Unified bowlers capture girls JV state championship

Unified bowlers capture girls JV state championship


Unified bowlers capture girls JV state championship


The Farmington-Harrison girls were the big winners in the recent Division 1 junior varsity bowling state tournament.

Junior Katie Worden of Farmington High School won the individual title Feb. 21 at Sunnybrook Lanes in Sterling Heights, and the seven-member unified squad captured the team championship the following day.

“The girls did an outstanding job,” varsity coach Dennis Hermani said. “We placed third last year, and a couple girls moved to varsity. A couple stayed down because the varsity is so deep.

“Whaddya know? They won the whole thing this year. They were bound and determined to get the prize they set their minds and sights on.”

The unified girls were first in the qualifying round with a 1,812 score in 10 baker games.

“The varsity girls averaged 171 in baker games, so that says how good our JV girls bowled that day,” Hermani said.

In the head-to-head playoffs, each team bowled two baker games, and total pins determined the winner.

Farmington-Harrison defeated Howell in the quarterfinals, 339-311, and it edged Sterling Heights Stevenson by one pin in a semifinal match, 278-277.

In the final, the unified girls beat Oakland Activities Association rival Oxford, 357-350, avenging a loss to the Wildcats in December. Unified won both games, 175-171 and 182-179.

“It’s pretty darn special,” Hermani said. “Some of the girls are a little bit older. They’ve been kind of stuck on JV because of the depth of the varsity team.

“The thing about them is we’ve never had any complaints about having to bowl in JV matches. They’re good kids; they just love to bowl.”

The OAA varsity tournaments were the same day, so Hermani was unable to witness the major achievement by the JV girls. He arrived shortly after the tournament ended.

The junior varsity is coached by former Unified bowler Tabetha Chapman, who is leaving the program after nine years to attend graduate school.

“I walked in just after the end of the championship match, probably five minutes later,” Hermani said. “They were still crying and hugging. They were so excited.

“There’s no better way for Tabetha to go out than by winning a state championship.”

In addition to Worden, who made a major shot at the end to beat Stevenson, the team includes seniors Ashley Grabinski, juniors Courtney Pyle and Riley Gradin, sophomore Maddy Vance and freshmen Jordan Ruhl and Megan Helisek.

In the individual state final, Worden defeated one of her teammates, Pyle, to win the championship, 201-128.

Pyle was the No. 2 qualifier with a three-game total of 561. Worden was fourth at 540. Pyle bowled well all day, according to Hermani, and averaged 188 through her first seven games with a high of 223.

“From what I heard, they gave each other a big hug and wished each other luck,” Hermani said. “Katie had one of her better games. Courtney got some bad breaks and ran out of gas.

“Katie strung together quite a few strikes. It looked like she ran away with it, but it was a closer match than the score would indicate.

“On most teams, if not all in the OAA, those two girls would be varsity bowlers, but our girls team is ranked in the top 10 in the state and has been for the last two years.

“They’ve been relegated to leadership roles on the JV and have done an awesome job, and I’m very proud of both of them.”

Farmington-Harrison had the second-most qualifiers in the 32-team field with four and just missed having a fifth. Macomb Dakota led the way with six. Vance was 12th (495) and Gradin 29th (427).

In her other playoff matches, Worden defeated Gradin, 157-138; Emily Manetz of Howell, 210-202; Vance, 171-142; and Marissa Smith of Oxford, 185-172.

“At the beginning of the day, the quote Katie gave Tabetha was, ‘Nobody is taking my state championship,’” Hermani said. “Before the afternoon started, she called her shot like Roy Hobbs in The Natural – and she was right.”

The girls JV team has been undefeated in dual matches the last two years, compiling a record of 26-0.


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