SIDNEY — The names are different this season for the Sidney High School boys bowling team. The goal remains the same.
Sidney, which returned two varsity bowlers from last season’s OHSAA Division I state championship team, attempts for a return trip to Columbus at the district championships on Wednesday. The top five teams and top five bowlers not on qualifying teams advance to the D-I state tournament March 6 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
Sidney junior Sarah Bell advanced to the D-I girls district meet on Thursday. She’ll shoot for one of five qualifying spots for individuals not on a qualifying team. The girls state tournament is March 5, also at Columbus Bowl.
“Like I told the kids going into sectionals, it’s just bowling,” Knoop said. “Just because it’s at a different level now, you’re just bowling. You’re doing what you’ve been doing your entire high school career. That’s how you have to look at it. Don’t look at the pressure situations. Just bowl.”
The Sidney boys shot 3,984 to finish sixth at the district meet last week at Poelking Woodman Lanes in Kettering. Troy won the sectional title with 4,230.
Junior Jarred Kirk led the Yellow Jackets with a three-game total 590. He was followed by junior Kaden Abbott (587), senior Sam Bailey (564) and freshman Jayce Kirk (517). Freshman Keaton Fisher bowled a two-game 348 and senior Blaine McClain a one-game 143.
Sidney was in 15th place after the regular games, five spots out of a district qualifying spot. They rallied during the Baker games. The Yellow Jackets bowled Baker games of 241, 203, 180, 203, 193 and 215 for an average of 205.8.
“We had an absolute dominating Baker,” Knoop said. “It skyrocketed us to No. 6.”
The boys district tournament also includes Troy, Fairborn and Xenia from the Miami Valley League. Troy won the MVL overall title and Miami Division title, while Sidney won the Valley Division. The Greater Western Ohio Conference also makes a strong appearance with Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairmont and Wayne.
Cincinnati Elder won the D-I sectional title for the southern schools and was followed in the top three by LaSalle and Wilmington. For comparison, Sidney would have finished fourth in that sectional, and three pins away from third.
“Our district, I believe it’s far and away the toughest district around. It’s always, always a slug fest to get (to state),” Knoop said. “We have to have a good day. We need to have one good day and see what happens.”
Sidney will count on its veteran leadership from Kirk and Abbott, who both competed on Sidney’s state title team in 2020. Abbott finished fifth in the MVL with a 208.6 average and Kirk was eighth at 197.7.
“I think they are going to help out their teammates with their experience and what they’ve gone through. They know what the pressure is like. They know what the situation is like. They’re both good leaders,” Knoop said.
“They’ve both been here before and they know what they’re doing. They know how to handle themselves. It all comes down to spare shooting and I think both of them are doing that at a high level right now.”
Bell finished 19th overall at the sectional tournament with a 533 series.
Also competing at sectional for the Yellow Jackets – who had five bowlers on the team this season – were senior Kate Miller (408), junior Emma Hurley (449), sophomore Desiree Beck (299) and freshman Liann Morris (436). Sidney finished 16th as a team with 2,125. Xenia won the sectional title with 3,819.
“I think Sarah has as good of a shot as anybody to qualify,” Knoop said. “She had a really good day. Her spare shooting is at a really good level right now, which is huge. I think if she has a day like she did at sectional she definitely has a shot.
“We have at least one girl coming up next year who will make an immediate impact. The future is bright (for the girls team).”