The Union Local Lady Jets bowling squad will be making Ohio Valley history when it travels to Shawnee Lanes in Chillicothe today for the OHSAA District Tournament.
"This will be the first team from the OVAC to go to the district tournament as a whole team," said Union Local athletic director Mark Cisar. "As a sport, it has only been around for 7 years and I think it is something to be proud of as a school."
UL first year head coach Katie Fischerkeller agrees, "only two of these girls had ever touched a bowling ball before November, but they've been practicing hard six days a week and have practiced hard the past 14 days."
Along with the Lady Jets' squad, Bridgeport's Alexis Willis and Peyton Stewart will also be heading to Shawnee Lanes. They qualified as individuals.
On the boys' side, St. Clairsville junior Nathan Heath will also be making the trip. The Red Devils' standout qualified as an individual during last weekend's sectional at St. Clair Lanes.
Heath rolled a 648 series, which was good enough for runner-up honors.
The Lady Jets bowled a total series of 3229 to qualify during the sectional earlier this month at St. Clair Lanes to qualify for Chillicothe.
Leading the Lady Jets was sophomore Madie Schafer with a 540 Series, while senior Megan Stull added a 497. Senior Casie Kyer contributed with a 451.
McKenzie McLaughlin will be making the trip as alternate, "She is a senior and she was injured last week, so she will be making the trip with us."
Zanesville won the sectional tournament with a 3731 series.
"We will be leaving for districts around 10 a.m. (today). There will be local fire departments that are escorting us out," said Fischerkeller. "Thomas Jeep and Eagle has donated two vans to take us to the districts.
"It will be a totally new environment for us," Fischerkeller said.
The 15 squads will be bowling in front of a grandstand where parents and fans will be cheering on their schools. "There will be a lot of pressure with hundreds of spectators, scouts and college recruiters watching."
The format will be the same as sectionals as teams will bowl three regulation games and six baker games. Participating individuals will bowl three regulation games.
Teams and individuals will move one pair to the right for each game. The 'Baker' games will be bowled on the same pair but teams will change lanes after each game.
"This is a wonderful group of kids," said Fischerkeller. "We have a very supportive group of parents and we can't wait to get down to Chillicothe and start our practice on the lanes."
Just one team plus the top individuals not on a qualifying team from the girls District Tournament will advance to the State Tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl on March 1.
Palmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org