Girls Bowling: Gahanna Lincoln Lions win third Division I state title in four seasons

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group

A slow start in its first match of the championship round didn’t shake the Gahanna Lincoln girls bowling team during the Division I state tournament March 5 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. 

The Lions were seeded first after the qualifying round and rallied to beat eighth-seeded Cincinnati Mercy McAuley 3-2 before beating fifth-seeded Hillsboro 3-1 in a semifinal. 

In the championship match against sixth-seeded Beavercreek, the Lions won the first game 213-165, won the second 162-141, lost the third 203-183 and finished off their third state championship in four seasons by winning 192-161 in the fourth game. 

According to coach Yvonne Quiero, the team stayed upbeat after falling behind against Mercy McAuley. 

“We were losing 2-1 (against Mercy McAuley) and then came back and pulled it out,” Quiero said. “Once they get their energy going it really gets them going well. They saw what they needed to do.” 

Senior Lilu Smith, who was a part of the state title team in 2018 as well as last season, led the Lions during the qualifying round with a 578 three-game series that placed her ninth and earned her second-team all-state honors for the second consecutive season. 

Junior Lindzi Oakman, who was 10th (573) to also make second-team all-state, and juniors Kaitlyn Mundschenk, Tori Richardson and Addison Watson all were key players last season as well. 

Richardson finished 21st (542) and Watson was 43rd (500).

Chagrin Falls Kenston’s Jenna Stretch was medalist (740).

Freshman Casey Burns was another of the Lions’ competitors.  

“It’s great,” Smith said. “Our teamwork, our positivity and our attitude (are the best things about our team). Even if we had a bad game in Bakers, we were still able to bounce back.”

Gahanna Lincoln's Addison Watson reacts after bowling a strike in the Division I state tournament March 5 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.

Also during the qualifying round, Olentangy finished 14th (2,688) and Delaware was 16th (2,498) as Gahanna led with a 3,263. 

Delaware junior Hannah Halstead finished 14th (557) to earn honorable mention all-state honors. Sophomore Makayla Pounds was 78th (404).

Senior Electra Holt and juniors Grace McIllwain and Lydia Bendele also competed for the Pacers. 

“I was kind of shocked because I didn’t do as well as I know I could have,” Halstead said. “(Earning honorable mention all-state) was a really good feeling. I 100 percent could have done better. I get in my head sometimes and get upset and throw my game in the trash, but I tried my hardest to keep it all together and I did pretty well.” 

Competing individually were Hamilton Township sophomore Emily Welch (27th, 531), Pickerington Central junior Jaycie Arnet (tied for 36th, 520) and Hamilton Township senior Emma Peruzzi (58th, 476).

“I struggled a little bit, but I was able to figure out where to place and what to do,” Arnet said. “All in all, it wasn’t that bad. I tried to just shake everything off and not think too much about my splits. .. It’s nice to know I’ve come this far.” 

Leading Olentangy was sophomore Phoebe Anderson (65th, 458), followed by juniors Savannah Claar and Katie Claar, who tied for 70th (452). Juniors Alex Oberyszyn and Hannah Lamar placed 73rd (440) and 79th (400), respectively. 

“I’m just happy to be at state honestly because getting here is an accomplishment in itself,” Anderson said.  

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek