The Jonathan Alder High School bowling teams got a chance last weekend to test themselves against some of the very best teams in the state at the Ohio State Buckeye Classic held at HP Lanes in Columbus. As it turns out, the Pioneers proved they can compete with anyone.
The Lady Pioneers captured their second tournament title of the season winning the 10th Annual Buckeye Classic. The ladies bowled team games of 759-870-781 and added Baker games of 145, 141, 202, 142, 151 and 142 to qualify fourth in qualifying, edging out defending 2016 D-II state Champion Mechanicsburg by 72 pins to advance to the semifinal.
In the semifinal, Alder defeated D-I state tournament qualifier Gahanna Lincoln (2-1) in best of three Baker games. In the finals the Ladies knocked off Springfield Kenton Ridge (2-1) to capture the tournament title.
Mackenzie Heimlich had a memorable weekend. On Friday, Jan. 6 she committed to bowl in college at Urbana University and on Saturday Mackenzie earned All-Tournament Team Honors finishing in fourth place (out of 122) with games of 139-234-192 for a total series of 565. Junior lefty Rena Kirts finished ninth with a 526 (183-150-193) (526), other scores included Trisha Fox (468), Rachel Kaeser (462) and Hallie Nichols (389).
“All of the ladies bowled outstanding and stepped up when shots and spares were needed,” coach Rusty Walter said. “They defeated two really good tournament tested teams in the finals. The lane conditions were difficult and striking was hard, so our good spare shooting came into play once again and was the deciding factor.”
The Alder boys team finished 12th out of the 26 team field. It turned in team games of 745, 902, and 865 and added Baker games of 151, 175, 137, 123, 137 and 188.
Zach Otto led the Pioneer boys by finishing 21st out of 144 boys with a 562 series (157, 212, 193). He was followed by Brandon Nichols (516), Andrew Clark (511) and Nathan Sullivan (502).
“Overall scores were low and the boys struggled little bit on the hard oil pattern early in the day,” Walter said. “Zach bowled pretty good after a rough first game. The team just had one bad individual score each team game, and that was the difference.
“The boys are working pretty hard on their bowling games, as a team we’re going to focus on improving our consistency, and always spare shooting, and believing they can compete with anybody.”
On Saturday, Jan. 14, the teams travel to Washington Court House and Le-Ella Lanes for a 16-game Baker tournament.
“We’ll get to see some good teams from Southwestern Ohio,” the coach said.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.