The Jonathan Alder boys and girls bowling teams are being tested this season thanks in large part to a beefed up schedule coach Rusty Walter put together. Both teams have aspirations of returning to the Division II state championship tournament this year and the coach is ensuring they’ll be battle tested if they qualify.
Both squads competed in the 12th Annual Ohio High School Invitational State “Kick-Off” Tournament held at Columbus Square Bowling Palace Saturday, Dec. 5. The tournament is the nation’s largest all varsity bowling tournament with 32 varsity girls and 30 varsity boys teams.
The Pioneers boys team struggled a little in the qualifying round and failed to advance to the Sweet 16 bracket, as they finished 24th. Broderick Besinger led the boys team with a 579 series (179-220-180).
The Alder girls team advanced to the Sweet 16 bracket by finishing 14th in the qualifying round led by Mackenzie Heimlich’s 571 series (174-210-187), senior Kaylee Griest’s 558 (210-175-173) and Rena Kirts’ 554 (188-202-164).
In the quarterfinals, the Pioneers drew D-II state powerhouse and No. 3 seed Mechanicsburg and dropped a tough match (3-1), falling 196-176, 208-134, 159-189 and 179-134.
“The girls bowled great against Mechanicsburg and against a very stiff field of the best D-I and D-II teams in the state,” Walter said.
Alder splits at Marion Harding
Jonathan Alder teams split matches against Marion Harding Monday, Dec. 7 at Blue Fusion Lanes in Marion.
The boys team improved to 3-1 in dual matches with a 2,465-2,410 win over the host Presidents. The team tossed games of 1,026 and 1,054, and added Baker games of 193 and 192. Besinger led the Pioneers boys with a two-game series of 492 (278-214), Zach Otto added a 475 (208-267), Sawyer Fleming checked in with a 390 (182-208) and Brandon Nichols finished with a 395 (189-206).
The Lady Pioneers came out on the losing end of the matchup with Harding, falling to 2-2 in dual matches after the 1,958-1,885 decision. Heimlich rolled her way to a 408 two-game series (223-185), Griest recorded a 326 (201-125), Kirts finished with a 314 (148-166).
Pioneers sweep Fairbanks
The Pioneers squads swept their series with neighboring Fairbanks in a MOAC Red Division match played at Marysville Lanes.
The boys improved to (4-1, 2-0 in MOAC) with a 2,413-1,961 win. Alder tossed team games of 1,043 and 954, to go along with Baker games of 205 and 211. The Pioneers was led by Fleming (254-202), Besinger (195-218), Andrew Clark (223-179), Otto (175-219) Brandon Nichols (196).
“The boys put in a good two matches this week after not bowling so well at the Kick Off Classic. It was good to see them gain some confidence back heading into the Pioneer Baker Tournament Saturday,” Walter said.
The girls rolled a season-high series to top the Panthers 2,050-1,594. The Lady Pioneers improved to (3-2, 1-1) by tossing team games of 868 and 832 while adding Baker games of 149 and 200. Heimlich (207-167), Trisha Fox (175-180), Kirts (176-154), Rachel Kaeser (151-171) and Griest (159-160) were on top of their games.
Jonathan Alder will play host to its first ever Pioneer Baker Invitational Tournament Saturday, Dec. 12, at Plain City Lanes. There will be 10 boys and girls teams competing. The boys tourney will begin at 9 a.m. and the girls event will begin at 1 p.m.
The teams participating will include North Union, Buckeye Valley, Northmoor, Marion Elgin, Cardington, Washington Court House, Miami Trace, Eastmoor Academy, Southeastern and host Jonathan Alder. Teams will be bowling 10 Baker games. The top four teams will compete in a best of three finals.