By John Bombatch
MIAMISBURG — With at least three of the four competing teams considered among the state’s preseason best, Thursday’s high school bowling match between former division rivals Xenia and Miamisburg served as a good measuring stick for the two Greater Western Ohio Conference bowling powers.
When the oil pattern had set on the Poelking South lanes, the Xenia boys (1-1) had claimed their first win of the very young regular season with a 2,265-2,143 win over the previously unbeaten Vikings boys team (3-1); while the previously unbeaten Xenia girls (1-1) fell to the undefeated ‘Burg girls (4-0), 1,911 – 1,657.
The Buccaneer boys contingent is led by returning state Division I individual champ Evan Adkins, who is back for his senior season. A year ago, Adkins made the most of his second trip to the state tournament. He set Division I state tourney records for highest single game (295) and highest three-game series (805) on his way to winning the title.
“We’ll rely on him to be the anchor for our boys team. He has a ton of experience and he has a great foundation for us to build around,” Xenia coach Robert Rose said after Thursday’s boys win. Adkins led the way with a match-high 223-258 — 481 two-game series in the win over the Vikings.
Rose said he has sophomores Cameron McPherson and James McDaniel back. Both have improved over their starting roles last season and should toss games in the 200 range this season, according to their coach. Freshman Zane Eneix has rolled well for Rose since the first day of tryouts, and will likely see plenty of varsity action as well.
Four other Xenia bowlers — Ryan Day, juniors Nick Harbison and Jaden Tackett, and another freshman, Samuel Bahorick — will rotate in at the fifth spot in the varsity lineup. Day rolled a team-high 388 series in a narrow 21-pin season opening loss to Springfield.
The veteran coach expects the Xenia girls to be much improved over last season.
“I have a sophomore — Kailee Palecek — who went to districts last year and bowled really well; I have a young freshman who comes from a bowling family. Her name is Caity Moody. Her dad has a ton of experience and has bowled professionally. She’s also a softball standout, so we’re counting on her; I have a first-year bowler in Sage Turner, who saw her first action today. She’ll be solidly in the lineup.
Moody rolled an impressive 443 series in her Nov. 29 debut in the win over Springfield. She was one pin behind Palecek’s 328 two-game series for high series honors in the Miamisburg loss. Kelly Fullen, Brianna Salazar, Sage Turner and Shayna Caraway also started for the Xenia girls on Thursday.
Rose says Kiersten Channels, Gabby Merriman, and Gillian Miller are also expected to see time in the Buccaneer girls varsity lineup.
Miamisburg coach Tony Ross said that, while it’s disappointing that the longtime GWOC South foes are now in different divisions (Xenia is now in the American South, while Miamisburg is now in the National West), he still appreciates the annual battle with his friend Rose and the Buccaneers.
“When I see these guys, it’s always fun because you know you’re going to get good competition,” Ross said. “Win or lose, we’re still good friends. To be honest with you, we get together and have dinner together. How many coaches do that?”
Perhaps the two veteran coaches will grab a bite together Saturday in Columbus. Rose’s Xenia boys and both of the Miamisburg teams will be competing in the Kick Off Classic bowling tournament, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Columbus at the Columbus Square Bowling Palace.