Lessons from Last Time Serve D2 Champs
By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com
March 2, 2019
WATERFORD – On the right forearm of Adrian bowler Jacob Harvey is a tattoo of a samurai, which he said is a tribute to his Japanese heritage.
“I’m a quarter Japanese, and it represents bravery and courage,” Harvey said.
Harvey certainly showed some of both during the Division 2 Singles Bowling Finals with that same right forearm, using it to best a typically competitive field and clinch the title.
A muscularly-built senior who was a two-way lineman for Adrian’s football team last fall, Harvey ended his day with a terrific performance in the championship match, knocking off New Boston Huron senior Zach Wyszynski 428-321.
Harvey bowled a 204 in the first game to take a 63-pin lead over Wyszynski heading into the second, then quickly served notice that there wouldn’t be a letdown.
Harvey finished off Wyszynski, who struggled with splits throughout the championship match, by bowling strikes in his first five frames of the second game.
“When we started the tournament, I kind of struggled to find a starting line that worked for me comfortably,” Harvey said. “During match play, I tried something different and it worked out really well for me and carried me through.”
Harvey previously qualified for the Finals as a sophomore and said there were a few lessons learned from that experience that served him well in his second opportunity.
“Spares are everything,” Harvey said. “Consistency is everything. Other than that, just keep a level head. Having the experience under my belt really helped me.”
Also benefitting from a previous experience at the Finals was Cedar Springs junior Omani Morales.
In the championship match, she defeated Escanaba senior Lindsey Juhl by a score of 416-328, taking charge in the later frames of the first game and then putting away Juhl with a strong start to the second.
Morales failed to advance out of the qualifying block at last year’s tournament, but like Harvey applied the lessons she learned to win it all this time around.
“I told myself that I’m here for a reason,” Morales said. “I just kept my head up and kept bowling. Maturity-wise, I just grew from the experience. There are a lot of people here, so last year, I was more nervous.”
Seeded 10th out of the qualifying block, Morales beat Adrian senior Shayleen Helf in the round of 16 (432-393), Carly Snyder of Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg in a quarterfinal (418-401) and then Muskegon Reeths-Puffer freshman Karli VanDuinen in a semifinal (388-318).
“I hit my mark every time and I just figured myself out,” said Morales, who will get a week off from athletics before starting practice for her other high school sport, softball.
Harvey also caught fire in match play after qualifying as the No. 14 seed, beating Owosso senior Thomas Trecha in the round of 16 (388-359), New Boston Huron senior Zach Taylor in a quarterfinal (346-322) and then Cadillac senior Brandon Foster in a semifinal (385-328).
Runner-up Wyszynski and Taylor were two of four bowlers from the New Boston Huron boys, who won the team title Friday, to advance out of the qualifying block.
Sophomore Sam Hughes and junior Joey Devita also advanced and fell in the round of 16 during what proved to be a memorable weekend for their program.
Click for full girls results and full boys results.
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.”