Allen Park — Utica Eisenhower and Salem competed in a close MHSAA Division 1 championship match on Friday. Just five pins separated them at Thunderbowl Lanes as Eisenhower surged in the later frames to a 1454-1449 win for its first title.
Head coach John Snider stated that their hard work put them in the position to win. “This trophy means everything. We worked our butts off to get to where we’re at. We were fortunate, they (Salem) had a couple bad breaks at the end but our kids hung in there and did what we needed to win,” he said.
Salem had multiple leads in the match play final but Eisenhower stayed close. “There was a little ebb and flow to it,” Snider described it. “We started off quick and they started quick, then we puttered out towards the middle but we were real strong at the end. Like I said, we got some luck on our side and took advantage to win.”
The teams were back and forth with cheering and hyping up their crowds behind them.
“Salem is a super team and it’s extremely difficult to match their energy. We had to get that up and try to hang with them,” Snider said. He started to list some highlight players until he wanted to recognize the full squad. “Actually, my whole team is good. I’m very fortunate.”
Eisenhower senior Dylan Kelley credited his performance to his team’s motivation. “I feel that I bowled very well but I would not be able to do it if it wasn’t for my team. They hyped me up, calmed me down, picked me up when I was down. That all put me in a position where I could do that,” he said. Kelley bowled a 235 in the final match play, Carter Milasinovich bowled a 234 and Nolan Horne had a 237.
Kelley said it was competitive and did their best in combating Salem’s energy: “We just tried to be louder. We don’t get effected by that kind of stuff because we do the same thing.”
Brendan Chorian bowled a 225 and both Noah Samuels and Dom Parrelly had 213 in the final match play for Salem.
Jackson Northwest finished as champions over Cadillac 1320-1300 at Century Bowl in Waterford. Ferndale and New Boston Huron qualified to the quarterfinals. Cadillac took down Ferndale 1284-1163 and New Boston Huron defeated Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills 1645-1621. Those teams met in the semifinal resulting in Cadillac winning 1313-1287. It's Jackson Northwest’s first bowling title.
Armada won the state championship by 15 pins over Boyne City at JAX 60 in Jackson. It qualified as the eighth seed and faced Cheboygan in the quarterfinals, winning 1355-1304. The semifinal win was against Birch Run at 1386-1213 and the final total against Boyne City was 1230-1215. This was Armada’s second state title (2015).
Grass Lake beat Farwell in the finals at Royal Scot in Lansing. It defeated Ithaca and Manchester to advance to the final where they won 1257-1104. Madison Heights Bishop Foley qualified as the fifth seed but lost to Manchester 1255-1211 in the quarterfinals. This was Grass Lake’s second championship (2011).
Zach Sturgill is a freelance writer.