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The Suburbanite
  • Spartan bowlers will make trip to Columbus for tourney

  • For the first time in the history of Springifeld High’s varsity bowling program, a team has advanced to the state tournament in Columbus, and the varsity girls bowling squad will travel to the state capitol to contend for a state championship.

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  •    The Springfield Spartans are headed to Columbus.
    For the first time in the history of the school’s varsity bowling program, a team has advanced to the state tournament in Columbus, and the varsity girls bowling squad will travel to the state capitol to contend for a state championship.
    The Spartans shook off a slow start and came roaring back for a fifth-place finish that was just enough to advance out of the Division I district tourney at Crest Lanes in Warren.
    The battle for the fifth and final spot came down to Green and Springfield, and the Spartans were able to hold off the Bulldogs’ late charge as they passed Garrettsville Garfield but came up 78 pins short. The scene was a jubilant one for the Spartans and first-year head coach Matt Graves, along with a large contingent of parents and friends who showed up for the tournament.
    “It was a special moment. A lot of big smiles and some tears. It was great. I am so happy for them and very proud of them for their effort, their determination, staying relaxed and they cheered each other on throughout the day,” Graves said. “They stayed relaxed and focused throughout until the end ... then it hit them when they realized they had accomplished their goal.”
    That special moment almost never happened.
    As they had in many of their regular-season matches and tournaments, the Spartans scuffled out of the box and found themselves in 18th place after one game.
    The veteran squad was able to rally in the second game, bowling an 898 to vault from 17th to eighth and put itself back in contention against a deep field. However, the third game was where Springfield made its biggest move, turning in its best score of the day (979) to rise three more spots to fifth, a position that gave them the last qualifying spot for Columbus — if they could hold off rivals Portage Trail Conference rivals Coventry and Garrettsville and geographic rival Green.
    Tensions were high in the six-game baker series, but Graves explained that even during the toughest moments of the day, the Spartans never felt they were out of the race and credited the veteran presence of senior Jordan Bever for helping pull the team through its slow start.
    “We know that we are never out of it. It has happened all year long and we know from last year that anything can happen. This was Jordan Bever’s third district tournament — once as an individual and with the team last year,” Graves said. “All of the girls participated in last year’s tournament except Amanda Smith, who got in a car accident three days before last year’s (district meet), but Amanda and Chelsea (Crihfield) have bowled in a lot of tournaments throughout their youth days. I think experience helped.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Crihfield led the team with a single-game high of 240, with Smith (190), Bever (187), Lisa Stout (185) and Savannah Nestor (177) all contributing to the team’s success.
    For the day, Springfield finished with a score of 3,611, just two pins out of fourth place and 78 pins ahead of Green in sixth. With a final-game baker score of 183, reality began to sink in and the celebration began for Graves, assistant coach Kerry Bever and the Springfield fans.
    “It was great to see the parents’ reaction, too,” Graves said. “It was similar to bowlers — smiles and tears. It was special moment just to take it all in.”