Worthington Christian Roundup: Warriors girls bowlers earn return trip to state

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Lilly Marsh and Worthington Christian have earned a return trip to the Division II state tournament. The Warriors will compete Feb. 26 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.

A rough start proved to be too difficult for the Worthington Christian girls bowling team to overcome during its first appearance in the Division II state tournament last season. 

The Warriors, whose lineup features four bowlers who competed at state a year ago, get a chance to put that 15th-place performance behind them after qualifying for state for the second consecutive season. 

The state tournament returns to Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl and will be held Feb. 26, with the top eight in the 16-team event advancing from the qualifying round into a bracket tournament later that day. 

“Last year I got subbed out (at state) because I was having an off day,” senior Hope Nyland said. “We were just not on our game last year. If we’d just been bowling our average, we would have probably made the top eight. We’ve gotten better at (our Baker games). It’s all up to our Bakers at this point. 

“Wayne Webb’s gets all of us down because we haven’t had the best of luck there, but we have a good group of girls that are really excited to boost each other up. We all know how to bowl. It’s just about not getting stressed about it.” 

The Warriors opened the postseason Feb. 12 at HP Lanes by capturing the championship in the 22-team sectional with a 3,410. Senior Emily Weishaar was medalist with a 587 three-game series, followed by senior Abby Lanker (12th, 492) and Nyland (15th, 483). 

In the 12-team district tournament Feb. 15 at HP Lanes, the Warriors were second (3,501) behind Galion Northmor (3,515) as the top two advanced to state. 

Senior Lilly Marsh bowled in only one game at sectional but turned in the team’s best score at district, finishing seventh with a 562. 

Also competing in three games were Nyland (11th, 525), Lanker (15th, 488) and Weishaar (29th, 455). Sophomore Audrey Sanders bowled two games and sophomore Cierra Mudge bowled one. 

“What’s going to be key (at state) is that we don’t psyche ourselves out,” Marsh said. “Last year was our first time at state, so we didn’t know what was going to go on. We have to keep our heads in the game and we can actually do something good this year.” 

The boys team finished ninth (3,283) in the 27-team Division II sectional Feb. 13 at HP Lanes as the top 12 advanced to district. Junior Noah Dirscherl placed eighth (564). 

Senior Mason Marsh was unable to compete because of injury. 

At district, the boys finished eighth (3,343) as the top two advanced to state. 

Dirscherl led the Warriors by finishing 21st (534). He was followed by juniors Conner Lawson (35th, 495) and Tyler White (48th, 444), while sophomore Nick Duchene competed in two games and sophomore Garrett Dixon bowled one game. 

Blessing King and Worthington Christian entered the postseason on a 17-game winning streak and after capturing the MSL-Ohio championship.

Basketball teams 

capture MSL titles 

The boys and girls basketball teams were seeded first for their Division III district tournaments and both entered the postseason following league championships. 

The MSL-Ohio Division played only one round of league competition followed by a tournament. In the championship games, the girls defeated Bexley 60-43 on Feb. 5 and the boys beat Whitehall 58-48 on Feb. 12. 

The girls improved to 19-1 with a 78-62 victory over Belmont Union Local on Feb. 12 and opened the postseason Feb. 20 at home against 18th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek in the second round. 

If the Warriors won that game, they played fifth-seeded Mount Gilead or 17th-seeded Grandview on Feb. 23 in a district semifinal, with the winner advancing to a district final Feb. 26. 

Fourth-seeded Fredericktown, sixth-seeded West Jefferson and seventh-seeded Liberty Union would be the most likely opponents should Worthington Christian reach that game, with the Warriors playing at home throughout the district tournament. 

They entered the postseason on a 17-game winning streak. 

“It’s definitely a big boost,” said junior forward Blessing King, who was second on the team in scoring average (12.5 points) behind senior guard Katherine Weakley (21.0). “Even though we lost (the league title) last year, we wanted to come back this year and show that we have what it takes so I’m definitely glad we did that. 

“We’ve made so much progress since the beginning of the season. We’re all playing our best and melding together and I just think we’re definitely going to be successful if we continue to play for each other.” 

The boys team extended its winning streak to nine and improved to 20-1 with its victory over Whitehall, as senior guard Tyler Kindberg had 16 points, senior wing player Kobe Buford scored 13 and junior guard D.J. Moore added 12. 

The Warriors, who tied Whitehall for the league title last season, opened the district tournament Feb. 24 at home against 20th-seeded West Jefferson. 

If they won, they play host to 21st-seeded Northmor on Feb. 27, with the winner to face ninth-seeded Columbus Academy, 10th-seeded Fairbanks or 12th-seeded Northridge on March 2 in a district semifinal. 

Should Worthington Christian reach the district final March 5, the most likely opponent would be second-seeded Harvest Prep. The Warriors lost 49-47 to Harvest Prep in last season’s district final. 

As the No. 1 seed, Worthington Christian will play at home throughout the district tournament. 

“It’s huge,” Buford said. “We’ve been working all season (to win the league title) and it’s a great feeling. We have a long way to go, but we’re going to hit our stride soon. We’ve struggled shooting most of the season, but we’ve really put an emphasis on getting it inside.” 

Houston advances 

to state in diving 

Freshman Carson Houston will compete in the Division II state boys diving meet Feb. 25 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. 

On Feb. 16 in the district meet at Jefferson Country Club, Houston scored 360.15 to finish second behind Centennial’s Alec Proudfoot (476.35) as the top two advanced. 

In the girls meet, freshman Lily Morgan finished fifth (286.65) as the top three moved on to state. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek