You don’t see a lot of chessboards in bowling alleys. If you did, Dave Woods would be right at home. The No. 4 bowler and team captain for the Vermilion Sailors, Woods has a love for both. A member of the school’s chess club, he even sees some similarities in the two activities.
“Chess club kind of helps you slow down and think about each move,” said Woods, a senior. “It’s like bowling in a sense because you need to make sure you’re hitting the right marks. If you don’t hit the right spots you’re not going to end up with a good result.”
Woods has hit plenty of right spots on the lanes for the Sailors over the past two years. Last year he averaged 174 in helping Vermilion win sectionals and make the state tournament for the second year in a row.
“Dave’s come a long way,” Vermilion coach George Buckosh said. “He’s looked very well. He’s starting to learn to play inside a little more and looking very good for the season. He’s a very mellow, good kid.”
An active one, too. Woods is an Academic All-Ohio soccer player and a member of the high school tennis team. He started playing chess four years ago at the suggestion of one of his math teachers. Woods plans to major in math in college at either Ashland or Slippery Rock.
He’s been bowling for 11 years and has a pretty good handle on what it takes to succeed at the sport.
“Understanding how your individual ball is going to react to on that day is probably the biggest thing,” Woods said.
He first took up the sport as a youth with his older brother, Chris, the team captain in 2005-06 when the Sailors finished second at state. He’s seen his own game get better over the years, especially when it comes to picking up spares.
“It’s improved,” said Woods, “but it’s something I’m always working on. The No. 7- and 10-pin combinations are critical to your spare bowling because those are the corner pins.”
As in any team sport, chemistry is paramount to success in high school bowling. Advice from a teammate can sometimes strike a cord better than any that comes from a coach.
“There are four of us (including juniors Bryan Buckosh, Jacob Casto and D.J. Pohorence) on the team that have been teammates for three years,” Woods said. “So we know each other pretty well.”
Though the Sailors lost Derek Lind, Bryce Henry and Anthony Ernandes to graduation, they still feel good about their chances with four starters back.
“Just like last year, we’re just going to take thing one match at time,” Woods said.
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.