Allen Park — Two West Michigan teams faced off in the championship match in the MHSAA Division 1 girls bowling finals at Thunderbowl Lanes Friday, and Zeeland defeated Jenison 1185-1155 for its first title.
Jenison and Zeeland both placed top three in Regional 1 in Grandville and they qualified for the quarterfinals in the third and fourth seed, respectively. Zeeland won against Rockford and Lake Orion to reach the championship match with its close West side opponent.
Zeeland coach Jeremy Baum gave Jenison credit for making it to the final: “It was great and sad at the same moment because they are a great team. We bowled with them in a few tournaments this year.”
Baum was calm and collected for most of the tournament, but said the finals were a different feeling.
“I don’t normally yell and scream during a match. In that tenth frame of the final, we hit on a couple double strikes and I knew we could make up for that 30-pin difference from the Baker games. That was the most excitement I had throughout the season. These girls have been so good all year,” Baum said.
Zeeland had a young roster and Baum recognized his few seniors who contributed to the state title.
“I am proud that a couple of our seniors are going out on top, Skylar Beverwyk who's been here all four years, and Lexi Vogt who came in here as a junior that never bowled and was a dancer before,” Baum said. “We turn around and only have one junior on the squad and the rest are sophomores and freshmen. The program is building and Zeeland has a bright future.”
Vogt bowled a 230, Morgan Smith had a 173 and Beverwyk had a 171 for Zeeland in match play.
Lake Orion came in third, losing to Zeeland in the semifinal 1280-1194. Head coach Denny O’Neill acknowledged the struggles for his team.
“I am proud of them and they did a good job. They bowled great all year. We came here to Thunderbowl and made the cut in first. We won our first match but started to get into trouble when spare shooting and not carrying our strikes,” O’Neill said.
He also indentified what he thought made Zeeland the better team in the bracket.
“Zeeland has good athletes and they were able to carry their strike shots and we weren’t. Zeeland stayed calm and didn’t make very many mistakes,” O’Neill said.
New Baltimore Anchor Bay lost to Jenison in the semifinal 1201-1061. Coach Scott Straub said he plans for a better finish next year.
“They worked so hard and I tell you what, they have a lot of grit. We were here last year but we lost four seniors. We just didn’t have the firepower that they did. They’re a very well-coached team. I look forward to getting back next year. We have building blocks to get to the next level and this is one of them. Without question, we’re stacking the blocks,” Straub said.
Mason defeated Tecumseh for its first title, 1185-1184, at Century Bowl in Waterford. It took down Muskegon Mona Shores 1214-1096 and six-time defending champion Flint Kearsley 1245-1157. Carleton Airport qualified to the quarterfinals in the seventh seed and won against Coldwater 1233-1062 but lost to Tecumseh in the semifinal 1188-1073.
Essexville Garber won 1182-1177 over Clare at JAX 60 in Jackson. It defeated Jonesville 1173-1105 and Coloma 1157-1145. Armada qualified to the seventh seed and lost to Clare in the quarterfinal 1086-1085. This was Essexville Garber’s first state championship.
Bronson came out on top against Kent City 1095-974 in the championship match at Royal Scot in Lansing. It defeated East Jackson and Bad Axe to reach the final, where it would win its second consecutive state title.