Before she was big enough to properly hold a bowling ball, Hannah Reid was spending countless hours at the lanes.
At the former Town and Country Lanes, which was run by her grandmother, Reid would hold the ball with both hands near her chest, and toss it down the lane with all the might in her 3-year-old body. But it better have stayed out of the gutter.
“Never used bumpers,” said her father, Mike Reid. “She had to earn every pin.”
The Flushing senior has continued to earn every pin for the past 15 years, and this past season, it led to an unlikely run to the Division 1 Bowling Singles Final championship match. She finished runner-up, which just means there’s more pins to knock down and one more step to take.
“I have a lot more confidence, but it’s also scary,” she said, “because the only way I can get better is being the state champion. But I have to push for that.”
It’s a lot to ask of herself, but so was overcoming the odds to get to the title-deciding match a year ago.
Reid was bowling in her first Finals tournament and found herself outside the top 16 after the first four games of the qualifying block. She closed with a 207 and 217 in the final two games to sneak in as the 16th seed by two pins.
“I struggled in the first part of the game,” she said. “But once the lanes transitioned, I transitioned with them in a good way.”
Even then, Reid was facing long odds, facing No. 1 seed Melanie Straub of New Baltimore Anchor Bay in the first round. Straub had dominated qualifying, finishing 54 pins ahead of the second seed. But after the first game, Reid trailed by only six pins. She caught up and pulled away in the second to pull off a massive upset.
“I think she probably surprised herself more than anyone,” Flushing bowling coach Jeremy Jurvelin said. “Once she beat (Straub), it definitely became more on her radar that she could make a run for the Finals.”
Reid did just that, winning her next two matches before her Cinderella run came to a close in the championship match against Clarkston’s Katie Stephens.
“That was one heck of a run,” said Mike Reid, a volunteer coach for Flushing who handles the girls program. “It was awesome. It’s still a tear-jerker, especially with how close she came to being a state champion, which is huge. Hopefully, we can make that run again. But I don’t like that 16 seed. Top five would be great.”
Mike Reid has been there every step of the way in Hannah’s bowling journey, from those days when she was two-hand pushing a ball down the lane, to now, when she’s entered her senior season having already signed to bowl collegiately at Lawrence Tech and is bowling some of the best games of her life.
She bowled her high series – 734 – during a rec league match in late November. That came one day after her dad rolled a 733.
It wasn’t a direct victory over Dad, but it was a victory. And Dad was OK with it.
“It’s still kind of cool that she topped me by one pin the next day,” he said. “Maybe one day she’ll get to my 857. I can’t wait until she gets her first 300 game.”
Hannah very nearly did get that perfect game a year ago. She bowled a 287 on Jan. 8 in a tournament at Richfield Bowl in Flint. As she neared the end, all eyes started to turn toward her. Going through that, she said, was more nerve-racking than competing in the Division 1 Final.
Perhaps that helped as she recently won an Under-18 Michigan Junior Masters Association tournament in Westland. It took a comeback in her semifinal, which she wound up winning by one pin, to pull it off.
“It’s not over until it’s over,” she said, which may be cliche, but fitting of her record in the biggest bowling tournaments of her life.
Reid opened her high school season with 248 and 204 games to lead her team to a win against Goodrich.
This year’s Flushing team returns every bowler from a year ago and has a chance to qualify for the Team Final for the first time since 2020.
Having strong teammates to push her has only driven Reid more this season.
“During practice, we do different drills and competitions,” she said. “So winning those competitions sets you up for everything.”
Paul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Flushing’s Hannah Reid shows off her Division 1 Final runner-up medal last season with coach Jeremy Jurvelin, left, and father and coach Mike Reid. (Middle) By third grade, Hannah Reid already had fallen in love with bowling. (Photos courtesy of the Reid family.)
Rogers City’s bowling team is on a roll. And the Hurons haven’t even had their first competition of the season.
Rogers City has a decorated past, including winning the first state bowling championship in 1999, organized by the Bowling Center Association of Michigan, against a field including schools of all sizes and five years before the addition of MHSAA Finals in the sport. The boys team also was the Division 4 team runner-up at the first Class C-D Finals hosted by the MHSAA in 2004.
The Hurons hope to return to those glory days by bringing back experienced bowlers on both the boys and girls teams. Rogers City last qualified teams for the Finals in 2020 – when both the boys and girls advanced – and both teams hope to make a run at the Northern Michigan Conference title and land a spot at this season’s Finals in March.
The boys did find success last year — with just four bowlers — placing ahead of a handful of teams at its Regional. This year, Rogers City has a full boys team, and more, including junior Gavin Rhode, who qualified for the Singles Finals last year. The Hurons also are returning senior Conner Muller and sophomore Gabe Mina; Muller narrowly missed qualifying for the Finals last winter. And they are excited to see how first-year bowlers Blaise Szatkowski, Cooper Heinzel, George Karsten, Jacob Wickersham and Ryan Morgan perform.
The girls are returning seniors Arianna Anderson and Sophia Mina and sophomore Olivia Reyes. First-year bowlers Ruby Svay – an exchange student – and freshman Brooke Crawford compose the rest of the squad.
Both the boys and the girls have added strong bowlers with incoming freshmen, including Wickersham, a 180-average bowler.
“With a small school you kind of know what is coming along,” long-time coach Brian Bannasch said. “Even with our limited numbers last year, we were still competitive.”
The Hurons will open their season Jan. 6. As has been the case for years, matches will take place on Saturdays for optimal lane availability.
“After the success previous to COVID, the last couple years have really been a letdown just not having enough bodies,” Bannasch acknowledged. “We still sent kids to the state finals individually, but team-wise were just lacking numbers with a small school that has under 175 in the high school.
“When you lose any number of kids, it is tough to replace them,” he continued. “We are really excited to have numbers this year.”
The bowling program has been battling lower overall school enrollment and competing with basketball and wrestling teams for roster numbers.
Long hours in the alley for practice, traveling for matches and competing are paying off for the Hurons. Those long hours are the same for the coaches, forcing absence from the family business.
But it’s being done with a focus on a road trip to the Division 4 Finals in March, at Northway Lanes in Muskegon.
The boys and girls Regionals, hosted by Traverse City Christian, will be held at Lucky Jacks in Traverse City.
“We definitely have individuals expecting to qualify as individuals on the boys side,” Bannasch said. “We have three girls that have bowled before and fewer teams in each Regional.
“We had a pretty powerful Regional,” he continued. “Maybe with fewer teams, it could work to our advantage.”
Bannasch, whose family owns the local bowling alley Nautical Lanes, has been the boys and girls bowling coach from the beginning at Rogers City. The school started with a club team prior to making it a varsity sport.
Bannasch has seen a lot of talented bowlers develop through his youth programs and then vie for championships in high school. The Hurons often have had more than a dozen bowlers on the boys team.
Bannasch points to every bowler in Rogers City history competing in at least one varsity match every year as key to the team’s historical success. His unique philosophy of participation often has paid dividends.
“One of the things that has helped us be successful is that I have a little different philosophy than most coaches,” Bannasch noted. “We’ve had years where we’ve had 12 or 14 boys and 10 girls.
“We had JV matches, but we never consider it JV – they were all part of the varsity bowling team,” he continued. “In the next year, they have experienced that and know what the varsity match is all about.”
Bannasch also has watched other conference schools win or contend for Finals titles, something he points to with pride.
Bannasch spotlighted Cheboygan’s boys having won the Division 2 title in 2009 and Boyne City’s boys — as a newer program — finishing Division 3 runners-up in 2020 and 2021. Cheboygan’s girls finished Division 3 runners-up in 2022.
“Our success has been great, but I take just as much pride in the success of our conference,” Bannasch said. “We’re such a close-knit conference, it is great to see anybody up here be successful at it.”
Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Rogers City’s bowling teams have high aspirations this winter with their first competitions coming up next month. (Middle) Gavin Rhode, a Finals qualifier last season, practices recently. (Below) Arianna Anderson, left, and Sophia Mina are seniors on the girls team. (Photos by Richard Lamb/Presque Isle Newspapers.)