Like most of the high school athletes in the 2020-21 school year, for Lancaster-Lebanon League bowlers, just being able to compete on the lanes was considered a success.
And there was success on the lanes, though not as much as some years. But that was partly because pared-down postseason tournaments — altered because of the COVID-19 pandemic — took away some opportunities available in the past.
Here’s a look back at the L-L bowling season.
Young and old
Two L-L boys got to the Pennsylvania State High School Championships. They were the league’s only representatives at the state tournament, which was held March 20-21 near Pittsburgh.
Hempfield freshman Derick Keller, who Black Knights' coach Tom Degnan noted numerous times should be among the bowlers to beat for years to come, got to states by posting a fifth-place finish at the Eastern Regional Championships on March 13-14 at Leisure Lanes.
Keller was joined in Pittsburgh by Manheim Township senior Drew Jaquith, who Keller beat 251-179 in the fifth-place match at Regionals.
Neither bowler, however, qualified for the stepladder finals at states, with Jaquith finishing seventh and Keller 10th.
In previous years, several other L-L bowlers and teams would have qualified for the state tournament, but because of restrictions due to the pandemic, the numbers were limited. Only eight individuals and three teams advanced, half the usual number.
Cedar Crest’s Darren Zombro III, Warwick’s Matt Geib, Northern Lebanon’s Aliza Shirk and Penn Manor’s Delaney Reitnauer missed qualifying for states in singles under the new rules, as did the Elizabethtown and Cedar Crest boys teams.
Of course, even more L-L bowlers might have reached states if the number who qualified for regionals hadn’t also been reduced.
Five L-L bowlers reached the District Three Championships’ modified bracket finals Feb. 27 in Reading, with one rolling for the title.
Another outstanding freshman, Northern Lebanon’s Morgan Kline, was the top qualifier among the girls, earning a bye into the semifinals. She defeated McCaskey’s Julee Getz 233-191 before falling to Governor Mifflin’s Camryn Brown 285-201 in the final.
Getz got to the semifinals with a 178-145 win in the quarterfinals.
For the boys, Zombro and Manheim Township’s Nick Tomlinson reached the semifinals. Zombro defeated Ephrata’s Andrew Barnica 172-151 in the quarterfinals and Tomlinson advanced with a 244-166 rout.
There is no district team tournament.
Warwick’s Tyler Miller ended an impressive run by Daniel Eberle of Elizabethtown to win the league boys singles title Feb. 24 at Leisure Lanes.
Eberle posted games of 244, 197, 256 and 269 over the second round and stepladder finals before running out of gas against Miller, who posted the top qualifying mark of 2,068 pins to earn a bye into the final. Miller topped Eberle 269-187.
Northern Lebanon’s Aliza Shirk repeated as L-L girls champion with a 200-192 win over Elizabethtown’s Eryn Moore in the final.
Moore, like Eberle, went all the way through the second round and stepladder finals, winning by 24, 7, 42 and 46 pins before falling in the final. Shirk, like Miller, was the top qualifier with 1,696 pins to earn a bye into the final.
Penn Manor topped the Section One regular season standings with a 50-6 record and roared to the tournament title after losing the first game of the title match to Northern Lebanon. The Comets, who fell 869-838 in the first game, won the last two by scores of 937-833 and 909-793.
Penn Manor also lost the first game of its semifinal against Elizabethtown, 1,012-914, then got by the Bears in the next two, 931-909 and 899-887. The Vikings took an identical path, falling 908-906 in their opener against Cocalico before coming back with 980-815 and 810-801 wins.
The Bears did the Comets one better by posting a 51-5 record in winning Section Two. But Cocalico had the most wins, going 54-2 to win Section Three, while Northern Lebanon was 28-0 in a depleted Section Four that included just three teams.
Better than average
Individually, Zombro led the way this season with a high average of 233.50, earning him Most Valuable Bowler honors. He fell short of capturing a second straight L-L title as Eberle defeated him 269-200 in the semifinals.
Shirk was tops among the girls with a 226.33 mark, while other section leaders were Ephrata’s Andrew Barnica (Two) at 231.00 and Cocalico’s Tristan Current (Three) at 211.17.
Zombro had the high game with a 299 while Kline’s 794 was the top series.
Elizabethtown posted the team high game average at 1,031, with Manheim Township next at 999.
Blue Streaks' bowlers had three of the top five averages in Section One.