Emmanuel Christian boys bowling completes undefeated regular season

The Emmanuel Christian boys bowling team. CONTRIBUTED
The Emmanuel Christian boys bowling team. CONTRIBUTED

SPRINGFIELD — The Emmanuel Christian Academy boys bowling team has been extremely successful since its inception nine years ago.

The Lions have won three Metro Buckeye Conference championships in the last five years and advanced to the Division II state tournament in 2017.

But they had never finished the regular season undefeated — until this winter. The Lions went 17-0 in matches this season, including claiming the MBC postseason tournament championship on Saturday at Woodman Lanes in Dayton.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment,” said senior Jacob Lookabaugh. “Our team has gone so far and to win that as a senior — it’s been my favorite year so far.”

The Lions finished 8-0 in the MBC regular season and won nine non-conference matches.

“As the season went on, you could feel the pressure and the intensity coming up,” said Lions coach Rick Herring. “They persevered, got through it and did a great job with it.”

At the MBC tournament, Emmanuel beat rival Middletown Christian by 15 pins. They’re the only two teams to ever win a conference crown.

“They’ve been a thorn in our side since they started conference bowling,” Herring said. “They’re the ones we put a big asterisk next to on the schedule.”

Lookabaugh earned MBC Athlete of the Year and first team all-conference honors, while fellow senior Lukas Craft was named to the MBC first team.

Sophomore Ethan Herring was named to the MBC second team, while Kurt Flora earned the coaches award and Eric Kimbler won the sportsmanship award.

Rick Herring was named the coach of the year. The Lions girls squad also won the MBC tournament in its first season of existence.

“Our team worked better together this year than it did last year,” Lookabaugh said. “The team can’t take all the credit because we have great coaching.”

The only blemish on the Lions season was a second-place finish last month at the Clark County Tournament. They lost to Northwestern in the stepladder finals.

The defeat fueled them throughout the remainder of the regular season.

“It was the first day we realized we were a really good team and showed us we can do this and get to state if we really put our minds to it,” Craft said.

Lookabaugh and Craft were freshmen when the Lions advanced to the state tournament three seasons ago.

“It’s definitely been a dream of mine (to go undefeated),” Craft said. “As freshmen, we watched the seniors as they were going out and I definitely wanted to fill their shoes. I feel like this year we really stepped up and did that.”

The team’s chemistry plays a big role in their success, Craft said.

“We’re able to pick each other up, especially when we get down,” he said. “It gives us a lot of good energy and we build off of it really well.”

The Lions now have their sights set on the postseason. They’ll bowl for a berth in the district tournament at Wednesday’s Division II sectional tournament at Poelking Marian Lanes in Huber Heights. Last year, Lookabaugh advanced to the district tournament, missing out on a state berth by seven pins.

“Without these two (seniors), we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Rick Herring said.

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