this year.

“I think they can make it to districts again.” 

Taylor said the girls team will be led by seniors Hannah Innes and Paige Stephens and junior Audrey Wingerter. 

Stephens averaged a team-best 163.2 in OCC play last season. Innes, who averaged 142.9, was 34th at district with a 449 three-game series while Stephens placed 57th (409).

Wingerter spent time on both junior varsity and varsity last season.  

“Those three are going to be my mainstays,” said Taylor, adding he has been impressed with the progress shown by Wingerter. 

“She has come a long way,” Taylor said. “Her average improved 50 pins last year, and it’s gone up even since the end of summer.” 

The rest of the roster consists of seniors Sarah Ashworth and Audrey Hughes, junior Tiffany Flores and freshman Bella Hughes. Taylor said they're working on developing their technique, but he’s encouraged by what he’s seen. 

The boys team, which finished 35th (2,955) at sectional after a 0-17 regular season, has the potential to make strides, Taylor said. 

“We have three bowlers that are returning and they’re all doing fairly well, and we have a couple newcomers that are going to make people notice them,” he said. “I think if (the boys) can clear .500, I think we would be satisfied with that. If it gets further than that, awesome.”

The boys will be led by juniors Zachary Campbell and Nolan King and sophomore Jesse Turner.  Turner had a 124.1 average in OCC play last season, followed by Campbell (106.8). 

Rounding out the roster are juniors Daniel Whitney and Joey Ponziani, sophomore Antonio Merida and freshmen Josh Innes and Mason Fields. 

With the start of the season delayed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Taylor said the boys have benefited from added practice time. 

“Having the extra month of practices ... has made a big difference,” he said. “Our spare shooting has improved, our delivery is better. These kids have worked their butts off ... with that extra month of practice that we don’t normally get.” 

Both teams are scheduled to open Jan. 6 against Dublin Scioto at Sawmill Lanes.

Worthington Kilbourne logo

Wolves boys squad

out to defend OCC title

After winning the OCC-Cardinal title last season, the Kilbourne boys team failed to make it out of the Division I sectional as it placed 19th (3,470), three spots from the final berth to the district tournament. 

Groveport earned that spot with a score of 3,498.

“It was really close,” sixth-year coach Susan Bond said. “It was disappointing to them.” 

The Wolves, who finished 9-8 overall, are aiming for a better record this winter and league titles in the COHSBC and OCC. 

“Their goal this year is to win more matches than last year, and definitely to win that OCC title again,” Bond said. “I’m confident they can repeat. I think as long as they can keep their head and support each other and stay in the game, there’s no reason these boys can’t actually win both their conference and their OCC.” 

Senior Connor Burke led the Wolves in OCC competition last year with a 187 average. He qualified for district as an individual and placed 42nd (519). 

“I fully expect him to be my horse this season,” Bond said. 

The other top contributors are expected to be senior Cole Niemantsverdriet and junior Samuel Knuth. Knuth averaged 181.3 in OCC play last season and Niemantsverdriet averaged 173.1. 

Rounding out the roster are senior Will Bartram, junior Miles Roberts, sophomore Camden Hinkle and freshman Zach Beck. 

The girls team will be without its best performer from last season in sophomore Delaney Rossette, who Bond said decided not to compete because of the pandemic. Rossette led the Wolves with a 177.3 OCC average and also paced them with a 15th-place finish (494) at district. 

Kilbourne placed 14th (2,620) at district and finished the season 8-9 overall. 

Bond said she expects sophomore Brenna Burnell to fill the void as the No. 1 bowler. Burnell averaged 154.1 in OCC play and finished 62nd (394) at district. 

“I expect her to be the person to step up in (Rossette's) place,” Bond said. “She’s gotten a lot better over the years. She’s the most seasoned player I have.” 

Senior Grace Meisel averaged 137.3 in the OCC and finished 73rd (340) at district. 

“She did really well last year,” Bond said. “She’s another player I think will do well again this year.”

Rounding out the roster are juniors Samantha Darby, Ellie Needleman, Ava Gilley and Presley Zwayer.

“I expect the girls to have a lot of fun this year,” Bond said. “They really get along so well and they help each other, and that’s a plus.” 

Both the boys and girls are scheduled to open Jan. 4 against Delaware at Penn Lanes. 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve

KILBOURNE

•Coach: Susan Bond, sixth season

•Top athletes: Boys — Connor Burke, Samuel Knuth and Cole Niemantsverdriet; Girls — Brenna Burnell and Grace Meisel 

•Key losses: Boys — Kerim Pintol and Preston Woodrum; Girls — Sandra Mejia-Lopez

•Last season: Boys — 9-8 overall; Girls — 8-9 overall

•2020 finishes: Boys — Eighth in COHSBC-B, first in OCC-Cardinal, 19th at sectional; Girls — Seventh in COHSBC-B, fourth in OCC-Cardinal, eighth at sectional, 14th at district

THOMAS

•Coach: Joe Taylor, 10th season (boys), fifth season (girls)

•Top athletes: Boys — Zachary Campbell, Nolan King and Jesse Turner; Girls — Hannah Innes, Paige Stephens and Audrey Wingerter 

•Key losses: Boys — Taven Holcomb-Green and Nate Johnson; Girls — McKenzie Barritt and Samantha Haunty

•Last season: Boys — 0-17 overall; Girls — 11-5 overall

•2020 finishes: Boys — 13th in COHSBC-B, eighth in OCC-Cardinal, 35th at sectional; Girls — Third in COHSBC-B, third in OCC-Cardinal, 11th at sectional, 13th at district