Campbell, Betts Believed Then Achieved

By Steve Vedder
Special for

March 2, 2019

MUSKEGON – Trusting the process led to a stunning ending to Dawson Campbell's season. 

In fact, if you had asked the Cheboygan junior a few months ago if winning a Division 3 individual bowling championship was a possibility, Campbell's answer would have been a resounding no.

"Not a chance, no way," he said after accomplishing just that with a 427-363 win over Hopkins' Brenden Gossman in Saturday's championship match at Northway Lanes.

It's not that Campbell hasn't had success in the past. He was a two-time Finals qualifier heading into the season, but failed to advance past the qualifying stage his freshman and sophomore years. So what's the difference between those two tournaments and Saturday's? Campbell, seeded No. 6 among the 16 finalists, said it was a matter of trusting a grueling process that includes bowling 30 games a day, seven days a week for the last three years.

Campbell said the work left him more of a finished product. Proof of that, he said, came after he converted tough back-to-back 2-8 and 2-4-8-10 shots in the quarterfinal. It was that sort of success under pressure that led Campbell to believe he could win a Finals championship.

"After that I felt I had a chance," said Campbell, who averaged 188 across four match wins. "It just kinda happened. It shows if you put in enough practice, you can win and that one day you could become a state champion.

"I feel real happy, amazed. But I've put in the work. At the end of the day, it's part of my life."

Jenna Betts of Clare won the girls title with a 418-305 win over Lainey Meader of Coloma.

Like Campbell, Betts had minimal success in previous Finals tournaments, also never making it past the qualifying round. And also like Campbell, Betts believed winning the Division 3 championship was likely beyond her grasp.

"I had no reason whatsoever," she said of possessing title hopes. "But you have to believe in yourself and do the things you need to do to win."

Betts said much of her confidence came from Clare coach Kelli Dingo, whose chief work with her junior bowler was teaching fundamentals such as how to hold a ball and how to incorporate movement with her shot. The rest, Dingo said, was up to Betts.

"I taught her to bowl, not tell her," Dingo said. "She was very open (to coaching). Everyone knows she's an excellent bowler, and they expect a lot from her. She used to overthink the process; now she just bowls."

Betts, who also plays volleyball and runs track at Clare, said two things which struck home for her this season were gaining confidence and the ability to bowl consistently. Both were on display in winning Saturday, she said.

"I was very consistent. They weren't really high scores, but I was consistent," she said of averaging a 194 in her four wins. "You're going to have some high and low games, but confidence is a key."

Betts said her work with Dingo left her with the confidence she belonged among the top bowlers in Division 3.

"I think the past couple weeks that's grown by leaps and bounds, believing in myself," she said. "I feel incredibly happy now. Coach has given us all confidence, not just me. She's given us what we need to do well."

Click for full girls results and full boys results.

Gobles' Brunner Closes with 3rd Title, Nouvel's McCarthy Locks Up No. 1

By Tim Robinson
Special for

March 4, 2023

BATTLE CREEK — A few minutes after making history, Gobles senior Morgan Brunner was calm.

No loud celebration, just smiles all around Saturday after becoming the first competitor in the 20-year history of MHSAA girls bowling to win three Singles Finals titles in a row.

“She’s very even-keeled,” said her mother and coach, Karrie Brunner. “She knows she’s got a job to do, and she comes to do it. But she comes to have fun. That was a big part of today. She relaxed and had fun.”

Morgan Brunner rolled to the title, taking first in qualifying and defeating Traverse City Christian’s Brooke Smith 415-303 in the Division 4 final.

But that’s not to say she was expecting an easy time of it.

“I clinched it early, but I was definitely nervous,” she said. “I was nervous all day.”

Brunner dealt with the nerves by concentrating on the task at hand.

“I just tried to stay calm and make my best shots,” she said.

Brunner helped organize the Gobles program, and Saturday’s third-straight title was the latest achievement in a journey that began when she was 2 years old.

“As soon as she could walk,” Karrie Brunner said. "She was pushing the ball down there. I don’t know how many strikes she threw, but she was knocking pins down.”

Morgan hasn’t stopped since.

In the moments after the feat was accomplished, she said it felt like a weight off her shoulders.

“I don’t think it’s going to set in for a while,” she said of her accomplishment. “But it's nice to win.”

Saginaw Nouvel sophomore Alex McCarthy, meanwhile, jumped for joy as he threw the final ball of his boys match.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said afterward. “It’s hard to put it into words right now.”

McCarthy defeated Bryce Cadaret of Allen Park Cabrini, another sophomore, 433-393 in the final.

McCarthy finished 10th in qualifying, then won two matches before meeting Cadaret in the championship.

Cadaret came out hot, starting the match by rolling three strikes in a row.

“It got me back in the match mentally,” McCarthy said.

After a conversation with coach Brian Montini, McCarthy found his groove and never looked back, right through the final ball, which knocked down six pins as he celebrated.

“I had all these thoughts of my coach and all the other coaches and all the hard work I put in through the years,” he said.

Montini, for his part. wasn’t entirely surprised.

“The experience last year helped him,” Montini said, noting McCarthy’s quarterfinal run as a freshman. “We had it in our minds that he was going to do this. And he pulled through.”

Division 4 Final Results - Boys | Girls