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The Suburbanite
  • Spartans come up short of quarterfinals at state tournament

  • Anyone who has spent more than one frame bowling knows it can be a game of misses and differences of mere inches.

    The Springfield Spartans varsity girls bowling team had that message reinforced in its first trip to the state championships at Wayne Webb Lanes at the Columbus Bowl facility.

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  • Anyone who has spent more than one frame bowling knows it can be a game of misses and differences of mere inches.
    The Springfield Spartans varsity girls bowling team had that message reinforced in its first trip to the state championships at Wayne Webb Lanes at the Columbus Bowl facility.
    In their quest to reach the head-to-head, quarterfinal round of the 16-team event, the Spartans fell 117 pins short, a smaller margin than it might seem when spread across five competing bowlers. The day started out well, with a team score of 795 in the first game placing Springfield in seventh place out of 16 teams.
    With the top eight advancing to the quarterfinal round, the Spartans knew they could not merely afford to look to stay put in seventh place and tread water. Advancing would mean fending off the nine teams behind them for two more rounds, a task that became more difficult with a second-game score of 756.
    “Our goal was to finish the qualifying round in top eight, which would have put us in the quarterfinals with head-to-head matches, and we only missed it by 117 pins,” Springfield coach Matt Graves said. “We had a fairly good beginning and after game one, we were in seventh place. Game two was a struggle, we just missed too many spares.”
    Their downturn in the second game left the Spartans outside qualifying position, in need of a rally in the third and final game. However, bouncing back with a strong performance wasn’t enough, as the rest of the field also picked up the pace, knowing their seasons also were on the line.
    A third-game total of 836 and three-game baker total of 470 left Springfield 117 pins behind eighth-place Versailles.
    Graves pointed to the fact that the team typically has bowlers reach the 200-pin mark for individual games, but none of the Spartans was able to hit that level in Columbus. Nerves may have played a factor in the lower scores, although Graves pointed to a difficult oil pattern on the lanes that made it difficult not only for Springfield, but for the other 15 teams as well.
    “We normally have girls in the 200s and no one hit that. Many teams had the same problem,” Graves explained. “It was difficult oil pattern, with no room for error.”
    Sophomore Chelsea Crihfield led the team with a three-game tally of 528, with a high score of 182 in the third game. Fellow sophomore Amanda Smith had her best game, 177, in the third game as well, while sophomore Savannah Nestor had the second-best cumulative total behind Crihfield, rolling a 472.
    The 14th-place finish left the team with a bittersweet taste in its mouth. Earning the program’s first trip to the state tournament and having a strong contingent of fans rooting for them made the experience memorable, but being satisfied with merely reaching Columbus wasn’t on the Spartans’ agenda.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It was exciting. We tried to stay loose and have a good time so that we would bowl our best. We had great fan support with parents, grandparents, students and staff,” Graves added. “But we were disappointed at the moment we did not get in the quarter finals. The girls worked hard all year and stepped up their game.”
    Crihfield finished 26th individually, the highest place for any of the Springfield bowlers.
    Even without reaching the head-to-head round, the state tournament was also a chance for seniors Jordan Bever and Lisa Stout and some of the squad’s other veterans to reflect on how far they had come in two seasons. In 2011, the Spartans won just three matches. Last season, they built to 17 wins and reached the district level, and this year took the next step up.
    “I am extremely proud of them. It was an honor to be their coach. I am also grateful to have a really good assistant coach, Kerry Bever,” Graves said. “There is only one division for bowling in the state of Ohio, with 350 teams, so to finish 14th is a good accomplishment. This year we had 18 wins and reached state, so next year we need to improve upon 14th.”
    Next season, the state will shift to two divisions, which should thin the field for both large and small schools. With Bever and Stout the only two starters leaving, the squad has a good foundation to build from, and Graves hopes reaching the state meet will attract other students to come out for the team as well.