As individuals, Wilmington’s Hunter Gallion and Kylie Fisher are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
One thing the two have in common, though, is they’ll be participating this week in their respective OHSAA State Bowling Championships at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
Gallion will bowl in the 16th annual boys state tournament Friday morning. Fisher will compete in the 16th annual girls state tournament Saturday morning. Practice begins both days 10:30 a.m. with competition set to start at 10:45 a.m.
Both WHS bowlers will follow the same lane assignments — 42 for the first game, 38 for the second game, back to 42 for the final game. Lane assignments are made alphabetically by school name.
The differences are as follows:
Gallion is a two-handed senior bowler. Fisher is a freshman who takes the more traditional route of using just one hand.
Gallion bowled in the state tournament in 2019 when WHS made it as a team.
For Fisher, daughter of former WHS bowling coach Josh Fisher, this is her first trip to the state tournament.
That Gallion is even bowling, let alone at such a high level, can be considered a bit of a miracle.
As a freshman, Gallion underwent surgery for bacterial meningitis, a condition where membranes that protect the spinal cord and brain become infected. When the membranes become infected, they swell and press on the spinal cord or brain. Some people with the infection die and death can occur in as little as a few hours.
Gallion said he was close to death.
“After the surgery, they said if they’d never done it, I had like an hour to live,” Gallion said.
As for bowling, Gallion admits he struggled early in the season. After two years as a first-team All-SBAAC bowler, Gallion finished on the second team this year.
“I finished (the year) stronger than I started,” he said. “It was more a mental game. I got into my head at the beginning of the season. I thought too much.”
Once he found his groove, though, Gallion has been solid. His averaged dipped to 185 mid-season then went to 201.9 after the conference tournament. He’s averaged 216 in the sectional and district tournaments.
“I don’t want to bowl bad (at state),” he said. “I’d like to shoot at least a 600 series. I’m not expecting to win it. I just want to prove I earned my place there.”
With what he’s gone through, Gallion already has earned it.
As to the future, Gallion said he’s looking forward to driving in the demolition derby at the fair this year. Because of his brain surgery, he’s not been able to the past couple years.
Being inside the car is a switch for Gallion. He wants to be a welder and has done plenty of work on derby cars for his brother and uncle, he said.
But while he becomes licensed as a welder, Gallion said he won’t shut the door on bowling, looking to keep it as a hobby and maybe give a pro tournament or two a shot just to see if he can make it.
Fisher has made a meteoric rise to the top of high school bowling in just her first year.
She’s been bowling six years but in her first year as part of a season-long team, Fisher realizes its different than being an individual in a tournament, after having her WHS teammates by her side.
“I’ve always been really just an individual (bowler) before this year,” she said. “But I think it will definitely feel weird without (all my teammates) there cheering me on.”
Fisher was the SBAAC bowler of the year then won the Division I Colerain Sectional tournament before finishing as runnerup in last weeks Division I Southwest District tournament.
Last week’s district tournament started out like it might be her last in the orange and black. She struggled early to throw strikes. Then … .
“I found it,” she said. “It was a ball change actually. In practice I thought I had a good look. I had to get my nerves out first. I wasn’t throwing good. I made the ball change and everything came to.”
After a 202 game to start, Fisher followed with 213 and 256. Her 671 series was second only to last year’s state runnerup Kayleigh McMullen of Troy who had 688.
Despite her success this season, Fisher is keeping a low profile going in to the season’s final event.
“I don’t expect myself to win,” she said. “I know I’m a freshman and I have three more years left. I know the kind of people who are going to be there. I’m just taking it one step at a time.
“I know I’m capable of winning it but I know there are other people out there who are really, really good.”