Trophy Pose Turns Into Trophy Win

March 6, 2013

By Jeff Steers
Brooklyn Exponent editor
(Submitted to Second Half)

Vandercook Lake High School girls bowling coach Todd Reichard likes each of his athletes to complete her toss with a hand up in the air like a bowling trophy.

Those who don’t complete their throws with a trophy pose are assigned to a two-minute penalty in the position.

Junior Malloree Ambs is the worst offender of this rule.

But last weekend she walked out of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 Bowling Finals at Sunnybrook Lanes in Sterling Heights with a trophy, two medals and an individual championship.

Reichard still held up two fingers during the Finals each time Ambs failed to assume the bowling trophy position.

Ambs finished first in the individual tournament with a win over Paige Huebel of Oscoda High School. She finished with a total of 375 pins over two games to defeat Huebel by 14 pins.

Ambs is the first Vandercook Lake bowler to win a title since Nicole Crabtree won in 2009.

She rebounded from a rocky qualifying round where she made the top 16 field by only 14 pins.

“I had a rough time of it during the qualifying round,” Ambs said. “I knew I had to come back and battle.”

Ambs, Jessica Bunch and Becky Cecil all advanced to the round of 16. Cecil – who qualified 16th – knocked off the number one seed in round one and Bunch earned an easy win in her first round.

Huebel defeated Cecil in round two (423-377 for two games], Bunch tied with Kaitlin Gunsell of Unionville-Sebewaing but lost in a roll-off, and Ambs defeated Melissa Sleda of Sandusky (409-343).

One more pin by Bunch in regulation would have meant that she would have faced Ambs in the semifinal.

“I was somewhat relieved because I hate bowling against my teammates,” Ambs said.

Ambs defeated Gunsell 399 to 331 in the semifinals to advance to the finals.

She trailed by 11 pins after game one of the finals as a split in the sixth frame slowed her pace. Huebel experienced a split in game two in the fifth frame to open the door for Ambs.

Ambs appeared to have the match wrapped up after that, but an open in the 10th frame opened the door for Huebel. When the Oscoda bowler did not strike in the 10th frame, the victory went to Ambs.

She is the third VCL bowler to win an individual title, joining Crabtree in 2009 and Dee Dee Briggs in 2005.

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PHOTO: Vandercook Lake junior Malloree Ambs won the Division 4 individual title Saturday at Sunnybrook Lanes. (Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Exponent.)

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