Site: Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, 3224 S. High St., Columbus.
Tickets: $8 per person per day.
Schedule: Girls on Friday; boys Saturday. Team qualifying and individual competition, 11 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Team championship competition, 4:15 p.m.
Hubbard: (Yvonne Force, sr., Amanda Wess, jr., Mia Brown, sr., Samantha Dudley, jr., Brittany Ferrara, soph., Lauren Miller, soph., Jenna Wise, soph., Sarah Wise, soph. Coach, Carol Kozbial)
Boardman: (Tiffany Terlecki, sr., Tiffany Heffron, sr., Tiffany Dugan, sr., Becca Babic, jr., Lindsey Dugan, soph., Katie Heffron, fr. Coach, Al Dohar)
Fitch: (Vickie Berquist, sr., Daria Harris, sr., Marietta Gallo, sr., Katie Viglio, fr., Delorean Jones, sr., Kristen Dota, sr., Victoria Phelps, sr., Molly Custer, jr. Coach, Don Morrison.)
Marissa Simon, soph., Liberty (Coach, Jim Bryant)
Struthers (Joe DiLoreto, sr., Nick Gigax, jr., Cory Bayus, jr., Tyler Serich, sr., Pat Stevenson, sr., Keith Auman, sr., Dan DiLoreto, fr., Matt Thomas, soph. Coach, Bob Eisenbraun Jr.)
Rickey Evans, jr., Liberty (Coach, Jim Bryant)
Hubbard’s girls team will be making its fourth straight trip to the state bowling tournament and Struthers’ boys team will compete at state for a third straight season.
Both, along with the Boardman and Fitch girls teams and two individuals, will give their best effort this weekend at Wayne Webb Bowl in Columbus.
Liberty’s Marissa Simon was the lone individual to advance on the girls’ side.
Liberty’s Rickey Evans was also an individual qualifier. The junior will join Struthers as area representatives among boys.
Hubbard coach Carol Kozbial’s team has a full head of steam after going 15-0 in the regular season, before wining sectional and district crowns.
This will also mark the fifth time that Hubbard will be at state.
The Eagles placed third at state in 2010 after losing to eventual champion Boardman. The finish was Hubbard’s highest ever, said Kozbial, who has been the Eagles’ girls coach for all 11 seasons.
Hubbard senior Yvonne Force has been on three tournament teams, starting with her sophomore year, while juniors Samantha Dudley and Amanda Wess are other three-timers, starting as freshmen.
Dudley finished third at state last winter.
Sophomore Brittany Ferrara is a back-to-back state teammate as is senior Mia Brown, who traveled with the Eagles as a junior.
“We’re where we expected to be,” Kozbial said, emphatically. “Some did a lot of summer and offseason work and bowled in the junior program.”
Jenna Wise, Sara Wise and Lauren Miller are three sophomores who stepped into starting positions temporarily vacated during the regular season.
“They’ve scored well, so they fit in,” Kozbial said. “They’re getting their experience for the next couple years.”
Ferrara’s average is 207 followed by Force’s 204.
“They’re very hard working and determined and they put their hearts into it and help each other,” Kozbial said. “They’re what I consider a bowling family. They have their differences but they get through them and help each other.”
Brown’s improvement has been considerable: from 152 to the upper 180s.
“She’s been quite a contributor,” Kozbial said. “The other girls expect to bowl well, but Mia kind of sneaks in there and gives them a shove. Still, they’ve all taken their turns.”
The Eagles were 13-0 in AAC matches before unprecedented wins over Boardman and Fitch.
“Those were big wins against good programs,” Kozbial said of the out-of-conference matches.
What will stop the Hubbard Express?
Nick Gigax and Cory Bayus were starters as freshmen on Struthers’ team in 2008 and, a year ago, the pair helped the Wildcats to a best-ever fifth-place finish when Bayus and Gigax were first- and second-team all-state, respectively.
The juniors are among the team’s elite now, although Joe DiLoreto has a team-best 223 average. Gigax is averaging 219 and Bayus 218.
Two state-bound bowlers for a third straight time are seniors Tyler Serich and Pat Stevenson. DiLoreto, a senior, is making a repeat appearance, while senior Keith Auman is a first-timer.
Rounding out Bob Eisenbraun Jr.’s squad are sophomore Matt Thomas and freshman Dan DiLoreto.
Struthers’ 2010 team lost to eventual state runnerup Warren Harding.
“There are no surprises,” Eisenbraun said of team expectations for 2010-2011. “The kids expected it of themselves,” the coach said of the results to far this season.
The Wildcats, whose only blemish on a 14-1 record inflicted by Fitch, won both sectional and district tournaments in February.
“We’ve got a pretty strong team,” Eisenbraun said of a squad that only lost one senior [John Cowher].
Stevenson stepped into the spot vacated by a graduated Cowher.
Armed with 7/8ths of its artillery from 2010, Struthers won’t settle for much less than the pinnacle.
“They want the title,” Eisenbraun said, “and they’re good enough to do it. They want the whole thing, but they’ve got to have breaks go their way.”