Franklin Finishes Title Sweep, Davison Adds Individual Win to Team Runner-up

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for

March 5, 2022

ALLEN PARK – Emma Siekierski kept doing just enough to advance at Saturday’s Division 1 Singles Finals, until she put up a 279 game to move to the championship by eliminating Bailey Tomlin of New Baltimore Anchor Bay.

The Davison senior then prevailed in the final, winning 430-374 over Alyssa Fortney of Zeeland.

“I wanted a state team title badly,’’ said Siekierski, whose team finished runner-up the day before. “We struggled Friday. In our gym we have so many team title banners, but now at least I get to go into the gym and see my name for the individual singles title. It’s something I’ll always cherish. I trusted my shot today.’’

In the boys, division Livonia Franklin made it a sweep in the team and individual titles as junior Ian Wright edged Jared Musser of Davison, 400-391, in the championship match.

“I really didn’t think I’d get here,’’ said Wright. “The goal was the team title. We waited a long time for that.’’

“I struggled in the main,’’ added Wright of the multiple competition areas at Allen Park’s Thunderbowl Lanes. “We got to the arena, and I was able to make some adjustments.’’

Holt senior David Schaberg was the top male qualifier at 1,439 followed by Warren Woods Tower’s Zach McMichael (1,416) and Caledonia’s Alec Bisterfeldt (1,365). The Ians from team champion Livonia Franklin – Cain and Wright – made the top six, while Davison also had two in the final 16: Jared Musser and Shane Gagnon. Caledonia’s Ayden Sulzener also made the top 16 at 1,288.

Cain came out firing in the quarterfinal with a 300 game to dispose of Dylan Jablonski of Canton 485-304. He eventually cooled off and lost to Musser, who had ACL surgery in his right leg two years ago, 451-357, in the quarterfinal. Musser is a one-step, two-handed bowler.

Musser had eliminated Nate VanderBeek of Wyoming, 441-395.

Franklin/Davison bowlingSchaberg advanced by beating Matthew Starbenz of Brownstown Woodhaven, 420-390. His next opponent was Carson Hommes of Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, who had beaten Shane Gibson of Waterford Kettering, 378-311. Schaberg eliminated Hommes, 408-395, to advance to the semifinal against Musser, who prevailed 458-388.

Wright moved on by beating Sulzener 469-416. He took on Gagnon, who had eliminated Bisterfeldt, 442-416, and eliminated Gagnon (469-356) to move onto the semifinal.

Macomb Area Conference stars Carter Milasinovich of Utica Eisenhower and Connor Rogus of Dakota had to face each other in quarterfinal matchup after Milasinovich beat Tony DeLuccia of Rockford and Rogus downed McMichael, 467-387. Milasinovich won the friendly rivalry, 409-405, but eventually lost to Wright, 419-376 while Musser eliminated top seed Schaberg, 458-388.

Woods Tower’s Kayla Tafanelli was the top girls qualifier at 1,370, followed by Siekierski at 1,310. Three Zeeland bowlers made the top six: Fortney 1,231, senior Morgan Smith (1,227) and freshman Hayden Pompey-Oshinski (1,224).

New Baltimore Anchor Bay placed two in the top 16 – senior Melanie Straub and senior Bailey Tomlin – as did Hartland with Calie Mitchell and Morgan Maliszewski.

Tafanelli served notice she would be a force to be reckoned with, beating sophomore Samantha Mason, 545-348 with games of 268 and 277.

She faced Ava Crumley, who had defeated New Baltimore Anchor Bay’s Melanie Struab by one pin, 398-397 in the Round of 16.

Zeeland teammates Smith and Fortney faced each other in the quarterfinals after downing Calie Mitchell of Hartland and Hudsonville’s Morgan Blouw, respectively.

Fortney prevailed, 410-393 and upset Tafanelli, 439-422, in the semifinals to advance to the championship.

Nataleigh Eagle of Monroe beat Angelita Mireles of Holt, 332-320. She then squared off against Tomlin, who had finished off Pompey-Oshinski, 397-311.

The other quarterfinal had Maliszewski, who had defeated Aubree Clark of Utica (408-378), taking on Siekierski, who had eliminated Karley Chouinard of Westland John Glenn, 361-322.

GIRLS Results | BOYS Results

PHOTOS (Top) Davison's Emma Siekierski rolls during Saturday's Division 1 Singles Final at Thunderbowl Lanes. (Middle) Franklin's Ian Wright lines up his shot during his championship match against Davison's Jared Musser. (Click for more from Champions Photography.)

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