Bowling: Centerville boys, Fairborn girls start season strong

The Centerville boys bowling team is setting the tone early.

The Elks topped the competitive 20-team field at the Centerville Elks Invitational at Poelking Lanes South last Saturday. The Centerville boys led from wire to wire – from the first qualifying game through the final Baker frame.

It was a welcome win after the Elks faltered a bit late in the Ohio High School Invitational State Kick-Off Tournament a week earlier in Columbus. Centerville led by more than 300 pins after the team games but struggled in the Baker round of the annual tournament.

“We didn’t bowl badly, we just didn’t bowl well enough to win,” Centerville coach Andy Parker said. “We had a couple of bad shots at the wrong time.”

The Elks boys team finished ninth.

“It stung a little but I’m glad it happened when it did so, now, we can learn from it,” Parker said.

Those lessons paid off at the Elks Invitational and so did the team’s experience. With two seniors, two juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen, the Elks have both enthusiastic young bowlers as well as experienced upperclassmen in the mix, including five bowlers who competed on the U.S. High School Bowling National Championship team earlier this year.

“I’ve been telling everyone all summer that we have a better team this year than we did last year,” Parker said. “Our returning bowlers are strong, and our freshmen are very competitive and focused.”

* Skyhawks success: With all six varsity players back in the lineup, the Fairborn girls’ team is ready to roll. The Skyhawks repeated as girls champions at the Centerville Elks Invitational.

Experience is paying dividends for the Skyhawks squad that includes two seniors, three juniors and a sophomore.

“Two years ago, we had a lot of individuals, this year we have a team,” Fairborn coach Jeff Fulton said. “Bowling together the past few years has made a big difference, they really understand each other.”

Seniors Natalie Hanson and Tessa Shearer have the extra motivation of making a final run for a state title. The Fairborn girls finished as runners-up in 2020. They qualified to state last season but didn’t make it to match play.

Opening the season with a tournament win was definitely a confidence booster.

“Going in, I felt like they could win it, but I don’t think they did,” Fulton said. “The confidence from this is fantastic.”

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