High school bowling season underway

Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist

It was a little over a week ago that a friend of mind mentioned to me that he had spent a good share of his Saturday officiating basketball scrimmages. He shared that he was a little tired from it but it was great to get the work in to prepare for the rigors of the upcoming season.

We chuckled some when he mentioned that he was surprised that the scrimmages occurred on day two of the legal contact portion of the season as he did not see how the coach could possibly even know enough about his players to be able to put the team on the floor.

Strangely high school bowlers do not have that same luxury. The season will officially kick off for matches this coming Friday and in high school bowling the word scrimmage is not recognized. When you take to the lanes against the opposing high school you are in one of the matches that you are permitted to have this upcoming season. The coaches have been hard at it during the open gym portion of the season and what will be two weeks of permitted organized practice and they will indeed be ready when the bell rings.

A fellow colleague in the world of sports, Mike Maag, asked me the other day if I was ready to set down with him and do our annual preview of the upcoming season and my very quick response was no not yet – give me a week to get things together. At the time of his call there were two teams that I knew of that had not held organized practices.

One of the luxuries of the high school bowling world is that it is seen as an individual sport – though it is clearly team play – much like swimming and golf. This gives the coaches the opportunity to be available just about year round – although nothing can be mandated until November 1st as is the case for all winter sports.

The built in plus is that coaches can begin to get a good handle on how their youth are going to perform by watching and for that matter even working with them in junior league play. It also helps the coaches on the high school and junior league play the chance to work together to assist in the development of student athletes. It is a system that has worked well for a very long time leading to the proprietors building a strong base throughout Ohio before handling the sport over the OHSAA.

It has not been the least bit coincidental that the Northwest District of the OHSAA has had so many champions from our area. It was that way prior to the involvements of the OHSAA and the strength from our region has never faded. Coldwater defeated St Henry in tournament number one and has gone on to grab other gold as has St Marys, Wapak and Celina teams from our immediate area and Bryana Twining of Bath has done the same as an individual.

While I may not yet be ready for Mr. Maag I do have to say that I anticipate that this season will not be any different as the area again will be very strong.

The Commodores of Perry were/are right on the cusp of having a great season but sadly lost one of their big guns, Camren Dalton this past weekend when he was hurt during the Perry football playoff win. Camren and his brother Brayden along with Cameron Patrick looked awful strong up until the injury. It will be next man up – Cameron Nutt and Xander Crouch may hold some of the answers.

Lima Senior High again had a strong turnout for tryouts and if Isaac Hicks can roll during the season the way he stroked the ball in practice things could get strong for the Spartans.

We all know how phenomenal Morgan Twining was for the past four years. Her look-alike sister Tatum appears ready to follow in the footsteps of her mega talented sis. She will be special. Who knows in four years maybe even more special than Morgan?

LCC returns Hannah Riepenhoff and cousin Jay and cousin Maddie – another great nucleus for a D2 school and yes there is truth that Sean Thomas and Rossy Moore will be bowling as well.

Bath will be rock steady. Abbey Ambroza of Shawnee and Madison Doseck of Wapak and Lori Decker [LJ] of Van Wert along with Hannah and Maddie Knotts will set a strong bar for the young ladies to attack and I trust that St Marys will do just that.

When you factor in the trio of Solomon Smith, Myles Aldrich and Kaleb Egri of Shawnee and new boys coach Drew Ambroza, it promises to be a great season.

My forecast – there will again be gold this season for our immediate area.

Wow I am now a full fletched member of the USBC and by default the Lima Bowling Association. It gives me voting privileges, although not sure what there is to vote on – think I will have to go to a meeting and find out.

The membership thing was something that I had to do for Safe Sport training. The training was interesting at times but I still am not convinced that it is anything that should be mandated upon the centers to assure that youth programs can be sanctioned. The proprietors in our area as well as parents and more recently high school administrators have always done a good job in assuring that quality people are charged to the care of their youth.

Particularly troublesome is the ten day lag in waiting for certification to be final as we await background checks. It seems a quick trip downtown for fingerprints would have solved that issue.

I believe in safety but from experience I trust that the proprietors, the schools and the OHSAA have it under control Safe Sport is a good tool but maybe it should be a corrective action if there are issues.


Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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