The Ohio Valley represented itself well at Friday's Ohio Division II Bowling Championships, but it wasn't enough to overcome some of the seasoned units in the field.
St. Clairsville High School's boys' team and St. John senior Aaron Ebbert ended their seasons without state titles at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, but no one walked away disappointed.
''We are really excited, not so much about the performance, but the opportunity we had,'' St. Clairsville head coach Mike Heath said. '
'We're looking forward to going back.
"We gained a lot of experience and knowledge.
The Red Devils, which were second in last week's district tournament, finished 11th out of 16 teams in the qualifying round with a score of 3,245. The top 8 teams advanced to the championship round.
Ebbert, St. John's first state bowling entrant, finished 71st overall with a 488.
''Naturally, we were a little disappointed because of the expectations,'' Heath said. ''But, at the same time, realistically, this our second year of competing. We even had some coaches come up and tell us how impressed they were in how we've come so far so fast.''
Maysville, the East/Southeast District champion, was ninth, two pins from advancing to the championship round.
St. C. was 64 pins from reaching the top 8.
''We had a phenomenal season,'' Heath said.
'There are so many teams that would've had wanted to do what we did. I think we finished higher than a couple of teams that have been bowling for years and have championship experience.''
Zach Dopkiss paced the Red Devils with a 581. Nate Heath fired a 529, while Josh Yeager had a 541. DJ Milligan (506) and Anthony Kolokowski (497) rounded out St. Clairsville's scoring.
''The lane pettern was very challenging,'' Heath said.
''It was very challenging for all the teams, but it was a pattern we'd never faced before.''
Despite having practiced on the pattern at St. Clair Lanes earlier in the week, bowling on it at the state pattern posed a different challenge, according to Health.
''It played completely opposite up there,'' he said. ''It was like bowling on a sheet of glass at times.
''We threw plenty of strikes. It was our spare game that really let us down.''
Nevertheless, Heath was pleased with how his players adjusted.
''Still, we finished 11th on a pattern we'd never seen,'' he said. ''We finally made some adjustments, but it was just too little too late.''
Warren Champion won the championship by defeating Struthers. Coldwater was third, followed by Versailles, Jonathan Alder, Clyde, Fairport Harding and Vermilion.