COLUMBUS – Urbana won its first-ever team championship in the Division II boys state bowling tournament on Friday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
The Hillclimbers clinched the victory with a 3-1 win over Coldwater in the finals. After the teams tied the first game 196-196, Urbana took the lead with a “roll-off” tiebreaker. One bowler from each team rolled a ninth and 10th frame in the tiebreaker. Urbana won 39-28 to take a 1-0 lead.
Coldwater battled back with a 257-236 win in the second game, but the Hillclimbers took game three 184-174 and game four 222-203. In game four, Urbana clinched the title before Coldwater had finished.
“I had to kinda get them under control, because the other team still had another bowler to go. It was pretty wild,” UHS Coach Phil Baker said.
The finals were unusually close, but Baker was, for the most part, composed. He knew his guys were talented enough to handle the challenge.
“They’re all highly capable. They wanted it probably more than I did,” Baker said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking. All I can do is watch.”
The Hillclimbers qualified for the team championship round with a third-seeded 3,769 performance in the individual tournament. Urbana beat Akron Coventry 3-0 (215-228-241 to 213-204-205) to advance to the semifinals and then defeated Peninsula Woodridge 3-1 (192-187-247-234 to 171-188-207-203) to get to the finals.
“It puts a little icing on the cake to take a team there and be able to do it. It’s my 17th year. It’s very rewarding to finally get to that point,” Baker said.
During qualifying, senior Kyle Schrader was the high man with a 222-249-218/689 series to finish 8th. Junior Luc Russell was 17th with a 667, senior Blaine Arms was 19th with a 663 and sophomore Kyle Beavers had a 654 to finish 22nd.
Taylor Armstrong contributed a 195 game and Skyler Reisinger added a 190.
Mechanicsburg’s Preston Estep finished 64th with a 180-181-206/567 series.
All of those Urbana seniors finally got the job done, after qualifying for the tournament the past two seasons but failing to reach the championship bracket each time.
“They’re all very talented. They’ve been with the program for four years and it’s great to have the dedication to the sport and to the team,” Baker said. “They worked hard and got rewarded. That was really great. It’s a nice way to end your career in high school.”
The West Liberty-Salem High School bowling teams’ end of season awards ceremony will be held on March 10 at 6 p.m. in the lounge at Southwest Bowl in Urbana. Families are asked to bring a dish to share for the potluck. Drinks and table service will be provided
Athletes must be present to receive their season awards.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.