Harnden Takes Place in Eisenhower History as Program's 1st Singles Champ

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for MHSAA.com

March 2, 2024

ALLEN PARK – Utica Eisenhower has produced some great high school bowlers in past standouts Carter Milasinovich and Dylan Kelly.

You can add Dylan Harnden to the list.

The junior won his first MHSAA singles title Saturday at the Division 1 Finals at Thunderbowl Lanes, holding off 16th seed Ben Prokopec of Grand Haven, 393-375 in the championship match.

In doing so, Harnden became the first to claim a singles title from his school’s boys bowling program, annually one of the strongest statewide.

“Those guys have been a huge inspiration for me,’’ said Harnden. “Oh my God, they are super good and I always wanted to be like them. When I was with Carter my freshman year he was just giving me advice about how to stay mentally strong and how to physically get better at the game.”

Mark Harnden is his father and coach.

“I couldn’t be more proud,’’ he said. “Dylan is a student of the game. We talk though things. We made some changes during the course of the day, and they worked out.’’

Prokopec had to bowl in a roll-off to reach the 16th seed. He nearly made his improbable run a reality when he posted a 447-417 victory over Davison’s Joe Merz in the Semifinals.

Standing in his way was Harnden, who defeated 15th seed Albert Guzman of Farmington, 382-313.

Hartland’s Andrew Clark was the top seed at 1,319 pins in qualifying, while reigning champion Brendan Riley of Waterford Mott was second at 1,293 and Holt’s Nicholas Schaberg third at 1,289.

Utica Eisenhower had two finish in the top 16: Junior Kingston Corpus fifth at 1,275 and fellow junior Harnden sixth at 1,263.

New Baltimore Anchor Bay senior Michael Pupin and Grand Haven junior Prokopec each finished at 1,200 – two pins fewer than Macomb Dakota’s Landen Moore, who finished at 1,202 – to set up the roll-off for the final match play spot.

Prokopec won the roll-off 204-195 to advance against Clark. He kept the momentum going by eliminating the top seed, 375-292.

Prokopec’s next opponent was sophomore Brady Pettenger, who had bounced Tony Bain of Wyandotte Roosevelt, 352-343. Once again the 16th seed prevailed, 383-327.

Guzman, the 15th seed, downed Riley 436-423, and Ferris Eldred of Hudsonville eliminated Cole Rogus of Dakota, 423-393. 

Grandville’s Bonham Pulcifer topped Evan Eagle of Monroe, 456-325. He moved on to face Merz, who had defeated fifth-seed Kingston Corpus of Utica Eisenhower, 409-320.

Merz outlasted Pulcifer, 397-334, and moved on to face Prokopec.

Nicholas Schaberg of Holt ended Landen Moore’s run, 434-429, to advance against Harden, who had defeated Matt Sprau of Portage Central, 377-362.

Harnden rolled into the Semifinals with a 435-407 victory over Schaberg, next taking on Guzman, who had defeated Eldred, 404-346.

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