Springfield girls bowling team earns trip to state tournament
SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield High School girls bowling team has earned its first trip to the State Bowling Tournament, and head coach Matthew Graves said making it to Columbus is a great achievement for his bowlers.
“Saturday at the district tournament was a great moment for the school and this program. Qualifying for the state tournament was a special moment,” the coach said. “The girls and their parents were happy. There were a lot of smiles, and some tears, too. It was great to see their reaction when they realized their hard work paid off.”
The state tournament starts today, March 1, at 11 a.m. at the Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. Regardless of the results, Graves said this already has proven to be a special season for Springfield. The team finished the regular season with an 18-2 overall record and recorded a perfect 10-0 mark in the Portage Trail Conference. Springfield ended the season by winning 16 straight.
“We have accomplished our goals for the most part,” he said. “We wanted to repeat as PTC [Portage Trail Conference] Metro Champs and we did. However, we did not win the PTC tournament; therefore, we shared the title with Coventry. We also wanted to make it to the state tournament. We have accomplished that.”
So far in the postseason, Springfield came in second in the sectionals, just behind Green, to qualify for districts, and the team finished fifth in the district to advance to the state tournament.
“Our original goal was just to make it. It has now changed,” Graves said. “We now know we have just as good as a chance as anyone. We just have to avoid our slow start.”
According to Graves, Springfield hit its stride in January.
“We were bowling quite well. Then we went into a bit of slump,” he stated. “At the districts in Warren on [Feb. 23], we got off to a slow start and were in 18th place after one game. After game two, we jumped to eighth place, and then we bowled 979 and jumped to fifth place [the top five teams advanced]. We then had to bowl well in our six baker games to hold that spot. We finished just two pins out of fourth. The week before, in the sectionals, we had a bad first game as well, but bowled well in games two and three also.”
Graves listed experience as the key strength of this year’s team.
“We returned all five starters from last year. The girls have great attitudes — they work hard to get better,” he said. “Jordan Bever and Chelsea Crihfield have been consistently good all year. Amanda Smith, despite injury, has had a good season. Savannah Nestor has had a really good second half of the season. Lisa Stout has worked hard and improved.”
Springfield will lose Bever and Stout to graduation after the season, but Graves said he hopes the success his team has enjoyed this season will have a positive impact on the program going forward.
“I really hope it gets more girls interested in bowling throughout the district,” he said. “We will return three starters — they are only sophomores. We hopefully will have some girls work hard in the offseason to help Chelsea, Amanda and Savannah. Kylie Jackson should be able to help next season, but we still need more people to step up.”
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