Plymouth Christian Academy, Bronson Believe & Achieve at D4 Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 4, 2022

The Plymouth Christian Academy boys couldn’t believe they did it. The Bronson girls just had to believe they could do it again.

Friday’s Division 4 team bowling champions had different back stories, but arrived at the same celebration at M-66 Bowl in Battle Creek. PCA’s boys program – in just its third season – won its first Finals title, and Bronson’s girls team battled through a few tough spots to secure their third championship in four seasons.

The Eagles claimed their title with a 1,194-1,162 win over Grass Lake, which was seeking its third-straight team title after winning Division 3 last season and Division 4 in 2020.

Grass Lake won the Baker games by 53 pins, but PCA followed juniors Adam Moore (237) and Kyle Quick (215) in the regular games.

“It doesn’t feel real. It’s incredible,” Quick said. “It was a long road to get here. We had a lot of ups and downs, but in the end we all put in the hard work and we got it done.

“It shows how rapidly everyone’s been improving. It shows we have great leadership, great teaching, and that we have a great team.”

Bronson bowlingGrass Lake’s boys were seeded first out of qualifying after dropping 237 pins more than the field, while PCA entered match play seeded sixth. A 37-pin semifinal win over Vandercook Lake thrust the Eagles into the championship match, but they still had to balance out the Bakers with some big rolls down the stretch.

Senior Brenton Cochrane rolled a 197 to lead Grass Lake in the final.

“We thought we were down and out throughout this match. But as soon as we got past that fifth frame, the kids all of a sudden started taking it to the next level and started having fun with the game again – and I think that was the big difference,” PCA coach Robert Moore said.

“At some time throughout this season, each one of them has carried the team with a big game. This was the time for all of them to do it together at the same time.”

Bronson coach Linda Hyska has preached “pins, pins, pins get you the wins” through the hours of practice her team has put in as it’s worked to return to the top after ending in the semifinals a year ago.

The Vikings finished second in qualifying, also to Grass Lake, then moved through the bracket with a 52-pin win over Burton Bendle and 29-pin win over Ishpeming Westwood in the semifinal.

Bronson won the Bakers 357-297 over Grass Lake in the final, and followed up with a 763-714 advantage in the regular games for a 1,120-1,011 win.

“From our lows to our highs, they just finished it to the very end,” Hyska said. “They had moments today that (were) a downer. But you know what? Somebody else on the team picked them up, and that’s what this is – a team event today, and we all finished strong at the very end.”

Sophomore Hadassah Bloom paced Bronson in the regular game with a 179, while senior Cierra Chapo led Grass Lake with a 186. Grass Lake had defeated Bronson in their Regional last weekend at Jax 60, 3,427-3,328, and a combined five bowlers from those teams are slated to compete in Saturday’s Singles Finals.

“Starting off this year, I had faith in us – but we definitely had to work to get here,” Bronson senior Idalia Hernandez said. “Our big saying today was ‘positive mindset equals positive outcome.’ That’s something we live by … (and) we realize that definitely gets us going.

“I have faith they can come back every year.”

GIRLS Results | BOYS Results

PHOTOS (Top) Plymouth Christian Academy warms up before Friday’s Team Finals at M-66 Bowl. (Middle) A Bronson bowler winds up during competition. (Click for more from Champions Photography.)

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