In a number of ways, the Tallmadge boys bowling team’s 2018-19 season was eerily similar to its previous winter.
However, there was one glaring omission. The 2017-18 squad finished 11th at the Division I state tournament.
As for last season’s team?
The Blue Devils didn’t advance to the district competition.
"They had a strong year, but they fell short of their goal," said Scott Krainess, who enters his fifth year as Tallmadge’s head coach and 10th overall with the team.
Despite their missed opportunity in the postseason, the Blue Devils had another strong winter on the lanes. Tallmadge finished 8-3 in the vaunted Suburban League for the second consecutive year.
And the best news is this: The Blue Devils did not lose a single bowler to graduation.
"The boys return a solid core and I expect them to compete early and often," Krainess said. "I’m excited about this season."
Tallmadge’s top bowler from the previous season is senior Robert Wilson, who led the team with a 213.37-pin average last winter. Senior Parker Braccio wasn’t far behind Wilson with a 204.14 average. Both Wilson and Braccio earned All-Suburban League honors last season.
The Blue Devils’ lone 2019 district qualifier was Josh Parry, who had a 189.74 average.
"I’m expecting a strong year from all three and they will be counted on to lead the team," Krainess said.
Two other returning seniors are Patrick Stachowiak, who had a 172.72 average, and Cooper Randolph (169.49 average). While they might not be as heralded as Tallmadge’s "big three," Stachowiak and Randolph’s scores may be the X factors when it comes to the Blue Devils’ success this winter.
"The key to our season will be how Patrick and Cooper perform and how strong our bench is," Krainess said.
Other returnees include junior Logan Hillbish and sophomore Shawn Galloway.
"Both Logan and Shawn are hard workers who continue to improve," Krainess said. "Consistency is the key and that is what we are looking for. I expect both of them to be a factor this year."
Krainess also is excited about six newcomers to the team. They are junior Chandler Miller, sophomore Denny Chumita and freshmen Kyle Bender, Kaiden Cantiberos, Hayden Schreiber and Gavin Warren.
"I’m really impressed with this group so far," Krainess said.
Mike Swejk is the team’s assistant coach. Fred Borden and Jeri Edwards also serve as coaches on an individual basis.
"Mike Swejk has done a great job with the JV [junior varsity] boys and has been instrumental in their development," Krainess said. "Developing our younger bowlers will be key as we will lose the majority of our varsity bowlers to graduation."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.