Two Miami Trace High School student-athletes turned in outstanding performances earlier this week.
Senior Connor Collins and sophomore Onesti Evans both won the Division I District bowling titles in the tournament held at Zanesville’s Sunrise Bowling Center March 1.
It is the second State qualification for Collins and the first for Evans.
Collins bowled games of 246, 194 and 188 for a 628 series to place first out of 55 bowlers.
Evans won the District with games of 227, 160 and 154 for a 541 series. Forty-six girls competed in the Division I District at Zanesville.
Collins will bowl at State on Friday, March 11 and Evans will compete on Saturday.
Miami Trace’s boys team placed second for the second year in a row.
The Panthers had a pin total of 2,549 for three games and a 1,069 score in six baker games for a combined 3,618 total.
Sheridan won the District championship and advances its team to State with a 3,840 total.
Senior Jayden Brown bowled a 520 series (games of 179, 185 and 156); sophomore Jake Manbevers had game scores of 136, 166 and 176 for a 478 series.
Sophomore Bryce Stuckey bowled one game of 174, sophomore Jonah Goddard bowled a 123 and senior Chris Evans had a 122 game score.
Miami Trace’s girls team placed third at the Districts with a combined total pin count of 2,885.
The Lady Panthers had a three-game total of 2,070 and six baker games totalling 815.
Hillsboro won the District championship with a total score of 3,285 with three bowlers placing in the top 10.
For Miami Trace, senior Alexis Arledge had games of 175, 135 and 145 for a 455 series; senior Lindsay Stump had a 344 series (game scores of 104, 126 and 114); senior Macie Caudill bowled games of 145 and 118 and senior Emmalee Glispie bowled a 131 game.
Chillicothe was second at the District and Jackson was sixth.
On the boys’ side, Chillicothe was fourth and Jackson was sixth. Hillsboro’s boys team won the Division II District and will compete at State this weekend.
“After the very first game, we were only two pins behind Hillsboro,” Miami Trace head coach Diane Amore said. The score after the first game was 774 to 772.
“We were still in second place after the second game, but we dropped to third after that,” Amore said. “We couldn’t make it up in the baker games.
“I was impressed with the girls,” Amore said. “They all stepped up and did the best they could.
“Onesti did very well,” Amore said. “The conditions are a little different when you go on to the Districts. At this particular house (Zanesville’s Sunrise Center), the lanes are wooden, so the ball rolls a little differently. You have to stand in a different spot.”
Shawnee Lanes in Chillicothe, where the Sectional is held and LeElla Lanes in Washington Court House, have synthetic lanes, Amore said.
“I only have two who will be returning next year,” Amore said. “The rest of the girls are seniors. Next year is going to be a building year, so, hopefully Onesti steps up and takes the lead.”
A player’s first time at the State bowling tournament can be overwhelming, Amore said.
It’s certainly not for the claustrophobic, as the bowling center can be very crowded, at least for the spectators.
“Just to get there is an honor,” Amore said. “Just to be there is an experience. She’s going to be nervous, that’s just a fact of life, but I think she’ll do well.”
Asked how she was feeling during the District tournament, Evans replied, stressed.
“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to go to State,” Evans said. “I wanted to work hard and progress during the year to get to State, but, I never thought it would happen.
“It was a relief that I got to go,” Evans said. “Everybody (in the tournament) is a great bowler.”
What about expectations or goals for the State?
“I really just hope to have close to a 180 or 190 average,” Evans said.
Collins had a very successful State tournament debut last year as a junior, placing third in a field of the 119 best bowlers in the state in Division I.
“(Tuesday) was good,” Collins said. “The pattern was definitely challenging. It beat you down, physically and mentally.”
There was no room to miss, Collins said.
“The outsides were flooded,” Collins said. “There was a lot of oil in the middle and a lot on the outside. If you kept it in, you’d get a little bit of a hold. If you got it too far in, it was dry and it would hit the Brooklyn side. If you got the ball too far out, it wouldn’t come back because there was too much oil on the outside. So you had to play that happy medium.
“You just have to keep making your spares and making your spares and that challenges you, mentally,” Collins said. “I obviously missed a couple of spares, but, I missed few enough.”
A fast start was the key to success for both Collins and Evans.
Collins had the top score of the day on the boys’ side with a 246 and Evans led the way on the girls’ side with a tournament-best 227. She was the only female to bowl over 200, although senior Madisyn Gilbert of Chillicothe did have a 199 game.
Their scores, respectively, went down after that, but Collins was able to win by 36 pins and Evans by 18 pins.
“I hope to do well,” Collins said. “Last year I shot pretty well, which I am thankful for. I want first, as everybody does. I think I can go this year and focus and work at it. My goal is just to make First Team again, that would be great. First Team is one through eight.”
“Connor is a pretty good bowler,” Miami Trace head coach Ron Amore Sr. said. “He listens pretty well most of the time. He’s like a lot of young kids once in a while, they get a little, ‘I don’t think that’s going to work’, until you show them that it will.
“He just has to stay focused on the job at hand, and that’s making the next shot,” Amore said. “I tell them all that. That’s the thought from the time we start the program in the fall until now when we’re looking at the State tournament.
“You play this game one shot at a time,” Amore said. “I don’t care if it’s the spare or the strike. And you have to focus on that shot. Sometimes they want to throw a shot and get upset on the first ball when they don’t get a strike. Then they lose their trend of thought and miss the easy spare. Every time you miss a spare, that’s a potential 11 points off your score. If you do that two or three times a game, that’s 20-30 pins a game and that’s a lot.
“Most of our kids work hard, they really do,” Amore said. “But Connor is an exception in that his ability is a lot more natural than some of them. But, he works hard at it. He has ever since he was a freshman.
“I feel very blessed to have been able to coach Connor,” Amore said. “They announced last year that if you make it to the State tournament, you’re in the top one percent of the high school bowlers in the state of Ohio. Just to make it there. He was fortunate enough to earn the No. 3 spot out of 119 last year.”
And Amore’s thoughts of Collins’ second appearance at State?
“You always go with the intention to win,” Amore said. “It may not work out that way in the end, but, you have to believe that before you start.
“You have to believe in yourself,” Amore said. “There’s no question that confidence is a huge part of this game. Connor has good confidence most of the time.”