The Jonathan Alder boys bowling team has tasted success over the years, but this year’s team is younger and will need to put in the work if the Pioneers are going to get back to being one of the area’s top programs.
“The boys look pretty good,” coach Rusty Walter said. “We return three starters and key reserves from last year’s team. The key factor for this year’s team is if they let us coach them up, they listen and they respond.
“The boys today know what the boys from the past have done, and they want to be the next team to advance to the state championships. This year’s team doesn’t have two or three super strong players, we have a really good anchor bowler (senior Zach Otto) who can string strikes and smash the pins, (senior Nathan) Sullivan, (sophomore Andrew) Clark, (junior Joshua) Schrock are all very solid players who just need to gain that confidence in pressure situations. This young group will improve, gain confidence, and get better each week by postseason tournament time. They should be ready to compete for a league title, league tournament title and run at the district.”
Alder will lean heavily on Otto. He’s a multi-sport athlete who brings a competitive nature with him every day.
“Zach Otto is our No. 1 bowler, he can compete with any junior or senior in the state. He’s a three-sport athlete (golf, bowling and baseball) is super competitive, practices a lot and really enjoys bowling.
Seniors Nathan Sullivan and Brandon Nichols along with the abilities of Schrock and Clark have the potential to make the Pioneers a major player in big time tournaments.
“Sully is a fourth-year bowler and starter who just rips the cover off the ball. Brandon is making tremendous improvements each week getting stronger better balance and will be in the starting lineup and tournament rotation. Joshua Schrock has been a key reserve the past two seasons and will be a key varsity bowler this season. We’re expecting a breakout year for Andrew, he bowls a lot, is a super smart kid and the coaches have challenged him to work on his spare game.
Freshman Jake Schrock is also a member of the varsity team. Key reserve players include junior Darren Maynard, sophomore Alex Huggins and freshmen Luke Honigford and Trenton Parks.
The Pioneers will once again play in the top tournaments against the top teams in the state. The team has a goal of getting to the district and would love to make it to the state tournament, but the coach knows that would be quite an accomplishment.
“Advancing to the state bowling championships is no easy task,” Walter said. “You have to advance through the sectionals and make the top teams in the district tournament. In the Central District D-II the Girls division advances three teams to the state championships, while the boys division only has two teams to advance. The boys cut line and margin for error is thin. They really have to be on top of their whole bowling game that day. Should be an exciting season. I look for the boys to be a very good team by tournament time and be surprise to a lot teams.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.