St. Charles junior – Bowling
Only one bowler has won multiple singles championships during the 13 years of MHSAA Boys Bowling Finals. Tuttle also became the first to win three straight when he claimed Division 4 again Saturday with a 418-381 victory over Genesee’s Luke Cantrell at Royal Scot in Lansing. His three-peat win earned Tuttle the Michigan National Guard Performance of the Week and set him up to further make history next year as a senior.
Tuttle's latest Finals run differed greatly from his first two. He squeaked out a nine-pin win in the Semifinals as a freshman to set up his first title, and won his championship match as a sophomore by a mere pin. This time, Tuttle finished second in qualifying to Vandercook Lake freshman Korey Reichard, only 16 pins off the pace, and then won his matches by 126, 31 and 46 to set up his deciding match against Cantrell.
Tuttle, who also carries a 3.87 grade-point average, practices five days a week and two to three hours each session. He’s served as St. Charles’ anchor all three seasons, and coach Mark Faupel noted his leader continues to work on his craft by studying video of professional bowlers and participating in a sport shot singles league during the summer that allows him to compete on tougher lane conditions. St. Charles has won two Regional championships during Tuttle’s high school career and kicked off this year’s Finals by finishing team runner-up to Sandusky on Friday.
Coach Mark Faupel said: Kyle works harder than anyone else on the team and is so knowledgeable about the sport. He is constantly thinking about not only the next shot, but the next game. He knows the lanes continuously go through transition, and he wants to be in the best position to score when that transition occurs. He knows exactly what he wants to do when he steps up on the approach. All the thinking and preparation has taken place between shots. He lives for making the clutch shot in the 10th frame, although he is not demonstrative. He has a very quiet approach to the game and hardly ever shows emotion. If he makes a bad shot, he will quickly get over it and move on to the next shot. If he makes a really good shot, he will acknowledge his teammates and show very little emotion. I always tell my team members that when you strike, act like you have done if before, and he definitely displays this. … Kyle is the type of athlete that comes around once in a lifetime. He is dedicated, hard-working, athletic, and extremely talented. The only goal left for Kyle is to get that elusive first team tournament title for St. Charles and win an unprecedented four singles titles.”
Performance Point: "I never really struggled (Saturday). Just how calm I was the whole time, I never was under too much stress. Compared to the last two years, that was rare. I think I enjoyed it more because I was more relaxed. ... I think I surprised myself with the first (title); as a freshman I didn't really expect to win. (Last year) I had more confidence from the previous year."
Same way, every day: "I'm really consistent, and that helps. Anybody can have a good day and make it to the Finals. If you consistently do well, you're expected to be there and normally do well. I just like to pride myself on consistency."
Drive for 4: "I haven't really thought about it all too much. I'm taking it as it comes. ... A lot of people have brought it up. I wanted to win this year so I have the opportunity to do that. It's pretty cool."
Right choice after all: "When I was 5, I didn't do a whole lot. My parents wanted me to do something, and there's a bowling alley in St. Charles so it was convenient. They threw me in a league and I didn't want to. I had bowled when I was younger, and I didn't want to do it every Saturday. I was kinda scared. I remember crying the night before the first day; that's how badly I didn't want to do it. But after the first day, I loved it. It was just fun. Now it's 12 years later."
Scientific strategy: "I think I'll get a bachelor's in the engineering field and then think about med school. If I end up not wanting to be a doctor, I can fall back on the engineering degree. I like real-world application stuff; I love physics. It's interesting to make the connections (between physics and bowling.)
– Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor
Every week during the 2015-16 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.
The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our Nation's freedom, or protecting lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.
Previous 2015-16 honorees
March 2: Brittney Schnicke, Caledonia girls bowling - Read
Feb. 24: Kamari Newman, Detroit East English boys basketball - Read
Feb. 17: Jason Whitens, Powers North Central boys basketball - Read
Feb. 10: Rachel Hogan, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Read
Feb. 3: Nehemiah Mork, Midland Dow swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 27: Mardrekia Cook, Muskegon girls basketball - Read
Jan. 20: Sage Castillo, Hartland wrestling - Read
Jan. 13: Rob Zofchak, Dexter swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 6: Tyler Deming, Caro wrestling – Read
Dec. 15: Jordan Weber, East Jordan boys basketball – Read
Dec. 8: Kaitlyn Geers, Kent City girls basketball – Read
PHOTO: (Top) Bowlers prepare for the start of the MHSAA Division 4 Team Finals on March 3 at Royal Scot in Lansing.
WATERFORD – All Waterford Mott head boys bowling coach Rob Hanson wanted to do was have a personal practice session.
Little did he know it would randomly plant a seed that would eventually produce some state high school bowling history.
More than two years ago, after finding some rare time outside his coaching duties to work on his own game at a local center, Hanson noticed a kid coming in with his grandmother to bowl.
Hanson immediately took notice of how well the kid was bowling and the fact he had a pair of Waterford Mott soccer shorts on. So he asked the kid, then-sophomore Brendan Riley, if he went to the school.
After Riley told Hanson that he did, Hanson had another question for him.
“Why didn’t you try out for bowling?” Hanson said.
Riley said at the time, his mother wasn’t familiar with the bowling team’s schedule and thought it would take too much time away from school.
Once Hanson explained the schedule to the family, Riley ended up trying out after all and made the JV team.
Weeks later, Riley worked his way up to varsity.
The rest, as they say, is history.
After bowling on the varsity for a majority of his sophomore year, Riley as a junior last year won the Division 1 Finals singles championship, capping a rapid rise to the top that might not have happened if not for that chance encounter.
“It was quite surprising,” Riley said. “I wasn’t expecting to see the coach that day. I was just going up to have a good time with my grandma.”
Last year for Riley turned out to be all about his individual success, as he led the Lakes Valley Conference with a 217 average and ended up seeded No. 8 out of the Finals qualifying block.
Riley then rolled to the title, earning a 14-pin win over Mattawan’s Charlie Johnson in the final.
For Riley, his success at the MHSAA Tournament boiled down to one thing: Composure.
“I think the only reason I won was because I had the best attitude,” said Riley, who also was a member of Mott’s soccer team in the fall. “Everyone I bowled in the match play started to get upset at themselves every time they got a split or when they didn’t get a strike.”
As a senior, Riley’s average actually has been down a little compared to last year’s 207, but what his teammates have done has been a bigger testament of his success – and made it even more enjoyable than what he accomplished last year as an individual.
Riley enters Friday’s Regional tournament third on Mott in average behind teammates Dylan Keating and Zechariah Thomas, but that is more a reflection of the improvement those two have shown and how they were inspired by what Riley did last year.
“He hasn’t had a bad year,” Hanson said of Riley. “It’s just that his success is breeding desire for everyone else. His leadership quality is amazing.”
Mott will travel Friday to Century Bowl with four tournament titles, including winning the LVC championship, and a 15-1 record.
Bowling is as fickle a sport as any, but no doubt the Corsairs are contenders if they bowl as they’re capable.
“As a team, it feels a lot better to get more things accomplished beyond just myself,” Riley said.
Riley also has a college future, as he has signed to bowl for Goshen College in Indiana as part of the first recruiting class for the new program.
An individual title last year, team domination so far this season and a future in college bowling? That’s a great crop of greatness that was planted simply by running into Hanson that one day.
“It’s a great story,” Hanson said.
Keith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties
PHOTOS (Top) Waterford Mott’s Brendan Riley finds his shot during a match. (Middle) Riley takes a post-tournament photo after winning last season’s singles championship. (Top photo courtesy of the Riley family.)