Performance: Caledonia's Brittney Schnicke

March 4, 2016

Brittney Schnicke
Caledonia junior – Bowling

Schnicke placed among the elite of her league and the state’s best high school bowlers as well during her first two years rolling for the Fighting Scots. But this winter she has been even better, upping her average and winning her Division 1 Regional in singles Saturday with a six-game score of 1,241 – less than a year after losing parts of two fingers from her bowling hand in carpentry accident – to earn the Michigan National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

Schnicke was fresh off making the MHSAA Finals match play last March when, while building a clock in an industrial arts class at school, she cut off nearly the entire top joint of her left ring finger and the tip of her left middle finger. She bowls left-handed, and feared her career was over. But using a ball drilled to fit the changes on her hand, Schnicke built her skills back up – and this season is averaging 203 pins per game, up from 193 as a sophomore and 187 as a freshmen. Her averages this season and as a freshman were tops in the Ottawa-Kent Conference White, and her average last year was second in the league. Schnicke also has anchored her teams all three seasons, and last year helped Caledonia advance to the Division 1 Team Finals match play quarterfinals – she was named to the Division 1 all-state third team when the season was done. Caledonia is 44-0 in regular-season matches during her career, with three league titles.

Schnicke will bowl in the Division 1 Singles Final on Saturday at Sterling Lanes in Sterling Heights. She also used to play softball, but now spends her time away from the pins in a much quieter space than the bowling center, hunting and fishing with an eye on a career in conservation.

Coach Eric Bottrall said: “Brittney is a very competitive bowler that loves to bowl. Brittney practices relentlessly. She is a little emotional when she bowls, but that shows how bad she wants it. She is hard on herself, but expects to do well every time she bowls. Brittney has come up big when the team has needed her over the past three years. Being anchor has a lot of pressure involved, and Brittney thrives on it. We have won several tournaments, and Brittney never backs down when we need a big shot at the end of the game. She wants the last shot, and I believe in her. Brittney is a great listener and leader. I’m blessed to coach her, and she’s an inspiration to me. With all that Brittney went through last summer with her accident, to come back better than last season … that just shows the heart and dedication she has to be a better bowler.”

Performance Point: “I enjoyed being with my team the most. When we bowled singles, I was right next to the rest of my team the whole time and my coach was there the whole time to help me out. It relaxes me; it lets me know that I have support so I don’t have to do it alone. During the first couple of games, I was doing really good, and I thought if I just kept doing it and picking up my spares, I would probably place pretty good."

Comeback trail: “When I first cut (my fingertips) off, the first thing I said to my teacher was that I wouldn’t be able to bowl; my season was done. A couple months later when it healed up pretty well, the first time I bowled, it was pretty scary. I thought I would do badly the whole season, but my coach, he supported me through the whole thing and helped me out. It was a hard time. (But) I went into a tournament one weekend, and I did pretty well, and I thought if I could just keep doing that …”

Telling the tale: “I tell them what happened. They just asked how I can bowl with it. They’re pretty surprised. It still surprises me, but I’m getting there where it’s not as bad. The hardest part was getting used to the new way that my ball was drilled, and the easiest part was probably coming back with support from my teammates and my family.”

The natural: “I started (bowling) when I was 12 or 13. My dad (Chuck), he bowls a lot (and) he helps me a lot. He signed me up for a Saturday league, and after the league he would help me practice. I got a lot of support from the coaches in that league, they helped a lot, and it became easy for me. At first I thought I was really bad, but it actually came really easy for me. It was pretty natural for me, I guess.”

The great outdoors: “I like how relaxing it is, and quiet, and I like doing stuff with my dad especially. I want to be a DNR (Department of Natural Resources) officer. I’ve heard about them my whole life, and I always wanted to do that kind of stuff. And I hate hearing about poachers; I just want to catch them.”

– Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2015-16 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our Nation's freedom, or protecting lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.

Previous 2015-16 honorees
Feb. 24: Kamari Newman, Detroit East English boys basketball - Read
Feb. 17: Jason Whitens, Powers North Central boys basketball - Read 
Feb. 10: Rachel Hogan, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Read
Feb. 3: Nehemiah Mork, Midland Dow swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 27: Mardrekia Cook, Muskegon girls basketball - Read
Jan. 20: Sage Castillo, Hartland wrestling - Read
Jan. 13: Rob Zofchak, Dexter swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 6: Tyler Deming, Caro wrestling – Read
Dec. 15: Jordan Weber, East Jordan boys basketball – Read
Dec. 8: Kaitlyn Geers, Kent City girls basketball – Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Caledonia's Brittney Schnicke lines up a shot during practice Thursday. (Middle) Schnicke, a Regional singles champion last weekend, prepares for Saturday's MHSAA Final. (Photos by Eric Bottrall.)

With Only Championship Step Left to Take, Reid Ready to Earn Every Pin

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

December 6, 2023

Before she was big enough to properly hold a bowling ball, Hannah Reid was spending countless hours at the lanes.

Bay & ThumbAt 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 CostanzoPaul 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.

PHOTO 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. (Photo courtesy of the Reid family.)