LANCASTER – If you paid close attention to the most vocal members of the Centerville fan section during the state boys bowling finals Friday in Lancaster, you would have found members of that school's girls team, in town to compete in their tournament the following day.
It was clear the girls in black and gold took careful notes.
One day after its boys finished second in Ohio, Centerville walked away with the 2008 Ohio High School Athletic Association girls bowling championship at Tiki
Centerville won an all-Greater Western Ohio Conference final, defeating Fairborn 3-1 in baker play.
Unlike the boys, the bright lights and slower play dictated by the Sports Time Ohio cameras did not affect Centerville in the finals. The Elks handled the moment far better than their opponents, winning by scores of 210-164, 176-220, 205-159 and 203-145.
“It’s just such a great feeling,” said Centerville junior Kate Slanker. “We were all pretty confident coming in that we could win it.”
After a preliminary round 2,762 placed it third heading into the team championship, Centerville defeated McDonald (3-0) and Kettering Fairmont (3-1). Fairborn, state runner-up for a second consecutive year, knocked off Struthers and Troy to reach the final.
“We have a very young team and most of them were petrified,” said Fairborn coach Jack Gregory. “I think that explains a lot.”
The OHSAA team bowling competition is decided using the baker format.
After the morning round seeds the teams, the top-8 scores are pitted against one another in a single elimination bracket. Each team selects five members per game, with each bowler responsible for two frames. The best score earns a point, with the first team to three points moving on to the next round.
Rather unusually for team bowling, Saturday's competition played out pretty much according to form. The top four teams from the individual round won their first round matches in the team competition, with first and third seeds meeting in the final.
The final four teams were all members of the 17-team GWOC, and the five highest team score in the three-game morning session were from the Southwest District.
Slanker, who finished 13th in the state in the individual competition, bowled No.1 for Centerville in the team tournament. All eight of her frames against Fairborn were closed and she led-off three of the four games with strikes.
“I just tried to set an example,” Slanker said of her role as the first bowler. “I stayed consistent all day.”
Jennifer Grady, a senior from Fairmont, was the girls medalist after bowling a 730-series earlier in the day. The score placed her 65 pins ahead of the second place finisher.
“It's really a nice thing,” Grady said of being able to call herself state champion.
Napoleon's Kelsey Zumfelde took second, followed by Beavercreek junior Kathryn Cox (647), Alicia Simpson of Troy (643) and Kindra Snyder of Fairborn. Six of the top-ten and 12 of the top-25 individual finishers were from the Southwestern District.
Grady's three games were highlighted by an opening score of 276. The highest game of the day rolled in the individual competition; Grady followed a spare with nine consecutive strikes, and then ended with another spare. It was the second-highest competitive game of the season for Grady.
“I think it was adrenaline,” said Grady, who improved from the fifth-highest series on the team at districts to a state title in one week.
The championship was the culmination of dramatic improvement over her high school career. Grady had a 120 average as a freshman.
On Saturday Grady followed her opening game with scores of 237 and 217.
Fairmont coach Andy Parker said Grady was well aware she was on the cusp of the title towards the end of her third game.
“In the tenth frame I thought the ball wasn't going to come off her hand,” he said of her nerves. “She just did what she was supposed to, she bowled three clean games and never got herself into trouble.”