Coming off a Division II sectional championship where the top three bowlers were Hillclimbers, Urbana High School coach Phil Baker took the title in stride. He knows how quickly it can go the other way.
Urbana, coming off a surprising third-place finish in the Central Buckeye Conference tournament on Feb. 7, regrouped and regained its position as a team to beat in the Southwest District. The Hillclimbers won the D-II sectional on Wednesday with a score of 4,539. That topped Northwestern’s 4,118 and Kenton Ridge’s 4,105.
Urbana senior Daniel Evilsizor was medalist with 709. Freshman Luc Russell bowled a 702 and sophomore Skyler Reisinger a 671 to finish among the top three.
“I’ve never doubted their ability, it’s just they’re freshmen and sophomores except for Daniel,” Baker said of his team that was down to five bowlers and no substitutes on Wednesday due to illness.
“We went to the CBC and we had 24 (boys and girls) teams packed into a 24-lane bowling center. You couldn’t even move in there. We didn’t bowl very well. The freshmen boys, they acted like they were scared to death. They were bowling tight and we finished third. We dominated the league this season and ended up finishing third. We just had a bad night.”
Wednesday at Poelking Marion Lanes in Huber Heights, the Hillclimbers placed all five bowlers in the top 30 with sophomores Blaine Arms (610, 11th) and Kyle Schrader (572, 27th).
Northwestern, Kenton Ridge, West Liberty-Salem, Benjamin Logan, Shawnee and Mechanicsburg were among the Springfield-area teams also advancing to the district tournament Feb. 20 at Beaver-Vu Lanes in Beavercreek.
As for the Hillclimbers, having Evilsizor return to form is excellent timing. The senior took this summer and fall off from bowling to work on an Eagle Scout project. Now he’s performing like the bowler who was named the CBC Mad River Bowler of the Year in 2013.
“It’s good he’s starting to come back into what he was a year ago,” Baker said. “Timing is very important in bowling as it is in any sport. It’s something he was lacking by not bowling much.”
At district, Urbana will face Cincinnati’s best teams — along with those area schools — in its bid to qualify for state. The top four teams advance. The Hillclimbers have sent individuals to Columbus but never the team. They faced some of the Cincinnati competition earlier this season at the Bearcat Invitational. The only team to beat them was Kentucky’s defending state champion.
“I never worry too much about the competition. We just have to bowl to our potential,” Baker said. “If we do that we probably have as good of a chance as anyone in the state of Ohio, I feel. I just tell them we need to get every pin we can get. If we get enough, then we’ll win. … If you have enough at the end of the day they’ll tell you.”
In the girls tournament held on Thursday, Greenon won the D-II sectional title with a score of 4,006. Urbana finished second with 3,900. Greeneview junior Hannah McGrew was medalist with 738 and Kenton Ridge junior Alyx Kearney was runner-up with 676. The girls district meet is also Feb. 20 at Beavercreek.