Title IX at 50: Kearsley Rolls On Among Girls Bowling's Early Successes

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 1, 2022

The 19th MHSAA Bowling Finals will be rolled this weekend, with Team Finals on Friday and Singles Finals on Saturday for four divisions at four sites.

At just under two decades, it’s still a young sport by MHSAA sponsorship standards. But years from now as we recall the early days, we will certainly look to the Flint Kearsley girls.

Their dynasty is still growing – the Hornets are returning to the Division 2 Finals this weekend after winning last season’s championship. We’ll know by Friday night if last year was the start of another winning streak to go with the six straight championships Kearsley claimed from 2014-19.

Last year’s title put Kearsley’s overall count to eight, one more than Vandercook Lake for most Team Finals wins. The Hornets also finished Division 2 runners-up in 2010.

Kearsley also has produced three MHSAA singles champions, most recently Megan Timm in 2020.

The other two names on that singles list are part of a family woven through Kearsley’s rise. Lindsay Ploof was the Hornets’ first singles champion, claiming a 24-pin victory to clinch the 2011 Division 2 Finals title. Younger sister Hannah won in 2016 by 49 pins in her championship match.

Their coaches throughout were their parents Robert and Pam; Robert served as head coach for 15 seasons until retiring after 2019-20. According to the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association, his 162 wins (with only 13 losses) are third-most for a varsity girls bowling coach in MHSAA history, and his .926 winning percentage also is among the highest on that list. He was named to the MHSIBCA Hall of Fame in 2016.

Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.

Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights

Feb. 22: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success - Read
Feb. 15: Jaeger's 2004 Winter Run Created Lasting Connection - Read
Feb. 8: Marian's Cicerone to Finish Among All-Time Elite - Read
Feb. 1: WISL Award Honors Builders of State's Girls Sports Tradition - Read
Jan. 25: Decades Later, Edwards' Legend Continues to Grow - Read
Jan. 18: Iron Mountain Completes Championship Climb - Read
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: 
Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: 
Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: 
Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: 
Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: 
Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: 
Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: 
Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: 
Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: 
Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read

PHOTO The Ploofs, from left: Pam, Lindsay, Robert and Hannah, after Hannah won the 2016 Division 2 singles championship. (MHSAA file photo)