Bowling begins its second annual state tournament as an OHSAA-sanctioned sport this weekend at Tiki Lanes in Lancaster.
The boys' tournament is Friday starting at 11 a.m., while the girls' tournament is Saturday starting at the same time.
The state team championship match in the boys' and girls' competitions will be televised on a tape-delay basis March 4 at 8 p.m. on SportsTime Ohio, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The boys' and girls' finals will be combined into a two-hour program.
There are several standout teams across the state that will compete, including defending state champion Coldwater, which scored 5,043 in the district tournament.
Coldwater coach Rick Hartings said his squad is looking forward to the opportunity at state this weekend.
“Our kids love the big-time atmosphere when there is more on the line,” Hartings said. “They have been in a lot of pressure situations in the past and they have had a lot of success. We lost three seniors from last year's squad, but we have had guys really step up this year. They are excited and I feel we should do very well.”
Senior Josh Waltmire (683) and junior Wes Stienecker (652) had the high series for Coldwater at district.
“These two guys were our low series in sectionals, but stepped it up big time in districts,” Hartings said.
“They both have experience from last year's state tournament and I feel they will bowl very well.”
Kettering Fairmont, which was third at state last season, also qualified this weekend with a 5,343 score at district. Senior Liam Dickey and junior Ryan Cassidy each had a 650 series at district. Cassidy had a high game of 256.
Riverside Stebbins, which was Southwest District champions, qualified to state with a score of 5,472.
Sophomore Johnathon Miller had a 760 series, including a high game of 268.
Miller has a 225 average and has bowled a 300 this season, according to Stebbins coach Don Brown.
Other members of the Stebbins state roster include senior Jesse Beal (203 average), senior Chris Lutz (195), sophomore Chase Kolozsi (210) and sophomore Chase Carter (213).
Stebbins was 10th at state last season, but has higher expectations this weekend.
“Last year we were even younger and were thrilled to death just to be the first team in the history of Stebbins to qualify as a team for a state tournament,” Brown said. “This year we're not just content to be here, (but) we honestly believe we have a chance to win.”
Centerville, which was third at the district tournament, has a strong Baker team which could make a significant difference, according to coach Greg Coulles.
“If we qualify in the top eight after the team games, we believe we can be very competitive in the championship best three of five Baker round,” Coulles said.
Troy and Cincinnati Elder were also qualifying teams from the Southwest District.
Cincinnati Anderson, Chaminade-Julienne, Springfield Kenton Ridge, Urbana and West Chester Lakota West had individual qualifiers.
For the girls, the Greater Western Ohio Conference was well-represented in the Southwest District as five of the top six schools that advanced were from the conference.
Kettering Fairmont was first, followed by Centerville (second), Troy (third), Fairborn (fourth) and Beavercreek (sixth).
Cincinnati McAuley was the fifth team to qualify to state from the Southwest District.
Beavercreek won the state title last year, followed by Fairborn (second) and Centerville (third).
Fairmont was led at district by senior Holly Ramsey, who had a 618 series (233 high game).
Centerville was led at district by junior Kate Slanker with a 629 high series (235 high game).
Among other teams that advanced included Coldwater, Troy and Fairborn.
Cincinnati Winton Woods, Tipp City Tippecanoe, Urbana, Cincinnati Sycamore, Fairfield and Bellefontaine had individual qualifiers.
Jazmine Burton of Winton Woods had a 597 series to lead all individual qualifiers at the Southwest District tournament.