The Cedar Crest and Warwick bowling teams had banner seasons last year.
But the two teams may be traveling different paths this season, with the Falcons returning the bulk of their lineup while the Warriors will have some holes to fill.
Including those two teams, here are five things to watch this season, which got under way Tuesday, in Lancaster-Lebanon League bowling.
Cedar Crest brought home three titles from last year’s state tournament. Boys winner Kolby Bennett and girls champ Paige Boyd are both back for the Falcons this year, and the seniors will anchor the team that won the state boys title last year. Only one member of that team was a senior.
Along the way, Bennett and Boyd each won L-L crowns, with Bennett getting his second in three years and Boyd repeating. Darren Zombro, as just a freshman, won the District Three boys championship.
Bennett finished second in the league with a 221 average and Boyd was third among the girls at 214.
That obviously gives first-year coach Joey Leal some lofty expectations, saying repeats of his squad’s state titles certainly are within reach.
Warwick is the defending L-L team champion, after going 84-7 during the regular season. The Warriors also won the Eastern Regional boys title and finished second to Cedar Crest at states.
But they’ll be missing three outstanding bowlers who graduated: Isaac Erickson, Tony Lutz and Ashley Sham. Erickson had the top average (219), was second in the L-L tournament and won the Eastern Regional. Lutz (212) was second at the District Three Championships and fifth at states, while Sham was the top L-L girls bowler (218), was second at districts and third at regionals.
Helping to cushion the blow of those losses, however, are Tyler Miller (213), a Section Two all-star, and Carter Snavely (205).
“We look forward to the challenge of reloading our team into a section and league championship contender,” commented Warwick coach Neal Vital in an email.
Here are some teams and bowlers to keep an eye on this season:
Section One: Penn Manor — The Comets were 66-25 last season and return Gavin Davidson (213). The Comets lost to Warwick in the L-L finals after having won the previous five league titles to go with three straight state crowns. Manheim Township — The improving Streaks, who placed eighth at states last year, return Matt Iseman (207).
Section Three: Cocalico — For the second straight year, the Eagles had the league’s best overall record at 87-4. They lost the No. 2 girls bowler in Sections 3-4 (KC Miller, 202), but section all-stars Tyrus Current (201) and Tristan Current (195) return. “We are looking to continue our regular season success and going further in the playoffs than last year’s fourth place in the L-L,” said Cocalico coach Bryan Miller. Garden Spot — The Spartans were 70-21 last year and section all-star Trevor Courtney (208 average) leads a solid group of returnees.
Section Four: Northern Lebanon had the third best record in the league at 82-9 and brings back its entire team, led by Aliza Shirk (204), who was second in the L-L tournament and fourth at states.
Bowlers who are back after earning L-L all-star selection last year include (with averages):
Section One: Bennett, Zombro (219) and Boyd, Cedar Crest.
Section Two: Zack Trimmer (220), Lebanon; Tyler Miller (213), Warwick.
Section Three: Courtney, Garden Spot; Tyrus Current and Tristan Current, Cocalico; Brandon Henry (195), Manheim Central.
Section Four: Aliza Shirk, Bryce Lentz (198) and Cameron Strickler (176), Northern Lebanon; and Matt Zeamer (189), Lancaster Catholic.
Mark your calendar
Here are some dates to note for the upcoming season:
Dec. 14: Icebreaker Classic, Dutch Lanes, Ephrata.
Dec. 21: SnowRoller Showdown, Leisure Lanes, Mountville.
Feb. 10-11: L-L League team championships, Palmyra Bowling.
Feb. 13: L-L League boys singles championships, Clearview Lanes, Mount Joy.
Feb. 14: L-L League girls singles championships, Dutch Lanes, Ephrata.
Feb. 22: District Three Championships, Clearview Lanes. Feb. 28-29: Eastern Regional Championships, Leisure Lanes and Dutch Lanes. March: Pennsylvania State High School Championships, date and site TBD.