“Just like sports, life will not always result in triumph. We must learn from these losses. Thus sports have provided the fundamentals and experiences for how to deal with life. In the end it's not how much you have won or lost but the journey you took and the people you met along the way.”
Every February, the announcement of the MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award winners include brief bios of the honorees and excerpts from essays they’ve written on sportsmanship.
The above passage was pulled from the essay written by 2004 Livonia Ladywood senior Sarah Jaeger, as she became the first from her sport to receive one of these prestigious awards. Less than a month later, she’d also become one of her sport's first MHSAA champions.
The Class B Bowling Finals championship she won March 5, 2004 – capping the singles portion of the first bowling season in MHSAA history – remains something that resonates with the now-mother of two small children and 13-year veteran of TV news along the I-75 corridor.
“It was just kind of a culmination of those four years,” Jaeger, now Sarah Dorow, recalled Tuesday. “From going to Ladywood and Dad starting the team from literally nothing my freshman year to seeing the sport officially a sport my senior year.
“Honestly,” she added, “I don’t think there could have been a better ending to the season and my high school bowling career.”
That 2003-04 season was the first for bowling as an MHSAA-sponsored sport, and Jaeger became one of its first state champions representing the program her father Dennis had started and her mother Judy took over after his death in 2001.
After qualifying 12th of 16 for Class B singles match play at Sterling Heights’ Sunnybrook Lanes, Sarah torched the bracket with four match wins, taking the decider against Montrose’s Anna Haggerty 231-183, 192-208, 264-244.
But her MHSAA Finals experience that winter wasn’t done just yet. Jaeger would be recognized with 26 other Scholar-Athlete Award winners on the Breslin Center floor during the Boys Basketball Finals later that March.
She went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in communications and criminal justice at University of Detroit Mercy, and then earned a master’s at Michigan State University in journalism and another master’s from Mercy in intelligence analysis. She also bowled on the Spartans’ club team during her time in East Lansing – and made time to stay in high school bowling as well.
Judy Jaeger continued to coach the Ladywood bowling program for a number of years, and Sarah assisted the Blazers from 2005-16. Judy also continues to serve as a tournament manager annually for one of the four MHSAA Finals sites, and Sarah has provided major assists at those events as well.
Near the end of her masters’ studies, Dorow began 13 years in TV news as an anchor, reporter and producer, most recently at multiple stations in the Saginaw/Flint/Bay City/Midland market before stepping aside from the camera to be home with her two children ages 6 and 3. But her stories continue – she blogs at “The TV Mommy” and “Mid-Michigan Moms” – and she can still bowl with the best of them.
She’s set to compete in the Michigan Women’s State Championship this weekend in Muskegon, and recently she shot a personal-record 777 series. She took a brief break while her kids were younger, but is back up to bowling in one league a week and one tournament a month. Her 6-year-old son has started bowling as well, and she likes to say he’s already rolled a 300 – because she did so when she was pregnant with him.
Judy Jaeger will be managing this season’s Division 2 Finals, and Sarah will try to make it over to Super Bowl in Canton. She brought her son to the 2019 Finals and they crowned that year’s champions together. That part is among the experiences she always enjoys, something of a handing down from a past champion to the next.
“It’s something I’ll definitely never forget,” Dorow said of her 2004 title run. “It’s stayed with me.”
Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.
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Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
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Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
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Sept. 14: Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read
PHOTOS (Top left) Sarah Jaeger and her mother and coach Judy Jaeger celebrate Sarah's 2004 Class B bowling championship. (Top right) Jaeger today is a mother of two, veteran TV reporter, writer, and recently bowled her personal-high series. (2004 photo courtesy of Sarah Dorow; current photo by Amanda Shaffer Photography.)