Bowling is known first as an individual sport. Just don’t tell that to the Springfield Wildcats boys and girls teams.
This season they have come to believe in the “team” mantra. And now they’ve advanced together for the first time to the Division I district tournament, scheduled for Thursday at Beaver-vu Lanes in Beavercreek.
The somewhat unique coaching approach to the sport is not a mistake, said veteran boys coach Ray Davis, who in his seventh season is the only varsity boys coach the school has had. He took the job when North and South high schools merged in 2008 and bowling became a varsity sport for the first time.
“The key is this is the first year that the guys have bought into the concept that this is a team sport,” he said. “We went to three Bakers tournaments this year where there weren’t any individual scoring kept and won one, and I think that helped.
“That’s been the mantra all year, not to worry about all-GWOC (Greater Western Ohio Conference) honors but just focus on the team,” he added.
The Springfield boys advanced to district for the second time in school history after a fifth-place finish at last week’s sectionals.
Junior Bryce Baumgartner (208 season’s average, 553 series a sectionals) led the way, while sophomore Nate McGlothin (191, 530), junior Jacob Beck (200, 516) and seniors Cody Cooper (186, 514) and Sebastian Sharp (191, 480) were not far behind.
All the success should help the program continue to grow.
“I think this is going to help,“ said Davis. “I told the boys this is the best team we’ve had, and the girls have broken tons of school records and I think that they are the best girls team we’ve ever had top to bottom. I think the success the girls had (at sectionals) is going to be good going forward. They feed off each other.”
The Wildcats girls also finished fifth in their sectional to earn their first district berth.
They were led by seniors Mackenzie Bacon (178 season’s average, 558 series at sectionals) and Brianna Frantz (180, 549) and sophomore Sarah Oliver (165, 539). Senior Brianna Berg (170, 450), junior Courtney Kaffenbarger (142 average) and sophomore Kayleigh Haddix also competed. A strong team performance in the Baker games (fourth-highest score out of 22 schools) was a big lift.
“It’s absolutely a step in the right direction,” said Mike Beck, in his second year at the girls’ helm. “The teams we bowl against and the teams in our conference are very, very good. I think three of the four teams that advanced out of our district to the state came out of our (GWOC Central) division.
“We’re pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished,” he added.
That includes smashing several school records, including one-game team score during a match (980), and best two-game (1,919), three-game (2,591) scores. They also had their best GWOC tourney finish (seventh) and beat two-time D-II state qualifier Mechanicsburg head-to-head.
“We don’t have a standout bowler who is averaging in the 220s-230s,” said Beck. “Most of the teams we bowl against have one or two of those. We can’t rely on that one individual, so you have to have a team approach.”
And it is working splendidly for both teams.
The Tecumseh boys team also advanced to Thursday’s D-I district tourney with an eighth-place finish at sectionals. The top nine teams advanced. Junior Matthew Brown led the way for the Arrows with a 585, good for sixth overall individually, followed by senior Zach Helm (510). Senior Caleb Collins (490), junior Dylan Terrell (414) and junior Jay Woosley also competed.
The Tecumseh girls did not advance.