Monday, March 5th, 2012
By Gary R. Rasberry
Coldwater sweeps both bowling championships
The Coldwater girls made it a Cavaliers' sweep of state bowling team titles on Saturday at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
It's the first state title for the Lady Cavs, and with the Cavaliers' boys winning their second state title on Friday, Coldwater becomes the first school to sweep the state bowling titles since the OHSAA started sanctioning state tournaments for the sport in 2007.
"The girls have never made it to the semifinals before," said Cavaliers' coach Rick Hartings via telephone after the teams came back to Coldwater and did a victory lap around town escorted by the fire trucks and police. "This year we thought we had a good chance. We had a pretty solid season, a pretty good team. We just wanted to get to the finals and see what happens. But it was not as easy a road as the boys had (Friday)."
While Coldwater's boys lost just one game in their championship round matches en route to the title, the Lady Cavs were close to being eliminated for the second straight year by their conference rival St. Marys in the first round of championship play.
The Cavaliers looked in good shape through the early qualifying and into the baker games. Coldwater earned the third seed with a round of 3,377 pins. St. Marys, meanwhile, was ninth after the first three games of qualifying but scored the second-highest round in baker games with a 583 to qualify sixth and match up with the Cavaliers.
At the start, it looked like deja vu would rear its head as the Roughriders won the first two games of the best-of-five series 165-154 and 192-171.
"I remembered how they beat us right away last year," said Cavaliers' senior Jenna Wenning. "I said 'I can't let this happen again.' We fought back."
Fought back the Cavaliers did by rolling three straight 200-plus games to win the final three games 222-164, 242-196 and 236-135 to advance.
Against Cardington-Lincoln in the semifinals, Coldwater started strong, rolling a 214 in the opener (214-189) and was up 2-0 after a 187-141 win. Lincoln came back and won the next two games 193-137 and 187-162 to set up a winner-take-all game. Coldwater rebounded and edged Lincoln by the closest of margins 190-189. Lincoln's bowler left the 6-pin on her final throw while Wenning needed to pick up a 2-pin on her final throw and got the job done.
As things were getting set up for the television taping of the final against Hubbard, the Cavaliers looked to get refocused on the task at hand.
"Just like I did with the boys: just don't get caught up in the moment," was Hartings' advice during the break.
"It gave us a chance to calm down and focus some more," said Cavaliers' senior Emily Bruns of the break.
The Cavaliers won the opening game 194-179 and game two 188-169. In game three, things got tight again. With Hubbard wrapped up, all the Cavaliers needed was a spare or strike during the 10th frame to go ahead. Wenning stepped up and rolled a strike. After Wenning rolled a seven on the next ball, senior Alison Griesdorn came on get the spare and get the 180-176 win.
"I don't know how to describe it," said Wenning. "There was a whole bunch of emotions running through me."
"It was an amazing feeling," said Bruns. "Just being up two (games) was great. Being down, it's hard to come back from that. Once you have the momentum, it's easier to keep going."
For Hartings, who was already ecstatic about the boys winning Friday, bringing home two titles is almost too much.
"Never happened before. I don't know if it will happen again," said Hartings. "That's what we talked about when we were done. It's an amazing feat. We were really concerned with our boys winning. This morning at breakfast, we talked about (if the girls) will feel more pressure to have to do what the boys did."
For Wenning, watching the boys win Friday added motivation for when Saturday came around.
"We wanted to stay up and celebrate," said Wenning. "It gave us motivation to bring home the gold, too. We knew we had to get back to the hotel, get some sleep and get ready to bowl the next day."
More honors for the Cavaliers came in the individual competition as part of qualifying. Wenning rolled a 645 series for fourth place and first-team All-Ohio honors. Bruns added a 601 for ninth and allowed her to earn second-team All-Ohio honors a second straight year.
St. Marys' Erica Keysor earned honorable mention All-Ohio after placing 12th with a 591 series.
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