Interesting week for area bowlers on several levels

Jim Riepenhoff’s opening remarks prior to the second shift of the West Ohio High School Bowling Conference action on Saturday at 20th Century Lanes said a great deal about bowling in our community.

“Bowlers, please thank your parents and your coaches for the support that they have given you throughout this season. We thank you the parents as well for permitting your children to be involved. As we live in a country like no other, will you please rise for the National Anthem,” Riepenhoff said.

The remarks said a great deal about the sport in our area, from the youth bowler to the senior citizen leagues. In so many more cases than not when the bowlers are on the lanes it is about the similarities that we have and not the differences. It is about individuals getting together to accomplish a common goal.

It is the reason that we have so many championship banners hanging in the rafters for different sports, in this case bowling, within the community of the OHSBC.

It was an incredible week at the lanes. It started somewhat on Sunday when youth was served with the repeat championships of Bethany Pellman and Chandler Stevens in the Lima City Singles and carried on through the Pioneer Classic on Monday, standard league and WBL matches throughout the week, and a house of talented bowlers at 20th on Saturday.

Richard Parrish’s photo of James Milligan in Wednesday’s edition of The Lima News may not have represented a member of the winning team but it did indeed capture the determined spirit of a great young man.

Milligan could be the poster child of what is right about the game in our area. Every school I am sure has its person who has worked hard on their game. Mulligan is that person for Lima Senior High. I just cannot imagine that anybody has worked harder in any area. He is always looking for a way to add another tool to his tool chest. He has also increased his attention to the academic side of things.

The Milligan photo was from the Pioneer Classic boys division at Westgate Lanes. It was a tough year for the classic with icy roads in the west and the south keeping away some strong teams such as Coldwater, Troy and Huber Heights Wayne to name just three. But the field was still very strong.

State contenders such as Celina, St. Henry, Wapakoneta, Shawnee and Lima Central Catholic still filled the brackets, with Celina taking down St. Henry in the finale.

The girls did battle at 20th Century where likewise eight teams were not able to make the trip.

There were several teams that rolled as well at 20th that we may see in Columbus in a little over a month, including WOHSBC andWBL powerhouses Wapakoneta, Shawnee and St. Marys. Those three schools finished in that order in the championship round.

St. Marys is a clear contender, if not a favorite, for the Division II state title while Shawnee and Wapakoneta have an excellent chance to be the representative from our district at state.

Allie Meeker celebrated her birthday with a 255 game to lead the girls while teammate Dayle Aldrich dazzled the group with her arm and her voice. She rolled a 668 series and led off the event at 20th with by singing the national anthem.

Record performance at St Marys:

The St. Marys girls team rolled a school record 1,035 Baker set during their match with Defiance on Friday evening. They fell three pins short of their school record for team series as well.

This speaks volumes to the capabilities of the team and why they will be a factor at State.

Interesting and telling moments in the WOHSBC action on Saturday:

The Celina boys are a very strong team, one that will make noise at the state come March if they can escape the Northwest District battle that will also include Wapakoneta and Shawnee.

Earlier this season at Ottawa they fell to Shawnee in an intense match and on Saturday it was Wapakoneta that they engaged in yet another epic match that went back and forth a great deal until they rolled a 280 Baker in the final game of the day to take the honors for the day.

Meanwhile St. Marys and Shawnee were able to defeat Van Wert and Ottawa-Glandorf to maintain a three-way tie for the north honors in the WOHSBC.

Celina and St. Marys will roll this coming week at Astro Lanes in Wapakoneta to break one portion of the tie. The season ends on February 3 when the teams return to St. Marys Varsity Lanes where the score will be ultimately settled when Wapakoneta and St. Marys as well as LCC and Shawnee clash.

Another interesting moment on Saturday was Versailles of the WOHSBC South division and Bath of the WBL getting together on a north league day. Versailles had a bye from action on the day. The end result of the match was solidly in favor of Versailles but Bath continues to grow.

Finally one question that has been being asked throughout the bowling world from the lanes at 20th to the classrooms at LCC and the offices of the OHSAA district appears to have been answered … at least for this moment. The LCC Thunderbirds will bowl as a unit, a very strong unit in Division II play. In another 20 years or so from now the Riepenhoff family will have an interesting reunion when Cecilia, Hannah, Dominic, and Michael Jay kick back and talk about the year they came together to roll in OHSAA play.

See you around the lanes … if you have not yet taken in a high school match make the trip to Astro this week, Girls at 9:45 am with the boys action at 1pm or drop by 20th tonight at 5 pm for St Marys and Elida.

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