Juniors Thrive in Sweeping D2 Finals

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

March 7, 2020

WATERFORD – Warren Woods Tower bowling coach Craig Geml isn’t bashful about proclaiming what a bright future Noah Tafanelli has in the sport. 

“He’s definitely going to bowl at a high-level college program,” Geml said of his junior standout. 

Anyone at Century Bowl who witnessed Tafanelli’s performance Saturday at the MHSAA Division 2 Singles Finals could certainly see that likely will be the case. 

Tafanelli dominated from start to finish, earning the top spot out of the qualifying block and staying hot from there, winning the title with relative ease. 

Tafanelli didn’t have a score lower than 213 nor a margin of victory less than 46 pins on the way to his first title.

“The first couple of rounds, I was nervous,” Tafanelli said. “But I got on my pace the last couple of rounds.”

In the final, Tafanelli beat Grand Rapids Northview senior Dan Frey 494-410. That followed a 466-409 win over Northview freshman Kyle Pranger in the semifinals, a 466-366 win over Lowell senior Collin Clark in the quarterfinals and a 439-393 win over Chelsea junior Luis Carvallo in the round of 16. 

“My sophomore year, I placed 11th,” Tafanelli said. “It helped me a lot. Just recognizing the format and recognizing the people around.”

On the girls side, another junior took home a Finals title for the first time. 

Flint Kearsley’s Megan Timm found a groove in the elimination round after finishing 15th out of the qualifying block, eventually beating Carleton Airport freshman Ryan Giese in the final, 374-353. 

Timm held a 182-141 lead after the first game before holding off a hard-charging Giese, who won the second game 212-192. 

But it wasn’t enough to topple Timm, who left the alley with tears of joys less than a day after leaving in tears of sorrow after Kearsley’s team saw its run of sixth straight titles come to end with a semifinal loss. 

“I couldn’t tell you how I feel,” Timm said. “I can’t believe it just happened. I don’t believe it happened. I just worked hard and made my spares.”

Timm’s run began with a 355-327 win over Cedar Springs senior Omani Morales in the round of 16, then continued with a 343-329 win over Bay City John Glenn sophomore Julia Struck in the quarterfinals.

Timm then ran up against Woods Tower freshman Kayla Tafanelli, Noah’s sister, in the semifinals, earning a 390-363 victory to advance to the final. 

“She’s been great all season long,” said Kearsley coach Rob Ploof. “She got a new ball in the first (part) of February and that’s the ball she won a state title with. My nephew drilled it up for her. She’s just a great kid and deserves that.”

Both Noah Tafanelli and Timm will prepare next for an offseason of figuring out college plans and planning for repeat opportunities in 2021. 

Tafanelli was the first boys bowler from Woods Tower to win an MHSAA Finals title, while Timm was Kearsley’s third girls bowler to win it all. 

Click for full girls results and boys results.