Senior Standouts Rally & Reign in D1

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for

March 7, 2020

ALLEN PARK – Denny O’Neill described Cheyenne Washington as a four-year stalwart in the Lake Orion program, coachable and a leader.

He could now describe her as a champion as she rallied from a 19-pin deficit against Lauren Slagter of Jenison to claim the Division 1 Finals singles title Saturday at Thunderbowl Lanes, 392-353.

Slagter opened in the second, fifth and seventh frames to open the door for the Dragons’ senior.

“I just wanted to keep making good shots and have fun,’’ said Washington. “It really didn’t matter about the score. Instead of playing in, like the girls were playing, I had to play outside. I had to change balls because the boys pushed the oil to the outside, but that’s the line I like playing. It’s a great feeling.’’ 

“She’s my team captain this year, and she has great family support,’’ O’Neill said. “She has been a pleasure to coach – very trainable and she listens.’’

Slagter advanced to the final by beating Carrington Beaman of Farmington, 483-385, while Washington eliminated Anna Maxwell of Westland John Glenn, 418-351.

In the boys division, Utica Eisenhower’s Dylan Kelley was trying to add a singles title to his team’s championship on Friday. Standing in his way was smooth lefty Izaac Goergen of Midland. Splits on Lane 5 had Goergen searching for an adjustment. He found it and claimed the title against Kelley, who couldn’t find the pocket.

“I had been throwing urethane all day, the purple Hammer, and we noticed the shot was tighter,’’ said Goergen. “With the girls pushing the oil inside, I had to change balls. I went to my pearl Idol, and it made all the difference. I guess it worked.’’

The Macomb Area Conference bowlers dominated the top spots in both divisions as junior Dani Decruydt of St. Clair Shores Lakeshore was the top qualifier in the girls division at 1,268. Second was Samantha Mason of Sterling Heights (1,267), and third was Allyson Sand of Macomb L’Anse Creuse North (1,262).

Decruydt made a quick exit as the top seed as she was knocked out by 16th seed Kayla Mazure of L’Anse Creuse North (389-382). Mazure advanced to face Washington, who eliminated Noelle Phillips of Traverse City West, 459-417.

Second seed Mason was knocked out by the 15th seed, freshman Angelita Rodriguez of Wyandotte Roosevelt, 372-332. Rodriguez moved on to face Beaman, who had defeated Evelyn Cano of Flushing, 391-380. Beaman overcame some thumb issues and dispatched Rodriguez to advance to the semifinals.

The top remaining seed was Sand, who downed of Carmen Corona of Warren Cousino, 448-336.

Jenison also had two bowlers make it to the round of eight as Anna Bartz beat Ondrea Ream of Traverse Central 403-315 and Slagter knocked out Katherine Dybicki of Belleville, 421-378.

LCN’s Sand and Mazure lost in the round of eight; Sand to Jenison’s Slagter, 472-373, and Mazure to Washington 341-329. Jenison’s Bartz was eliminated by Maxwell, 380-326.

In the boys division sophomore Carter Milasinovich of Utica Eisenhower was the top marksman at 1,395 followed by Noah Samuels of Salem (1,377) and Goergen of Midland (1,365).

The upsets in the boys division started early as well as Samuels lost to sophomore Ben Augustitus of St. Clair Shores Lakeshore (446-393). Salem teammate Jon Hall also lost to a sophomore, Justin Strait of Grand Haven (436-378). That ended the weekend for Salem, which finished runner-up in the Team Final on Friday.

Strait ended Augustitus’ day in the quarterfinal, 409-355, to advance to the semis.

Eisenhower’s Milasinovich also didn’t last long, as he was beaten in the first round of match play by Matt Buck of Rockford (437-373). However, teammate Kelley advanced to the quarterfinal round, opening match play with a win over Julihanni Alcini of Roseville.

Marco Ramirez of Brownstown Woodhaven advance to the semifinals by beating Buck, 484-378 while Goergen bettered Davison’s Brendan Ashley, 428-380. He then faced Kelley, who had beaten David Schaberg of Holt, 474-386. 

Click for full girls results and boys results.

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