Top Seeds Take D2 Top Honors

March 2, 2013

By Sarah Dorow
Special for Second Half

WATERFORD – History was made Saturday in Waterford as Jordan Richard, a junior from Tecumseh, became the first MHSAA Finals back-to-back singles champion.

"It's amazing," Richards said. "We wanted it as a team, too, but unfortunately it didn't work out so well."

She led the qualifying block with a score of 1,370 and high game of 268.

On her journey back to the finals she ousted number 16 seed Samantha Eldridge from Owosso (424-375), the eighth seed Samantha Knight from Richland Gull Lake (427-381) and Kayla Emmendorfer, the fourth seed from Flint Kearsley (425-400).

The last bowler who stood in the way of Richard's back-to-back championships was sixth-seeded senior Sabrina Senninger from Grand Rapids Northview.

In the semifinal round, Senninger knocked out Richard's teammate, junior Lauren McKowen, by a single pin.

But after the excitement, Senninger had to prepare to face the top-seeded defending champion.

"I knew that I would be going against Jordan, and I just told myself I needed to bowl my best and do what I could," Senninger said

And that included leaning on her fans for support.

"I think having my parents and family there definitely helped,” she added.

However, Richard's experience proved too much and she beat Senninger 450-326.

With her senior year on the horizon, Richard already is looking ahead toward a three-peat and what she plans to work on in the offseason.

"Spares, because I've been struggling with my 10 pin lately, and I've missed quite a few this weekend," she said.

This was the fourth MHSAA singles championship won by a Tecumseh bowler over the past five seasons. In addition to Richard's win in 2012, her older sister, Kara Richard, won in 2010 and Tawni Vollmer took the title for the Indians in 2009.

Holly's Andrew Anderson didn't begin competing this season until six weeks ago. But his credentials spoke for themselves: He had made the top 16 singles at the MHSAA tournament his freshman year, the quarterfinals his sophomore year, and is a member of the 2012 Junior Team USA.

The senior made the most of his Finals opportunity and beat Bay City John Glenn junior Alex Ouellette for the singles championship Saturday.

After the morning qualifier, which included a 299 game, Anderson was sitting in first with Ouellette second.

But Anderson and Ouellette, who also had made it to the quarterfinals before, knew positioning didn't guarantee a win.

"I just knew that qualifying didn't mean anything because if you bowl against the 16th or the first, they're still good bowlers, and you have to go out and do your own thing and make shots," Ouellette said.

Ouellette was able to lean on his strength of making spares and eased his way into the finals while Anderson was almost knocked out in the quarterfinals by Sault Ste. Marie senior Nick Beatty with a nail-biting score of 415-412.

"I was ahead and he, just like the match before, he came out striking 246 against me," Anderson said. "But I knew that I was going to have a chance being up by 40 pins. He gave me a chance to throw the first one and shut him out."

Once in the finals, Anderson had the carry and threw the first 10 strikes.

"You know the bowling gods liked me today,” he said. “Let's just say that."

While Anderson was striking, Ouellette applied his own strategy and did not watch his opponent's shots.

"You can't do anything about what the other person does, so if they go through the nose or throw a good strike it doesn't matter," Ouellette said. "It's still a strike. You can't do anything about how they throw it."

In the end, Anderson’s 289 game to start the finals match proved too much to overcome, and he beat Ouellette 518-406.

With Anderson ending his high school career on a high note, junior Ouellette is looking to do the same next year. 

"I want to win it," said Ouellette. "So I'm going to use this as motivation that I've gotten here, I've gotten close and I know what it takes to win."

Click for full girls results and 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