Members of the Fairbanks High School boys bowling team are from left, front row, Jacob Nichols, Adam Burke and Anthony Nichols; back row, coach Jeff Ungerer, Grant Hamm, JD Welch, Braxton Wilhelm and Drew Lafon. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
The Fairbanks girls bowling team is pictured from left, front row, Grace Koenig, Lily Dellinger, Sara Nicol and Madeline Headings; back row, coach Stephanie Fairchild, Elizabeth White, Kaylee Mitton, Kenzie Nichols and Katie Dingledine. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
Fairbanks’ boys bowling team is being led this season by lettermen Anthony Nichols, Jacob Nichols and JD Welch.
“They have started the season strong and are improving every game,” said coach Jeff Ungerer.
Grant Hamm has moved up to the varsity after bowling on the junior varsity squad the past two seasons.
He is described by Ungerer as a “consistent spare bowler.”
Braxton Wilhelm, Adam Burke and Drew Lafon have joined the team as first-year bowlers.
“Our starting lineup consists of our returning lettermen, Grant and Braxton,” said Ungerer. “I am really happy to have Braxton this year. He has already rolled a 200 game and is improving.
“Adam and Drew show a lot of promise and I hope they will focus on the consistency necessary to make it into the varsity lineup this season.”
Ungerer said annual bowling powers Mechanicsburg, Greeneview and Greenon will once again be strong in the Ohio Heritage Conference.
However, he hopes the Panthers can make a move in the standings.
“If we could finish third in the OHC, I’d be happy,” he said.
The Panthers earned a trip to the district tournament a year ago and have set a goal of repeating the journey.
“Anthony Nichols was only 35 pins from also qualifying as an individual for the state tournament last year,” said Ungerer. “Our goal is to get him there this year.”
The Lady Panther bowling squad is being led by three lettermen in seniors Kenzie Nichols and Sara Nicol and junior Lily Dellinger.
“Lily is coming back strong this year and is averaging in the high 150’s,” said coach Stephanie Fairchild. “Sara has really picked up her game and has added 25 points to her average from last year.”
A newcomer to the team is freshman Katie Dingledine, who will see some varsity competition during the season.
“Consistency will be the key for Katie, as her total pins vary with a 40-point range from one game to the next,” said Fairchild.
Rounding out the roster are Elizabeth White, Grace Koenig, Kaylee Mitton and Madeline Headings.
Fairchild is dealing with a decline of numbers within the program.
“We don’t have enough girls to have both varsity and JV teams like we’ve had in the past,” she said. “We have eight girls, which is the maximum for one team.
“So few teams in the Ohio Heritage Conference and surrounding areas have JV teams, which makes it hard to get everyone adequate bowling time.”
Fairchild, though, has a definite goal in mind for her squad.
“Focusing on picking up spares will be our main goal this year,” she said. “We leave too many open frames.
“It’s surprising how many kids do not know how to keep score and they don’t have to,” the coach added. “The computers do that for them. Since we’ve been focusing on picking up spares, they have really noticed a change in their scores.
“They understand the relevance of having a high pin count on the ball right after the spare.”
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