Davison Girls, Salem Boys Reign in D1

March 3, 2017

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

STERLING HEIGHTS – In a sport filled with so much unpredictably, the Davison girls bowling team continues to be a model of incredible consistency.

For a sixth straight year, Davison advanced to the championship round of the Division 1 tournament Friday. Once there, the Cardinals improved to 5-1 in those championship matches, earning a 1,368-1,189 win over Oxford at Sterling Lanes to repeat as champions and win their fifth title in six years.

The only blemish was a loss to Macomb Dakota in the 2015 championship match.

“The girls are all dedicated and they know when come into our program, they need to give it their all,” Davison coach Bryan Davis said. “We have a great youth program. You get a couple or three good bowlers every year; it feeds into itself.”

In the boys event, Salem won its second MHSAA title with a 1,285-1,232 win in the championship match over a Hudsonville team that also was seeking the program’s second title.

Salem won it all in 2013, while Hudsonville was the champion in 2004.

“They were strong all season,” Salem coach Kathie Hahn said of her team. “I have four seniors so I was hoping for a good ending to their year. I was a little nervous and then as the (Final) came on, I was more nervous because if they started stringing (strikes), it could’ve been hard. We weren’t really stringing strikes today. But they held in there, they never gave up and were tough all the way. I can’t be more proud of them.”               

The Davison girls dominated the entire day, finishing first out of the qualifying block with 3,572 pins and then starting its run to the Final with a 1,237-1,104 victory over Utica in the Quarterfinals.

The Cardinals then knocked off Rockford in the Semifinals by a score of 1,272-1,039.

Oxford finished third out of the qualifying block with 3,079 pins, and started a run to its first-ever Final with a 1,177-1,053 victory over St. Clair Shores Lakeview in the Quarterfinals.

Facing a Macomb Dakota team that knocked off No. 2-seeded Lake Orion in the Quarterfinals, Oxford earned a crack at Davison with a 1,230-1,169 win over Dakota.

Oxford head coach JR Lafnear knew the force his team was up against in Davison, and could only admire the brilliance of the Cardinals in the Final.

“That’s a juggernaut,” Lafnear said. “They are tough to beat, and we would’ve had to have been at the top of our game. We are happy with our performance. Of 100 teams in Division 1, 98 would rather be where we are. We are pretty pumped up about it. I’ve got two sophomores and a junior coming back out of this group, so we are excited about the future.”

Like the Oxford girls, the Salem boys finished third out of the qualifying block and began the elimination round with a 1,293-1,132 win over St. Clair Shores Lakeview in the Quarterfinals.

Salem then beat Grand Haven in the Semifinals, 1,312-1,149.

Hudsonville had all sorts of momentum going into the Final after knocking off the reigning Division 1 champion and No. 1 seed out of the qualifying block Wyandotte Roosevelt in the Semifinals by a score of 1,366-1,227.

But Salem was too much for Hudsonville to overcome.

“The boys showed up today,” Hudsonville coach Paul Bentley said. “They bowled good all day. We just ran into a good team in Salem. They bowled well that match.”

Click for full girls results and full boys results.

PHOTOS: (Top) The Davison girls raise their Division 1 trophy after repeating as champs. (Middle) Salem's boys celebrate the second MHSAA title in program history.

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