SIDNEY — Five solid seniors, including the eventual Miami Valley League’s bowler of the year, had Sidney High School coach Trent Knoop feeling optimistic about the Yellow Jackets’ season.
But undefeated optimistic?
“I expected a good season. I truthfully didn’t expect to go undefeated,” Knoop said of his Yellow Jackets, who went 15-0 during the regular season. “I thought we’d have one or two losses in there. We had a great year.”
The Yellow Jackets secured the overall MVL title by finishing second in the league’s tournament on Sunday. They aren’t done yet.
The boys bowling team rolls into the Division I sectional tournament Wednesday at Poelking Lanes South in Dayton. Sidney finished fourth at the sectional tournament last season. The top 10 teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament.
At district, the top five teams and top five individuals qualify for state. Sidney finished 16th at district last season.
The Yellow Jackets are confident they can get through the sectional this season and improve on that district finish, especially behind those seniors. Jaxon Rickey led the Miami Valley League with his 225 scoring average.
“He’s got the experience. He’s been bowling since he was a kid,” Knoop said. “The biggest thing with Jaxson is he struggled with his mental game as a freshman and sophomore, even some last year as a junior year, and he’s really worked on that. Now he’s able to stay more even-keeled. It’s made a big part in his game staying level headed.”
Logan Finke (205), Drake Cromes (203), Harrison Fisher (187) and Brodey Morrow (172) combine with sophomore Kaden Abbott (195) to give Sidney quality depth. Finke rolled his first career 300 game at Greenville on Feb. 10.
Rickey was joined on the MVL’s all-conference first-team by Finke and Cromes. Fisher was named second team.
“When I started coaching (in 2016) I definitely inherited a really good group. This team, we have six really good bowlers along with Jaxson,” Knoop said. “I really think this team is as good as that state team, just from the depth perspective.
“This is the year to do it. We have three or four guys coming back next year that can still bowl so I think we can still be pretty good next year. But obviously this is the year to get it done.”
Sidney competes in one of the toughest sectionals and districts in the state with fellow MVL members Butler and Troy, who shared the MVL Miami Division title, and standouts from the Greater Western Ohio Conference including Beavercreek, Centerville and Northmont.
“Those two conferences I feel are the best in Ohio,” Knoop said. “Unfortunately that’s where we’re stuck at so we have to battle those guys to get out of sectional and district to get to state. They produce great high school bowlers and it’s always been that way.”
The Sidney girls compete at their sectional tournament on Thursday at Poelking South. The top 10 teams quality to district.
Sophomore Sarah Bell led the team with a 156 average and was followed by senior Camryn Smith (144), sophomore Emma Hurley (142), junior Kate Miller (139) and sophomore Cassie Trudeau (110). The Yellow Jackets finished 5-9 overall and 4-5 in the MVL.
Bell was named to the MVL’s second team.
“I do think they have a good chance. They have as solid of a chance as anyone making it to district,” Knoop said. “We need to get a couple girls on fire, get them going and I think they can do it.”