Vanier Finishes Sizzling Finals Weekend Adding Singles Title to Team Win

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

March 2, 2024

WATERFORD — Flint Kearsley boys bowling coach Bart Rutledge had a premonition fairly early about sophomore Jameson Vanier during the Division 2 Singles Bowling Finals.

After Vanier finished as the fifth seed coming out of the qualifying block, Rutledge said he turned to his assistant during the round of 16 match against Sparta junior Josiah Reister and offered this proclamation. 

“I told my assistant coach in the second game that he’s going to win (the state title),” Rutledge said. 

Rutledge’s instincts proved accurate, as Vanier continued a hot stretch to finish the season by rolling to the individual title. 

Vanier was sizzling in the Final, bowling scores of 254 and 235 to earn a 489-362 victory over Madison Heights Lamphere junior Nolan Pepper. 

It was easy for Rutledge to believe in Vanier, given that over the final three weeks of the season Vanier averaged around 240 and bowled a 300 game. 

“He’s been on fire,” Rutledge said.

Following a 407-322 win over Reister, Vanier went on to beat Carleton Airport senior Colin Peterson in the Quarterfinals (419-388) and Grand Rapids Northview junior Cadyn Pranger in the Semifinals (499-409), rolling a 275 in the second game. 

Vanier said when he was in eighth grade, he decided to switch from a one-handed throw to a two-handed method, and it has produced wondrous results.

“I thought I threw the ball a lot better, and I thought my potential was higher,” he said. “I got it right. It was comfort, and I scored a lot higher doing it.”

In the Final, Vanier only had two frames in the first game where he didn’t throw strikes, starting with three in a row and ending with three in a row.

Vanier struggled in the first part of the second game, but caught fire again late, finishing with seven straight strikes and letting out a furious yell after bowling a strike on his final ball in the 10th frame as teammates came to mob him. 

Pepper was seeded seventh out of the qualifying block and earned wins over Bay City John Glenn junior Nathan Gwizdala (374-346) in the round of 16, Warren Woods Tower senior Clinton Harris in the Quarterfinals (403-390) and Tecumseh junior Parker Ziemer in the Semifinals (395-344) before running into the buzzsaw that was Vanier in the Final. 

It was an unbeaten weekend for Vanier, who was a part of Kearsley’s second-straight team championship as well. 

With two more seasons left, Vanier might be a good bet to win another individual title. But for now, the multi-sport athlete will turn his attention to strikes of a different kind as a member of Kearsley’s baseball team. 

“It was a strike just about every time,” Vanier said. “I felt good every single time.”

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