Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
By Gary R. Rasberry
Cavalier boys bring home the gold for second time
Coldwater Cavaliers: Boys Bowling State Champions
The hopes for a big weekend for the Coldwater bowling program got a big jolt of excitement on Friday night.
The Cavalier boys bowling team had a strong qualifying round and nearly ran the table in the championship round to capture the state championship at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
For Coldwater, it's the second state championship, the first coming in the first-ever OHSAA-sanctioned state tournament in 2007.
Coldwater's coach Rick Hartings said that the thought going into the postseason was the Cavaliers would struggle after losing four matches in league play in the regular season, then finishing third at sectional before placing second at the district to qualify for state.
"It was a tough season. Four losses and nobody really counted on them doing anything today," said Hartings via telephone. "Everybody simply came up a whole other level."
Things started out well for Coldwater, ranking fifth after the three team games in qualifying and going into baker games. From there, Coldwater rolled a round-best 658 to finish third and draw Jonathan Alder in the opening best-of-five match of the championship round.
The Cavaliers wasted no time in the eight-team championships, beating Jonathan Alder 3-0 before taking down Austintown Fitch 3-0 to make the finals against Kenton Ridge, who defeated Beavercreek and Mentor in its first two matches to reach the television finals.
"It took an hour before the TV show (setting up to tape the championship match). We talked a long time about not getting caught in the moment," said Hartings.
The first game was neck-and-neck, but Kenton Ridge took advantage of a rough Coldwater frame to win the first game of the best-of-five title match 154-152.
That just seemed to wake up the Cavaliers, who took game two 180-154. The third game proved to the clinching game, as the Cavaliers rolled one of the best games of the day, beating Kenton Ridge 245-147 to go up 2-1.
"We kept sweeping (in the other championship matches). When (Kenton Ridge won), it was like a gut-check," said senior Alex Seitz. "We came together and said we have to win the next three (games). No way we wanted to go past game four. We locked down as a team."
Midway through game four, the Cavaliers knew the gold trophy was coming home, but the team kept calm until the final roll as Coldwater won the clincher 183-115.
"First thing that came to mind was 'Unbelievable!'," said senior Charles Fella. "Never thought this would happen. When it came down to it, I don't have anything else to say but unbelievable."
"It's really surreal right now," said Seitz. "Can't believe it happened. Trying to get out of sectionals, first of all, then sneaking in districts and doing something like that (rallying to finish second at district), it's incredible in itself. Anything to help out the program here - one heckuva program."
Cavalier Mitch Kanney picked a personal honor on the day, rolling a 655 series in qualifying to earn second-team All-Ohio honors. Danny Simmons of Warren Champion took the individual title with a 702 series. Wapakoneta's Austin Krites rolled a 688 for third with teammate Anthony Kennard rolling a 656 for seventh.
St. Henry's Garrett Stout finished 61st on the day with a 517.
Fans can watch the Coldwater boys' state title match on Sportstime Ohio on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"(The boys) have never been on TV before," said Hartings. "The goal was to get to match play. Anything can happen in match play and it did. We held our composure."
The Coldwater bowlers will have an early start today as the girls' tournament gets underway at 11 a.m. with qualifying. The Cavaliers won the conference, sectional and district title, but defending state champion St. Marys was right behind them all season.
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