BATTLE CREEK – Gobles junior Morgan Brunner admitted she had some nerves entering Saturday’s Division 4 Singles Finals at M-66 Bowl, and really all season. The expectation after winning last year’s championship had followed her.
But Brunner justified all the anticipation, entering match play as the fourth seed and repeating as the Division 4 girls champion with a 408-380 win over Bronson senior Idalia Hernandez in the final.
Jackson Lumen Christi junior Jackson Kremer also earned the opportunity to know life as a reigning champion. He entered match play as the third seed, started strong and then sweated through a cool streak before finding his stroke again in defeating Grass Lake senior Clayton Weir 441-398 in their title match.
“I got into match play, and I usually get a little more competitive in match play,” said Brunner, who became just the third repeat girls champion in 19 seasons of MHSAA Bowling Finals. “I definitely missed some spares that could’ve helped me, but I just tried to stay in a good mood and a good attitude and keep doing what I was doing.
“I went through a lot of ball changes in match play, and found one after they re-oiled that was good. (But) just having a good attitude really helped me with shot making.”
Brunner had rolled games of 223 and 212 during qualifying to earn that fourth seed, one behind Hernandez, who broke 200 three times during qualifying with a high of 230. Allen Park Cabrini junior Jordan Downham was first in qualifying, and Maple City Glen Lake junior Chloe Crick was second.
Brunner opened match play with a 216 and added a 213 and 224 in her next two wins. Hernandez won the first regular game of the final 220-198, but Brunner’s 210-160 advantage in the rematch sealed the repeat.
She joined Tecumseh’s Jordan Richard (2012-13) and Vandercook Lake’s MacKenzie Johnson (2018-19) as back-to-back Finals winners.
Kremer opened qualifying with a 278 and added a 224 in his fifth game to move on to match play as the third seed, while Weir rolled games of 227 and 223 on the way to advancing as the No. 4. Kremer opened match play with games of 228 and 208 to earn his way to the quarterfinals, then skated through a 341-317 victory and a 379-334 win in the semifinal as Weir rolled 432, 432 and 488 on the other side of the bracket.
But Kremer found his shot just in time, rolling 212 and 229 to edge Weir’s twin 199s in the title decider.
Kremer had reached the match play at the 2021 Final, but said he didn’t hit the lanes over the summer and had just picked up practicing again during the school year. He caught back up quickly – even if he didn’t give his skills enough credit in the moments after Saturday’s memorable win.
“Mainly just getting lucky strikes and lucky spares too – that really helped me keep going,” Kremer said. “I don’t really know.
“I thought I was going to be tired (Saturday) because of how early and how far we had to drive to get here. After that first game when I shot a 278, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s going to be good.” And then my next two games were 170s, and then I woke up and found it again.”
PHOTOS (Top) Gobles' Morgan Brunner unloads a shot during Saturday's Division 4 Singles Finals at M-66 Bowl. (Middle) Lumen Christi's Jackson Kremer attempts to pick up a spare. (Click for more from Champions Photography.)
Join Elizabeth Coon as they take a look at all of the action from the 2023 Team Bowling Finals.
Congratulations to our champions:
Division 1 Boys - Wayne Memorial
Division 1 Girls - Holt
Division 2 Boys - Flint Kearsley
Division 2 Girls - Sparta
Division 3 Boys - Lansing Catholic
Division 3 Girls - Flint Powers
Division 4 Boys - Grass Lake
Division 4 Girls - Taylor Trillium Academy