The Jonathan Alder boys bowlers found themselves competing for a Division II state title Friday at Webb Wayne’s Columbus Bowl.
The Pioneers came up just short during the championship round against Mechanicsburg.
After the opening round of 16 teams, the Pioneers were in third place with a team score of 3336 behind Graham-3358 and St. Henry-3392.
During match play, Luke Honigford was the Pioneers’ top performer with a three-game total of 597. Zach Otto turned in a 552, with fellow bowler Jacob Schrock finishing only a pin behind with a 551. Andrew Clark was able to finish with a 533. Joshua Devore helped with a one-game total of 180 and Nathan Clark finished with a one-game score of 166.
“Luke bowled really well for his first time starting in the state finals,” said JA head coach Rusty Walter. “I thought all the boys bowled great at times and struggled at times as well.
“The team contributed in the baker game with nearly every boy making a big shot,” he said. “The scoring was at a moderate pace and you had to make good quality shots. Spare shooting was again at a premium.”
The Pioneers advanced to final eight teams where they were seeded third.
The finals bracket matches were formatted as the best of five baker games. The Pioneers faced off against Claymont in the first round of the brackets, where they able to win 3-2.
Alder downed Girard in the semifinals by the same score to advance to the finals.
The Pioneers struggled to find their rhythm against Mechanicsburg before losing to the Indians in three games.
“We struggled in the finals to get it going,” said Walter. “The ball got a little heavy for a couple boys bowling for that first state title.”
Lady Pioneer bowlers compete for state title
The Lady Pioneers also found themselves at the Division II state bowling meet on Saturday where they finished with a score 2780 and a 13th place finish.
The Lady Pioneers turned in an 811 after the first of three match-play games.
That put them in sixth place and above the cutoff position of eight,.
However, as match play continued, the Lady Pioneers continued to fall down the leaderboard.
Their ended 198 pins behind the eighth place qualify position.
Hallie Nichols led JA with a 530 after three games. Rachel Kaeser turned in a three-game total of 486. Emily Walker rolled a 463. Rena Kirts knocked down 456 pins after three games and Cierra Clark finished at 420.
“The ladies really struggled this year on the transition of the lanes and flip from the low end to the high of the center,” Walter said. “Rena Kirts really struggled today and it was hard on her. She has been such a great four-year bowler. The left wasn’t really good today and the lanes just never came to her.”
Lady Cats come up short at state bowling meet
The Lady Cats of North Union found themselves in front of a crowd of more than 700 people attempting to win a Division II state bowling title.
Lady Cats struggled during the three match-play games where their season ended with 2462 points and a 16th place finish.
NU head coach Brent Markham said the competition was rather tough.
“I felt as if our girls were overmatched, especially in game three where we were paired with four-time defending state championship Coldwater,” he said. “However, our Lady Cats had the best season in the history of the program being MOAC champions, MOAC tournament champions, with a Central District individual champion and state team qualifiers.”
North Union found itself just 73 pins behind the qualifying position after the opening round of match bowling, but the gap continued to widen.
Despite the Lady Cats not advancing, Markham believes they made a lasting impression.
“These girls will always be remembered and their legacy and accomplishments will never be forgotten,” he said. “I’m just honored to be a part of this.”
Allyia Nicol led NU with a 448 after three match play games. Alexis Jamison found herself only six pins behind with a 442.
Kallie Price bowled her way to a 424 and Katie Buckingham rolled a 399 after three games.
Abby Anderson finished one game at 135 and Kierstan Diaz helped out with a 130.
“Overall it’s been a great run as coach here at North Union over the past six seasons and to be one of the program starters, it’s awesome to see how much growth has occurred from our first ever year to now,” he stated. “NU bowling has been highly competitive and I feel as if the future is bright for North Union bowling.”
With the 2018 bowling season is now in the books and the only thing left to do is hand out the awards.
“The final stop for our Lady Cats is our final MOAC banquet on March 14th where both seniors Alexis Jamison and Allyia Nicol will take first team all conference honors for the second straight season and Allyia is on the ballet for bowler of the year,” Markham said.
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