Young but talented Firebird bowlers want to finish at the top this year

Sophomore+Ashley+Griesmeyer+warms+up+before+the+Firebirds+take+on+Centerville+at+Woodman+Lanes+on+Jan.+9%2C+2014.+

Photo: Dalton Smith

Sophomore Ashley Griesmeyer warms up before the Firebirds take on Centerville at Woodman Lanes on Jan. 9, 2014.

Fairmont High School’s bowlers got this close last year to reaching their ultimate goal. The Boys’ Varsity team finished 2nd at the State tournament, while the girls finished in 3rd place. Now they’ve reloaded and are taking aim at first-place finishes.

The Firebird bowling teams have gone to State a total of eight times (six times for the boys and two times for the girls), since 2007, but the State Championship has eluded them. Junior Jessica Wolfe, a team captain, knows this is the goal for this season. “Our goal is to win State.”

Head Coach Rex Wolfe said he thinks the 2013-14 season is both similar and a bit different from past seasons. “It is the same because it is continued success, which is what we like to do,” Wolfe said. “It is different because we are younger this year than we have been in a long time.”

The teams usually have around eight seniors combined, but this year they only have five who will be playing. “We’re mostly made up of sophomores and juniors,” Coach Wolfe said. “The young ones are really good.”

Coach Wolfe believes it’s never too much of a loss to the team when the seniors leave each year. “Every year we lose three to four seniors on the boys’ and the girls’ side,” he said. “But we’ve been able to develop the athletes along the way, so that it’s not a huge loss when the seniors go away.”

The coach wants to be sure the underclassmen get better and better each season. “We continue to develop, so that the underclassmen are ready to fill that hole when they get here,” he said.

Some of the players are feeling good about this season, too.

Senior Sarah Conard, a team captain, said she thinks the team’s success in the pre-season tournament set the tone for the season. “We won our first tournament and beat our biggest rivals, Beavercreek and Centerville, in the finals,” Conard said. “I think it was a great day.”

This year’s combined roster for the boys’ and girls’ varsity and JV teams consists of five freshmen, five sophomores, four juniors and six seniors. (One senior isn’t be playing because of an injury.) As of Jan. 14, 2013, the varsity boys have a record of 4-3, and the girls are leading the GWOC Central Division with a record of 5-2.

Coach Wolfe said feels confident about this season based on the teams’ performance so far. “We’ve seen some success already,” he said. “Enough to tell the coaching staff that we’re on the right track.”