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Copley boys bowling program making strides

1/3/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COPLEY — Copley High School boys bowling head coach Brad Bennett said the program is continuing to show strong improvement this season.

“We have come from a club team, with a handful of bowlers, to a varsity sport with 19 boys on our varsity and junior varsity teams,” he said. “This produces a competitive atmosphere, which propels a club team into a team that is in every match, and has now beaten teams who once were classified as unbeatable.”

According to Bennett, the team had records of 2-10 and 4-11 the past two years. But seven matches into this season, Copley was out to a 4-3 start.

“This is a change for the good, and I see the boys improving throughout the season,” he said. “We are relatively young, with three seniors, three juniors, six sophomores and seven freshmen. No one graduated off the boys team last year.”

One key returning bowler was Damon Hickman, a state qualifier last season who finished 54th in Ohio.

“Damon is a senior and has helped build our program by his dedication and skill,” Bennett stated. “Damon helps teammates not only by example, but gives them tips and pointers as they bowl. He has been named first team in the [Greater Summit Bowling Conference] the last two seasons, and currently has a 220 average through 17 games. He is also on the high school bowlers’ honor roll for [the Ohio High School Athletics Association].”

In addition, Bennett said, several other returning bowlers are playing well for the team this year.

“Junior Octavian Rodgers-Smith, called O.T. for short, has the ability to challenge Damon for the top spot. He is growing more confident in that ability and could break out for us in the near future,” the coach stated. “Sophomores Brett Ryan and Jacob Davis are returners that have been solid for us, coming up with some big games when we needed them. Mark Gilger, also a returner, has been in and out of the varsity lineup and has been a go-to person in a few of our matches.”

Seniors Alex Tobin and David Pentella also are stepping up for the squad this season.

“Alex Tobin has just recently broken into the varsity lineup and is steadily improving. He should prove to help us throughout the remainder of the season,” Bennett said. “David Pentella is also improving and is moving up in the ranks and could challenge for a varsity spot soon.”

The coach said his team also features a number of promising underclassmen.

“Four freshmen and one sophomore are keeping the upperclassmen on their toes,” he said. “Zak Sokira has put himself in a good position by constantly increasing his bottom score, which will pay dividends in the future. Harrison Shannon and Brice Miller have been permanent fixtures in the varsity lineup and Jon Ziga and Austin Hassan are getting lots of experience and a taste of the big time.”

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