Finishing second was all the motivation the Wayne Warriors needed.
“I think, this year, they were truly hungry to be No. 1,” Wayne coach Michael White said. “And they put in a lot of hard work and extra dedication to do that.”
White got the Warriors into more regular-season tournaments and increased the level of competition they faced week in and week out. His bowlers did their part, putting in countless extra hours practicing – even on their own time. The hard work paid off as the 2015 runners-up earned the 2016 Div. I state championship Friday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. Wayne defeated Wapakoneta 3-1 in the best-of-five final to win the school’s first bowling state title.
“I’m not sure it has actually sunk in that we did it,” White said. “I am just very proud of the hard work they put in.”
The Warriors barely made the state cut a week earlier, sneaking in as the fifth and final state qualifying team by just a single pin over defending state champion Beavercreek.
“We just slid in,” White said. “But I told the guys that was exactly what Beavercreek did last year and they won it all.”
Wayne was fourth after six games of qualifying Friday and toppled fifth-seeded Boardman 3-0 in the first match of the championship round setting up a state semifinal match against familiar foe Centerville.
“We lost both matches to Centerville head-to-head during the season,” White said. “I told them, ‘we have to focus.’”
The focused Warriors blanked the Elks 3-0 to advance to the championship match against Wapakoneta. Wayne took the title by two pins – 225 to 223 – in the fourth game.
Senior Bryan Bir posted the high individual series for the Warriors with a 650, 23rd overall, but teamwork paid off for the hungry, hard-working Warriors.
“We tore it up at Baker time,” White said.
The Warriors set a new school record in Baker play with a 278 game, topping the previous mark by two pins.
The Elks finished fourth and Miamisburg, making their first state appearance, finished seventh as three of the top seven teams were from the GWOC.
“When it comes right down to it, we are in one of the toughest conferences in the state,” White said
(bullet)Solo success: Xenia’s Evan Adkins also knows what it’s like to settle for second place. The Buccaneers bowler was the individual state runner-up as a freshman.
Fast forward two years and Adkins’ 296-267-242 – 805 earned him the D-I individual state title Friday. The Xenia junior was the only state competitor to crack the 800 mark.
“I knew, after my first two games, that I needed a pretty good third game and, hopefully, no one else had a great third game,” he said.
While a state title is definitely worth celebrating, that celebration will be short-lived for Adkins who has already missed three weeks of baseball practice because of the bowling post-season. The right-hander plays third base and catcher for the Buccaneers.
• Familiar foe: They had already battled multiple times in regular-season matches and tournament play, but this was the one that mattered most as GWOC rivals Troy and Beavercreek faced off for the D-I girls state title Saturday.
It was the Trojans that came away with a 3-1 win. The fourth and deciding game was clinched by just two pins – 204-202.
A third GWOC team was close behind as Centerville finished fifth.
Troy senior Rachel Darrow led the Trojans with 672, third overall, and was the highest-placing local bowler in the individual standings. Teammate Jenna Stone, a sophomore, was close behind with 656. Madison Stiffler, of Whitehall-Yearling, won the individual title with 719.