Bowling: Pickerington Central girls continue balance trend at state
Final place aside, the Pickerington Central girls bowling team considered its performance in the Division I state tournament March 12 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl representative of its entire season.
Two bowlers not among the Tigers’ starting five to begin the day turned in two of the team’s best rounds, further reinforcing the depth on which Central thrived to earn its first state appearance.
Senior Jaycie Arnet finished 25th with a 550 three-game series, leading three teammates in the top 50. But games of 169 from junior Alex Tulius and 164 from classmate Dayna Howiler also proved useful as the Tigers finished 15th (2,874) in the qualifying round behind first-place Uniontown Green (3,165).
The top eight teams advanced to the team finals.
Howiler subbed for a struggling teammate during the first game, bowling 138 over the final six frames, before a 310 series.
“They just stepped up when we needed,” assistant coach Greg Moore said. “When we look back at sectional and district, certain people stepped into the role the other ones weren’t filling and it worked out for us. We legitimately had eight girls who could bowl varsity.”
Following Arnet were senior Mikayla Hodge (45th, 517), freshman Emma Pugh (tied for 49th, 506), Tulius (tied for 87th, 311) and Howiler (89th).
“The main thing was we all were able to keep any bad games behind us and just be there for the teams. We were able to knock that out and be there,” said Arnet, who was the program’s first state qualifier last season. “You know everybody has the potential to help the team.”
Central was 14th after one game, 12th after the second and 14 after three before slipping one spot during the three Baker games.
Hodge had the team’s best game at state with a 222. She said the dream of a state trip came into sharper focus late in the season.
“Somewhat toward the end (of the regular season), it started becoming more real,” she said. “We were doing really well. It wasn’t a particular match. Just all of them together made us more confident.”
Howiler also was key during the district tournament Feb. 28 at HP Lanes, when her performance during the Baker games propelled the team into fourth place and the final qualifying spot for state. Howiler began the season on junior varsity.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of experience with big tournaments or even match play because there aren’t a lot of (j.v.) girls teams, so being subbed in here was definitely stressful,” she said. “District definitely gave me the confidence I could do it here. At the same time, it’s nerve-racking.”
The Tigers went 11-1 during the regular season, with their only loss coming to defending state champion Gahanna. Pugh averaged 184.2 pins per game, ahead of Arnet (172.5).
The entire lineup is expected to return for the boys team, which went 11-0 for the first undefeated season in program history but fell short of a district berth. Junior Nick McGuire averaged 192.2, followed by sophomore Myles Etherington (188.2).
•Four of North’s top five girls, two of whom were district qualifiers, and three of the Panthers’ top five boys are eligible to return.
Sophomore Abby McFerin was 30th (497) and junior Delina Amanuel was 64th (415) at district, and they should lead a girls lineup that also expects to return sophomore Cait Rodgers and freshman Amelia Fox.
McFerin had a team-best 160.6 average.
Two of the boys team’s top three scorers can return in junior Jacob Neubauer (213.6) and sophomore Baylee Becker (208.5) after the Panthers went 9-1, with their only loss coming to Central in their season opener. Senior Ethan Yurko averaged 210.6, ahead of classmate Jack Rodgers (194.5) and freshman Kraig Gibson (183.3).
•Record: Boys — 11-0 overall; Girls — 11-1 overall
•League finishes: Boys — First (10-0) in COHSBC-C, first (6-0) in OCC-Central; Girls — Second (10-1) in COHSBC-C behind Gahanna (10-0), second (5-1) in OCC-Central behind Gahanna (6-0)
•Seniors lost: Boys — None; Girls — Jaycie Arnet, Sydney Brown, Mallory Gray, Mikayla Hodge and Annalyse Lockney
•Key returnees: Boys — Jared Baden, Alex Bookman, Myles Etherington and Nick McGuire; Girls — Kylie Finan, Emma Pugh, Emily Stickel and Alex Tulius
•Postseason: Boys — 28th (3,311) at sectional behind champion Marion Harding (4,360); Girls — Sixth (3,349) at sectional behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,656), fourth (3,579) at district behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,656), 15th (2,874) in qualifying round at state behind first-place Uniontown Green (3,165)
•Record: Boys — 9-1 overall; Girls — 6-4 overall
•League finishes: Boys — Second (9-1) in COHSBC-C, second (5-1) in OCC-Central; Girls — Fifth (7-4) in COHSBC-C, third (3-3) in OCC-Central
•Seniors lost: Boys — Nate Bolyard, Ethan Grundy, Jacob Tumildosky and Ethan Yurko; Girls — Maggie Burris and Evelyn Taylor
•Key returnees: Boys — Baylee Becker, Kraig Gibson, Jacob Neubauer and Jack Rodgers; Girls — Delina Amanuel, Amelia Fox, Abby McFerin and Caitlyn O’Malley
•Postseason: Boys — Second (4,140) at sectional, 10th (3,884) at district; Girls — 20th (2,772) at sectional
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Bowling: Pickerington Central girls continue balance trend at state