By: Daniel Stickradt
BOWLING: Oxford boys roll to first Oakland County title
BY DAN STICKRADT
MADISON HEIGHTS — Finally, Oxford put it all together on the same day.
The Wildcats finished on top of the heap Jan. 14 at Astro Lanes in Madison Heights, winning their first Oakland County Boys Bowling title.
“I knew the talent was there, but we haven’t always played well all on the same day at the county,” said Oxford coach JR Lafnear. “We’re still a little young with only one senior in our top five, but we’ve bowled well this year. We just haven’t bowled like this at the county before. We caught a few breaks this time. We had a roll off with Farmington/Harrison in the quarterfinals and advanced. We were consistent all day.”
Oxford finished as the No. 2 seed in the qualifying block behind Waterford Kettering. In the bracket play, the Wildcats downed No. 15 Hazel Park, No. 7 Farmington/Harrison Unified, and sixth seed North Farmington in the semifinals.
Unlike 2012 when Oxford lost in the county finals, this time the Wildcats emerged as the champion.
“If there is one tournament other than the state that I feel is the biggest, the one I've wanted to win it’s the county,” said Lafnear. “It’s a long tournament with over (30 schools) and there’s so much talent. It means a lot for our program to finally win the county. It was a team victory, for sure. Everyone bowled great.”
Juniors Luke Meyer and Dean Peterson, senior Will Fallon and juniors Tanner Cartner and Christian Cartner anchored the Oxford lineup.
In the county three-game singles play, Ortonville-Brandon’s Jeremiah Turner was crowned the winner with a 729. Oxford had two top-10 finishers, with Tanner Cartner (694) earning fifth and Christian Cartner (672) claiming seventh overall.
The Wildcats are currently 5-0 in duals in the OAA Red Division, as they are currently in the league title chase. They also hope to qualify for the D-1 state meet with a top three finish at the regional in late February.
“We are very much in the hunt and if we continue to bowl like this in our league we’ll have a great shot,” said Lafnear. “We also hope to qualify for the state meet. But we have a lot more bowling before we get to regionals. We’ll enjoy the county win, then concentrate on the league.”
WILDCATS GIRLS FINISH SECOND
Oxford girls advanced to the finals at the Oakland County Girls Bowling Championships Jan. 15 at Cherry Hill North in Clarkston before succumbing to Waterford Mott in the finals.
It marked the second time this decade that Oxford finished in the runner-up slot.
“I knew the girls would be in the hunt. We are a veteran team with most of our team back from last year,” said Lafnear. “We had a great day, too. Mott was just a little better in the finals. There is a handful of really good girls teams in Oakland County.”
Oxford finished as the No. 2 seed after the qualifying block behind top-seeded Lake Orion. Mott was the fifth seed.
Oxford topped Birmingham Marian, Walled Lake Central and Farmington/Harrison Unified to reach the finals, while Mott defeated Farmington Hills Mercy Pontiac Notre Dame and then defending champ Lake Orion in the semifinals.
Mott defeated Oxford 408-346 in the finals.
Oxford had four inside the top 15 of singles play, while Lake Orion had five of the top 16 finishers in a field of over 150 bowlers.
Candyce Bradley of Farmington/Harrison Unified fired a 628 to win by some 16 strokes over Mercy’s Lilian Lebednick (612).
Megan Kessler was fifth (584), Claire Sandstorm sixth (582), Abby Pappas 11th (572) and Megan Armbruster 13th (561) for Oxford.
Cheyenne Washington was third at 607 to lead Lake Orion in singles play. Madison Ellington claimed fourth (598), Jessica Cannon finished 12th (569), Hannah Mix 15th (551) and Alex Boyer 16th (546) for the Dragons.