The Springfield High School girls bowling team poses with the trophy after winning the program’s first-ever Clark County Championship on Jan. 11 at Northridge Lanes. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

High School Bowling: Springfield girls team eyes first state berth

The Springfield High School girls bowling team has something to prove this winter.

After a decent season in 2019, the Wildcats worked harder than ever in the offseason to achieve their goals, said Springfield coach Mike Beck.

The veteran squad checked one major accomplishment off their list earlier this month. The Wildcats won the school’s first Clark County title on Jan. 11 at Northridge Lanes, going undefeated in the Baker portion of the tournament.

Springfield finished second in the county tournament last year.

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“They’ve had a sour taste in their mouth since last year,” Beck said. “It came down the final few frames and we couldn’t get it done. One of their big objectives this year was to come back and win that and they really did it in dominating fashion.”

The Wildcats also won the Southwest Baker Shootout at Southwest Bowling Center in Urbana on Dec. 28 and finished third at the Centerville Sweet 16 at Poelking South Lanes last weekend.

Springfield is also seeking its first Greater Western Ohio Conference division championship in school history. They’re 11-0 and 7-0 in the GWOC American Division.

“We have some tough matches coming up,” Beck said. “Our ultimate goal is to win the GWOC and make it to state. We’ve never had a girls team make it to state.”

Springfield leads the GWOC with 937.8 pins per game, more than 40 pins better than defending champion Beavercreek. The Wildcats also lead in the conference in pins per Baker game at 185.6.

Senior Alyssa White is second in the conference with a 209.5 average, while junior Ashley Falke ranks fifth at 205.5. All five bowlers rank in the top-20, including senior Destiny Oty (11th, 185.3), senior Katelyn Shaffer (16th, 176.8) and senior Kenzie Burkhardt (18th, 171.5).

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“We’re well-rounded,” Beck said. “We have six girls and any of them can step in and bowl at any time. There’s really no weak links. In the past, we’ve had a good team, but we’ve had one or two positions where we couldn’t get a decent enough score. We have six girls and any of them can step in and bowl.”

The Wildcats have competed together for multiple seasons and have gotten better each and every year, Beck said.

“The experience and growth has led to this,” he said. “We had a decent year last year, but this year they came back stronger and better than ever. Some of them made sure they kept bowling through the summer. It’s made a world of difference.”

The Wildcats finished sixth in last year’s 20-team GWOC tournament. They hope to make a splash in this season’s nine-team conference championship and advance deep into the postseason.

“They’ve got to continue working hard each day,” Beck said. “Once you get into the postseason, you bowl on different lane conditions than what your typical matches are on during the week. … They’ve just got to keep steady and don’t get too excited or too upset. If they do just what they’re capable of doing, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll be able to advance on and make it to state.”

The Wildcats are enjoying the ride so far, Beck said, especially given where they started. Springfield went 2-10 in the GWOC two years ago.

“Some of them honestly had probably hardly ever picked up a bowling ball outside of a birthday party or something like that,” he said. “To see where they’re at now and competing at the highest level, it’s really neat to watch.”

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