By: Butch Harmon
St. Louis bowling team reloaded and ready to make run at state title
After finishing second in the state in Division 4 with a senior-laden lineup last season, the outlook for the St. Louis boys bowling team this year was one of rebuilding. The Sharks had just one senior returning, and with a number of sophomores and freshmen making the team, expectations were not as high for this season.
With the state tournament beginning, the Sharks have not only surpassed expectations, but also have positioned themselves as a contender for the Division 4 title once again.
The Sharks were ranked fourth in the state in Division 4 in mid-February and shared the conference title with Ovid-Elsie. St. Louis also turned in a big effort at the Tri-Valley Conference league tournament with a fourth-place finish.
“We bowled really good at the conference meet,” St. Louis coach Al Post said. “Our team average is a 906, and we bowled games of 960, 980, and 992. That gave us a good start for the regionals coming up. Winning the conference was a big surprise after graduating all but one starter from last year’s team.”
St. Louis’ lone returnee from last year, Dillon Sayles, is leading the way this year with a 204 average. Sophomore Conner Pillmore is second with a 194 average, and Bobby Church is third with a 192.
“We usually have two or three returnees each season, but this year we had just one,” Post said. “The key for us has been hard work. The guys have matured very quickly and have rose to the challenge.”
The next challenge for the Sharks is keeping a streak of regional championships going. St. Louis has won the last four regional titles and has qualified for the state meet the past five years.
St. Louis’ path to the regional title will not be easy, with Pewamo-Westphalia in the regional at Marvel Lanes. The Pirates are ranked second in the state in Division 4. Ithaca and St. Charles will also be among the teams in the hunt to earn one of three bids to the state tournament.
Sandusky is the top-ranked team in the state in Division 4.
Another area team looking to make a run in Division 4 is New Lothrop. The Hornets are led by the trio of Travis Duff, Jacob Pasik, and Tyler Moore, who have all averaged over 180 in league play this season.
Last year’s state runner-up, Wayne-Westland John Glenn, is the team to beat, as the Rockets were ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 1.
With its all-senior lineup, Davison is primed to challenge John Glenn. The Cardinals are ranked second in the state in Division 1 and are led by senior Tylor Greene. Greene, who has rolled a 300 game this season, recorded a 219 average in conference action. Grant McNally, Kyle Weider, and Austin Like also posted averages of 200 or better during conference action.
Heritage is also primed to make a post-season run. The Hawks finished second in the Saginaw Valley League this year and carried a 200 Baker Game average at the end of conference play. The Hawks are paced by the tandem of Derrick Norman and Tyler Scott, who both finished with averages over 204.
Thanks to a group of talented bowlers, the Owosso boys bowling team is poised to make a run at the Division 2 state title this season. The Trojans were ranked second in the state in the Division 2 poll in mid-February, behind Gull Lake.
Balance has been key for Owosso this season, as the team has a deep cast of bowlers led by Danen Zimmerman. Zimmerman has been getting plenty of help from Derek Kean, Zack Kline, and Cody Vincent along with Curtis Ike and Justin Sparks.
The Bay City area also has a pair of teams that will be in the hunt for the state title. John Glenn is ranked fourth in the state. The Bobcats are paced by Nathan Moszyk, who had the top average in the Tri City Conference with a 214. Zach Fryling also had an average of over 200, while Alex Ouellette and Taylor Gerken both averaged over 190.
Bay City Western won the Saginaw Valley League this season. Western had a trio of bowlers eclipse the 200-pin average in Tim Kuch, Brendan Taberski, and Grant Ueberroth.
Swartz Creek is ranked seventh in the state and posted the high scratch game and high scratch series in the Flint Metro this season. The Dragons are paced by Matt and Erik Trigger, who both sported averages over 210 this season. Tony Ethridge and Justin Teuber both averaged over 195 this season as well.
Ranked number one in the state in Division 3, the Durand boys bowling team is primed to make at run at the Division 3 state title. The Railroaders have a solid team that averaged 934 during conference action and had a 190 Baker Game average in the league. Durand is led by Kyle Neyman and Morgan Neyman, who both posted 204 averages in the league.
Hemlock is ranked fifth in the state and is paced by Anthony Rios and Matt Engle, who both averaged over 200 in league action. Corey Ackerman and Chris Erskin also had big years in the conference with averages over 190.
Ovid-Elsie is ranked sixth in the state and will also be a factor at the regional and the state level. Ovid-Elsie averaged an 869 in conference action and is paced by Damien Lytle, Brandon Pokorny, and Charles Washburn.