By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Elder opened the 2018-19 bowling season by competing in two tournaments packed with solid competition, finishing second in the season-opening Elks Invitational hosted by Centerville High School and held at Poelking Lanes South two weekends ago, and then followed that up by coming in at No. 11 in the prestigious Ohio High School State Invitational “Kick-Off” Tournament this past weekend at the Columbus Square Bowling Palace.
At Centerville, the first event of the winter season and a total pin count tournament with the format consisting of three regular games and 10 Baker Format games, Elder had an opening game of 1172 led by junior Ethan Boyers with a 266. After the first game, Elder led Beavercreek by 80 pins. The Panthers remained strong in the second game, with a 1087 led by juniors Ryan Kaffenberger (last year’s Greater Catholic League South Division Bowler of the Year) and Tylar Jansing, both with a 267. Still maintaining a 33-pin lead over Beavercreek, the Panthers struggled to an 865 to trail at the break by 104.
Once competition started up again in the Baker games, the Panthers remained firmly in second place. Elder averaged 197.5 for the 10 Baker games. Boyers and Jansing tied for fourth on the All-Tournament Team, with a 656. Kaffenberger and junior Cameron Brocker came in 16th and 20th, respectively.
Elder’s Varsity A Team made the trek to Columbus this past Saturday to compete in the invitation-only “Kick-Off” Tournament comprising league champions and runners-up from competition last season. The event, celebrating its 15-year anniversary, featured eight of the 16 State qualifiers from last year’s state tournament, including defending Divisions I and II state champions in Celina and Mechanicsburg, respectively.
The Panthers, coming off of a 125-pin victory at No. 3 Fairfield during the week, started the tournament with a 764, leaving them at No. 31 of the 34 competing teams. Elder bounced back with a 1019, led by Jansing’s 266. This was the event’s second-highest game and one of only three games rolled in excess of 1000 in the entire field. This helped the Panthers ascend to eighth place, needing to be in the top 16 teams to advance.
Elder then rolled a 916 (well ahead of the field average of 863) in the third game, led by Jansing again with a 226. Kaffenberger led the team with a 586 and was No. 26 overall in the tournament. Elder finished qualifying with two Baker games of 367 total to wind up in sixth place after qualifying. Elder drew Westerville South as its first-round opponent and lost, 3-0.
The Panthers, who finished No. 11 in the talent-laden field, open GCL South play this week by facing Moeller twice – at 4 p.m. this afternoon at Crossgate Lances and then again at 7 p.m. Thursday at Western Bowl. The Crusaders also competed in the season-opening Elks Invitational and finished at No. 18. Elder will compete in the Holiday Classic on Sunday at Western Bowl.