D2 Singles Champs Stand a Cut Above

March 4, 2017

By Tim Robinson
Special for Second Half 

CANTON — Three years ago, Angela Meadows was a freshman, determined to prove she belonged on a high school bowling team.

“The story is, her coach cut her,” Taylor Kennedy coach Dan Dutcher said. “Silly coach, right? That was me.”

“We joke about it now,” Meadows said. “No more hard feelings.”

Saturday, she made her point abundantly, and gloriously, clear.

Meadows won the Division 2 girls individual championship at Super Bowl in Canton, defeating Michaellia Merlo of Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 421-280 in the championship match.

Meadows said she never thought about when she clinched the match until the end, because her mind was elsewhere.

“I wasn’t thinking about it at all,” she said. “(Merlo) was so nice, and I was just having fun.”

It was a marked change of perspective for Meadows, who admits to a streak of pessimism.

“I was not pleased at all with my season,” she said. “As an individual, I did really bad until the state championship.

“I kept a positive attitude (Saturday),” she said, “and somehow proved myself wrong.”

After making the final round as the No. 9 seed, Meadows won her first match over No. 8 seed Madison Burdick of Charlotte and got a surge of confidence.

“I couldn’t believe I beat the first girl,” she said. “She was so good. After the first round, I realized I was going to win this thing.”

Meadows squeaked past Imari Blond of Flint Kearsley, 407-403, in the Quarterfinals, then slipped past Kaylee Collier of Jackson, 347-329, to reach the Final.

After she had been cut from the team as a freshman, “I was devastated,” Meadows said. “I was motivated and wanted to prove him wrong.”

Dutcher couldn’t have been happier.

“It was a perfect day,” he said. “A peak day and a perfect day for her. I wouldn’t say it was expected, but she expected that she would advance far. She had a very consistent day overall. Not too high or too low.”

That wasn’t the case afterward.

“I thought I was dreaming,” she said, laughing, about the award ceremony. ‘I still don’t think it’s real.”

In the boys competition, David Norhouse of Byron Center defeated reigning champion Austin Robison of Sturgis 458-413 in the Final. Robison won the first game 254-226, then slumped in the second game, which Norhouse won 232-149.

“Austin ended with seven or eight strikes in a row,” Byron Center coach Walt Dyer said of the first game. “David had five in a row to stay close, and got a good string going to pull away in the second game. It was very exciting.”

It was a rematch from last year, when Robison beat Norhouse in the first round en route to winning the Division 2 title.

“It came down to the ninth frame, and it was a great match,” Dyer said. “David had talked about it earlier, and said, ‘I can’t let him beat me again this year.’ And it came to fruition.”

Norhouse was the No. 3 seed Saturday. He got past Tecumseh’s Tavon Hastings in the first round, 403-392, then breezed past Nick Dimitri of South Lyon and Liam Robinson of Marquette in the Semifinals.

It was Norhouse’s fourth trip to the Singles Finals and his third trip into match play. Two years ago, as a sophomore, he finished the qualifying block first overall, only to lose to the No. 16 seed.

Robison, the No. 4 seed, got past Jacob Harvey of Adrian by 20 pins in the first round, beat Wyatt Mains of Three Rivers by 35 in the Quarterfinals and rallied to beat South Lyon’s Ryan Zaharia in the Semifinals.

Click for full girls results and full boys results.

PHOTO: Taylor Kennedy’s Angela Meadows (middle) stands with coaches Dan Dutcher and Dorene Bird.

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

By Tim Robinson
Special for MHSAA.com

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