Howes, Kapanowski Lock Up 1st Titles

March 3, 2018

By Steve Gunn
Special for Second Half

MUSKEGON – After three years of varsity bowling, and zero trips to the MHSAA Finals, one might have expected Corunna's Javen Howes to just be happy to qualify this year.

But Howes did a whole lot better than that.

The senior bowler, who was the 10th and final qualifier at his Regional last week, caught fire Saturday and captured the Division 3 boys individual championship at Northway Lanes in Muskegon.

Howes defeated Portland's Jack Dalman in the tournament final, 429-317.

That score was a bit deceptive, because the match was close after the first game, which Howes won by only a 194-181 margin.

But he took command in the second game, beating Daman 235-136 to claim a comfortable victory.

"I just took my time and made sure my feet were slow and made sure I hit my mark," said Howes, an emotional bowler who's not afraid to show his excitement after throwing a strike.

Anyone watching Saturday's tournament would be amazed to learn Howes failed to qualify for the Finals in his three previous years of varsity competition.

While he admitted that was an annual disappointment, he also said it was extra motivation to make it on his last try, and do as well as he could.

"I'm glad I made it this year for the first time," Howes said. "I bowled really good today from the very start, I got lined up on my very first ball, so I knew it was going to be a good day."

Corunna coach Jason Scott noted that Howes had a lot of high scores throughout the tournament.

"He was very solid all day long," the coach said. "He had a 255 game, a 235 game and a 268 game in one of the rounds. He had multiple games with a lot of strikes.

"He was very confident. We tried to keep him calm and in a good mood all day long, and it worked. He was tough to beat."

The other seven boys bowlers who made the quarterfinals and won medals were Dalman, Justin Wolffis of Muskegon Orchard View, Devon Wert of Perry, Hunter Peterson of Ishpeming, Ryan Day of Gladwin, Isaac Solis of Adrian Madison and Kyle Nohel of Sanford Meridian.

Solis and Nohel were semifinalists.

Unlike Howes, Algonac's Shelby Kapanowski is a veteran of the Finals. This was her third trip in four years, but she never did particularly well before Saturday – finishing 44th as a sophomore and 23rd as a junior.

But Kapanowski's fortunes flipped dramatically at this year's tournament. She defeated Birch Run's Tessa Birchmeier 372-320 in the final to capture the championship.

Unlike the boys final, this outcome was never really in doubt. Kapanowski took command with a 194-167 win in the first game, then sealed up the title with a 178-153 victory in the second.

"I was nervous in the first round of match play, but as the day went on I found my shot and the lanes never broke down on me, so I was able to handle it very well," said Kapanowski, a senior.

Algonac coach Chris Viney may have been more excited than Kapanowski about her championship.

"Earlier in the season, in back-to-back tournaments, she lost her match play by one pin," Viney said. "It was rough, but we kept saying that it's OK, it was good experience. We told her that bad things are happening right now, but good things will happen later, and they did.

"Every year she got closer. This year we got her in more tournaments and got her more experience. She constantly got better and better and better. She's a winner. She has tenacity. She works hard."

The other seven girls medalists were Birchmeier, Kendyl Hofmeister of Essexville Garber, Madilynn Kieling of Livonia Clarenceville, Ashley Hoskins of Leslie, Lynsey Blonshine of Stanton Central Montcalm, Kayla Kern of Wyoming and Megan Wilkins of Ishpeming.

Kern and Wilkins were semifinalists.

Click for full boys results and girls 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