Area prep bowling teams have plenty of goals this season
• Monroe Central fields squad for first time; EOBL grows to 10 squads for 2017-18 campaign
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The high school bowling seasons opens Monday for area squads and with it comes an addition to the team roster.
Monroe Central is the 10th member of the East Ohio Bowling League, continuing a rise in a sport that has seen tremendous growth locally for about the past five years.
The league now also consists of: Bridgeport, Buckeye Local, Barnesville, East Richland Christian, Harrison Central, Martins Ferry, St. Clairsville, St. John and Union Local.
East Richland visits Chestnut Lanes on Monday to face Barnesville in the first of what is a three-month journey for local kegglers, one they hope culminates with an appearance at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, site of the Ohio state tournament, in March.
Along the way, bowlers will compete in various tournaments, including the Olympic Invitational (a baker event) on Dec. 22, the Buckeye 8 (Jan. 27) and sectionals, which, again, will take place at St. Clair Lanes.
Here’s a capsule look at the teams from coaches who submitted information:
BARNESVILLE — The Shamrocks established themselves as a program to be contended with last winter, and head coach Nick Saffield believes his boys and girls are poised to take another forward this season.
“We have fun” Saffield said. “If they’re having fun, that’s what it’s all about.”
Barnesville’s boys reached the district tournament in Chillicothe last season in just its second season, but all but one of that group has graduated.
“We’re young there, but we’re learning,” Saffield said. “They’re working every night and getting better. We lost seven seniors that we’re going to miss.”
Senior Jacob Gallaway is back and he’s joined by classmates Dalton Groh, Trenton Groh and Dallas Raines on the roster. Aaron Smith, Gage Warrington and Alex Woods represent the junior class, with James Dusch, Logan Gibbons and Landon Johnston comprising the sophomores. Freshmen are Clay Carpenter, Rylen Detling, Logan Eddy, Michael Heatherington, Luke Schultz and Kyi Toohey.
“On the flip side, that’s where I’d like to see the girls,” Saffield said of district competition. We have everybody back.”
Senior girls are: Stephanie Christie, Darrah Detling, Chloe Campbell, Hunter Miller, Candace Schneider, Taylor Szabo and Baylie MacMillen, who comes over from the basketball team.
Saffield has two girls from each of the other classes — juniors Maddie Hoffer and Brittany Poss, sophomores Halle Gehrig and Harleigh Howiler, and freshmen Mackenzie Moore and Jalyn Johnson.
“There are higher expectations on the girls’ side, but we have everyone back there, so there should be higher expectations.”
BRIDGEPORT — Bridgeport’s girls return just one bowler this season, but it’s a good one in senior Kaity Tennant.
During the past three years, Tennant has fashioned a stellar career that’s included a trip to the state tournament.
“She bowled on the boys’ team during the regular season last year and then competed as an individual in the sectional before qualifying for the district tournament,” Bridgeport head coach Marci Tennant explained.
This winter, though, the Bulldogs will field a full girls’ squad. In addition to Kaity Tennant, the unit includes Danielle Hollingshead, Sierra Smith, Kenzie Taylor, Haley McFarland, Sydney Lough and Nhi Thien.
Bridgeport’s boys return four of five from the 2016-17 squad, including Gavan Graham, who qualified for the district tournament.
Rounding out the boys’ squad are: Cody Creamer, Eric Ludolph, Tristan West, Connor Markus, Noah Murr, Shane Bennington, Spencer Echemann and Ty Shambaugh.
BUCKEYE LOCAL — Buckeye Local is seeking to rebound from a pair of below .500 marks on both the boys’ and girls’ sides.
“We’re looking to improve a lot from last year,” Panthers head coach Jared Call said. “We were very young last year. I only had one senior so everyone else is coming back.”
Call lost for-year letterwinner Dominique Welshans to graduation, but returns senior Heather Travis. She’s the lone senior on the girls’ side.
Sierra Farnsworth, Kodie Richardson and Katie Rogers are the junior returning letterwinners. Other juniors on the roster are Hannah Reed and Lillian Still.
Sophomore Alyssa Lingenfelter earned a letter as a freshman. She’s back, joined by classmates Marley Basich, Gianna Moscato and Destinie Pyle.
Freshman Cheyanne Cornish, Gulianna Moscato, Sierra Sterling and Annie Takach complete the roster.
Senior Matthew Rector guides the boys’ team. He’s joined by letterwinners Brady Beach and Fred Hertler, both juniors, and sophomore Conrad Schuetz.
The remainder of the unit includes: senior Caleb Elson; juniors Lakota Jacobs and Nick Jones; sophomores Ramon Ramirez and Brandon Stokley; and freshmen CJ Adams and Adam Pernik.
EAST RICHLAND CHRISTIAN — East Richland Christian has come a long way in a short period of time, and head coach David Milliken hopes the Lions can continue to make strides this season.
“I am looking forward to this second full season and building on what we learned from last year as a team,” he said.
ERC’s boys have two seniors, both letterwiners, in Andrew Garvick and Josh Crowley.
“I am looking for big things from Andrew this year as one of the leaders for our boys,” Milliken said. He does a nice job and helps our younger bowlers on the team, as well.”
Junior Mason Milliken is a returning letterwinner, while classmate Jacob Bell is in his first year on the squad.
Sophomores Nathan Bell and Mitch Blake both earned letters last winter.
The Lions have one freshman — Jacob May.
ERC has a trio on the girls’ side — seniors Rachel Bruner and Raychel Costain, and freshman Ava Bruner.
“I’m very excited with the progress these ladies have made already this season and look forward to seeing how they progress all year long,” Milliken said.
HARRISON CENTRAL — The Huskies girls made their presence known last season, and head coach Bobbi Parkinson sees that trend continuing this winter.
“The girls should be very strong from bowlers one through five,” she said. “I am looking for a possible EOBL championship, along with advancing in the tournament.”
Harrison Central’s girls’ varsity roster includes: seniors Taryn Graham, Cassie Wright, Cassie Kuhn Addie Edwards and Brenna Starr, along with junior Riley Eberhart and sophomores Raychel Myers and Kamree Best.
Joey McCann and Zakk Kelley are the seniors on the boys’ side. The rest of the varsity roster consists of: sophomores Jacob Hudson, Hunter Stark, Logan Cologie, Mike Hart and Curtis Blackburn, and freshman Trevor Thompson.
“The boys’ team will be young, but very balanced,” Parkinson said. “They should have a very good season and finish toward the top of the league.”
MARTINS FERRY — Purple Riders head coach John Josefczyk has five letterwinners in the fold — three boys and two girls — as the 2017-18 season begins.
“Our boys and girls teams are very young, with a few returning letterwinners,” he said.
The boys finished fifth in league play last winter, with the girls sixth. Josefczyk is optimistic as numerous upperclassmen return. Lost to graduation were Codey Morrison, Garrett McCroskey, Caleb Reynolds, Shelby Runyan and Jessica Beck.
Senior Cole Wharton, junior Travis Carroll and sophomore Matt Ebert are the returning letterwinners on the boys team. The rest of the squad is comprised of senior Chris Selby; juniors Isaac Reynolds and Ian Johnston; and freshmen Kenton McCroskey and Zane Phillips.
Junior Emileigh Gildow and sophomore Mariah Jones are the girls’ returning letterwinners.
The remainder of the girls’ roster includes: seniors Gracie Sipiyarak and Davi Kerns; juniors Julia Bliss, Evelyn Hawthorne and Jessica Hatter; sophomore Lauren Smith; and freshmen Makena Klarr, Emylee Reed and Brooklyn Torres.
MONROE CENTRAL — Despite fielding a new squad, Monroe Central consists of new and veteran bowlers, according to head coach Tess Hill.
“This year will be a learning curve for us with high school bowling,” said Hill, who’s coaching with Jacob and Camden Hill. “But we know this is only the beginning.
“They are all eager to learn and are improving tremendously each day.”
Seniors Hunter Cline and Coleman Tomlin headline the squad, that also includes junior McKaya Dimmerling.
Max Danaher, Alyson Erickson, Shaylei Giesey, Austin Pittman and Cooper Stimpert are the team’s sophomores. Rounding out the unit are freshmen Anna Dimmerling, Brandon Elliott, Devon Harrell, Shaden Isner, Brock Sexton, Nick Smith and Kaden Tomlin.
Russell Family Bowling Center in Woodsfield serves as the Seminoles’ home lanes.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Two pins.
That’s what separated the St. Clairsville boys from a district tournament berth last winter.
Head coach Mike Heath believes the team is on the cusp of something special this season, thanks to a veteran cast.
“Our boys’ team returns all of its starters from last season’s 11-6 team and they’ve grown from the experience of falling just short of district.”
The Red Devil boys include: seniors Noah Smith and Clayton Campbell; juniors Ben Lucas and Shane Holstein; and sophomores Dalton Stecyk, Joe Patrizi and McCoy Zervos.
St. Clairsville’s girls were hit hard by graduation, but still return two of the conference’s top averages.
Seniors Annelise Dumas, Kristen Hoffman and Heaven Hadley lead the group, with juniors Jenna Hanket and Ashten Louis having matured during the offseason.
Senior Nikita McIntyre and junior Hannah Marchlinski will provide support off the bench, according to Heath.
“One thing we don’t lack on the girls’ side is depth,” he said. “We have many underclassmen capable of filling roles on any given day.”
ST. JOHN — St. John has a small, but eager squad this season, according to coach Valerie Peterson.
“They’ve come a long way,” Peterson said. “We’re getting ready to go and hope to do well this year.”
The Irish have three girls — Ava Watson, Erin Savage, Cas Stegman and Riley DiLoretta.
Justus Kirkland is the team’s lone boy.
UNION LOCAL — Head coach Ron Taylor brings back squads that lost one bowler each and he’s excited about the prospects for both his boys and girls.
“Our goal this year is to take things one match at a time and move forward to the postseason,” he said.
Five girls return for the Jets, led by senior Madison Kanyuch, who earned a district tournament berth last season.
The other returning letterwinners are: senior Taylor Huntsman, juniors Hannah Miller and Shania Heath, and sophomore Taylor Powell. They will be joined by senior Alysa Tomer and juniors Sammy Anderson and Hannah Cunard.
“I believe this will be one of the best girls’ teams we’ve had,” Taylor said.
UL’s boys also return a district qualifier from last season in junior Alberto Dunlap. Senior Ian Alexander and junior Austin Graham also return.
Taylor also has high hopes for two newcomers — Austin Taylor and Bryan Neidert. Rounding out the varsity squad are Jeremiah Shaw, Dylan Usenick and Gage Harris.
“The exciting thing is several of our reserves have the ability for a place on the varsity roster in years to come,” Taylor noted.