By Josh Brown
TROY — The Troy girls bowling team doesn’t have to wait anymore.
With all of the celebrations, the pomp and circumstance, out of the way as of Tuesday, the time of year they’ve been waiting for since last season is finally here — the postseason.
The Trojan girls and boys celebrated Senior Night by closing out the regular season with a sweep of visiting West Carrollton, with the girls defeating the Pirates 2,182-2,081 and the boys winning convincingly, 2,161-1,714 Tuesday afternoon at Troy Bowl.
The girls (17-2) honored their only senior, Rachel Darrow, who rolled 187-186—373 on the day, while the boys (9-10) called their only senior up from JV as Connor Wooley rolled a 130 in the first game of the afternoon.
But for the Troy girls, the focus remains clear on getting back to the state tournament.
“We’re definitely looking forward to the sectional this weekend,” Darrow said. “We’re trying to get back to the state tournament and do better than we did last year once we’re there.”
The team had a big weekend at the Greater Western Ohio Conference postseason tournament, qualifying first after three individual games and then finishing third in head-to-head play, wrapping up the GWOC North Division championship and claiming second only to Centerville in the overall conference standings for the season. That came on the heels of winning the preseason GWOC tournament — a day on which Darrow posted the best score in the entire conference, girls or boys.
“Probably that,” Darrow said with a laugh when asked what her favorite accomplishment of the year was. “Winning the North as a team is great, too. But that (winning the preseason GWOC) was pretty cool. It’s hard to say that you neat the boys’ scores a lot; their scores are usually higher than the girls’ scores. It’s pretty uncommon, so it’s very cool that I can say I did that.”
Sophomore Jenna Stone led the Trojans at the postseason GWOC tournament, though — and she did it again Tuesday, rolling the high series for both the girls and boys with 206-237—443. Over the weekend, Stone was named the GWOC North Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year.
“It feels good to go back to back, to be able to improve from last year,” Stone said. “I think mainly we’ve just been improving as a team all year and keeping each other up.”
That was true Tuesday, too. A’leigha Smith — who joined Stone and Darrow on the GWOC North first team — rolled 181-165—346 Tuesday, GWOC North second teamer Kirsten McMullen added a 175 game, Alyssa Shilt rolled a 171, Cassidy McMullen a 162 and Jennica Funderburg a 139.
“You’ve got to have a good team in bowling,” said Troy girls coach Rob Dever, who won his third straight GWOC North Coach of the Year award over the weekend. “If you rely on one or two kids and they’re both struggling, you’re dead. But that’s why these girls have done so well. On any given day, any one of these girls can help carry the team. And when they all get hot at the same time? They’re really tough to beat.
“I don’t know how focused we were today, with the sectional coming up on Thursday. But the way I look at it, having a match is better than just having a practice, and even though we didn’t do particularly great today, it was enough to get the win.”
And while the Trojans have had their lapses — a loss at Piqua to snap a 14-game winning streak to begin the season and another upset two weeks later at Butler — they bounced back from those and closed out the division title.
“We had a little sore spot there,” Darrow said. “We didn’t do our best, and they (Piqua) did really, really well. We took a dent in our confidence, especially after going undefeated last year. But once we picked it back up, we were fine. We beat them the second time around and won the North.”
The boys, meanwhile, cruised to a win as none of West Carrollton’s bowlers broke the 350 series mark.
Hayden Jackson led the Trojans with 165-237—402 and A.J. Kendall rolled 203-190—393, while Aaron Stone — the only Troy boy to get GWOC North honors with a spot on the first team — added 164-159—323. Logan Jones added a 204 game, Landon Flory a 190 and Jason Shiltz a 161 to go with Wooley’s 130.
The boys will compete at the Division I sectional Wednesday at Poelking South Lanes, while the girls will compete on Thursday.
“We want to go to state as a team and win it this year,” Stone said. “(Being there last year) will help us. Last year, we struggled. I think we were all nervous about it.”
“I think their confidence is high,” Dever said. “The girls perform really well on bigger stages. They’ve won three tournaments this year and come in second at another. They won the preseason GWOC, which is extremely tough to do. The girls have been there. They know what it takes to win.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.