Flint Kearsley, New Boston Huron Rule D2
By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com
March 1, 2019
WATERFORD – There couldn’t have been a more appropriate showdown for the Division 2 girls bowling team championship Friday.
Flint Kearsley and Tecumseh entered No. 1 and No. 2 in number of Division 2 titles won, and happened to be seeded No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, out of the qualifying block.
Both won their quarterfinals and semifinals to set up a rematch of last year’s Final. But from there, Kearsley went out and took sole possession of the spotlight.
Kearsley won its sixth straight Division 2 title with a 1,352-1,239 win over Tecumseh, although it took a rally late in the regular game.
“I’ve got seven of the best girls I think I’ve ever had,” Kearsley head coach Rob Ploof said. “This is one heck of a team.”
After leading by two pins following the two Baker games, Kearsley struggled in the first few frames and saw Tecumseh take a sizable lead.
But Kearsley showed its championship mettle, rallying to win the regular game going away, 997-886.
“I just got them together and said, ‘You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to want it more than they do,’” Ploof said. “They had to find a way to win the game, and they did.”
Kearsley knocked off Coldwater in a quarterfinal, 1,315-1,135, before beating Charlotte in one semifinal, 1,332-1,264.
Tecumseh beat Mason in the quarterfinals, 1,309-1,204, before topping Carleton Airport in the other semi by just six pins, 1,151-1,145.
Tecumseh was seeking its first Finals title since it won three straight from 2008-10.
“Rob is an amazing coach, and it seems like when he huddles them up, they come out striking,” Tecumseh head coach Ken Richard said. “We couldn’t hang with them. But they blew us out of the water last year, and we hung with them longer this time. I’m real proud of the girls.”
As for the boys competition, the Final matchup was the opposite scenario featuring two teams that advanced to the championship match for the first time.
New Boston Huron and Tecumseh both made it farther than they ever had, but it was New Boston Huron that took home the championship trophy, knocking off Tecumseh by a score of 1,403-1,352.
“It’s been a special year,” New Boston Huron head coach Larry Collins said. “It’s a team of destiny. They worked hard and probably were the best group of kids I’ve had.”
New Boston Huron was the top seed out of the qualifying block, while Tecumseh was the seventh seed.
Continuing its dominance throughout the day, New Boston Huron took a 436-321 lead after the two Baker games.
Tecumseh made it interesting in the regular game and beat New Boston Huron 1,031-967, but that margin wasn’t enough to overcome the Baker deficit.
New Boston Huron beat Jackson Northwest in the quarterfinals, 1,296-1,231, and then beat Owosso in one semifinal, 1,323-1,166.
Tecumseh beat Coldwater in a quarterfinal, 1,320-1,187, and then dispatched Cadillac in the semifinals, 1,422-1,325.
Tecumseh junior bowler Hunter Rapaich, the second bowler in the lineup, rolled a 300 during the regular game.
Click for full girls results and full boys results.
New Boston Huron photo courtesy of New Boston Huron athletic department.
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.”