Last season was a good one for the Vermilion High bowling program. But it was nothing compared to what the Sailors achieved this season in qualifying both the girls and boys teams to the state tournament.
The girls won the North Shore Bowling Conference Division 2 title and the Division II Lorain County sectional. Last weekend, they finished only 19 pins out of first in taking second at the Akron district.
The Sailor boys finished third in the NSBC Division 2, but roared back to win the NSBC Division 2 Tournament and the Division II Lorain County sectional. They were the fourth and final team qualifier at the Akron district, squeezing in by just 10 pins over Cortland Maplewood.
The Vermilion bowlers know the state field is very tough, to say the least, but remain revved about their chances.
“We haven’t discussed it at length with our coaches, but we feel that we would both like to finish in the top eight,” said freshman Kennedy Shreve. “We’ve been more serious at practice. We’re taking our spare shooting much more seriously. We’re taking our time when we’re up at the approach line and not just going up there and throwing the ball right away. We had been missing some very dumb spares. We definitely still need to do much better in that area.”
It has been a phenomenal turnaround for the Vermilion girls, who finished 22nd (last) at the Warren Division I district.
“We’re getting a better hang of it about when to switch out balls,” said Shreve. “That part is very important as well as keeping our focus. My sister, Madison, has been very supportive. We both try to be very supportive of each other as well as everyone on the team so we can all step up our game.”
Teams must finish in the top eight of the qualifying round in order to advance to the eight-team championship round. Teams (16 total) bowl three regular games in the qualifying round. The format for the championship round is a best 3-out-of-5 Baker.
“We just have to keep our attitudes up. We have to stay positive,” said Vermilion senior Jonathan Holtcamp. “If we bowl a bad game or bad frame we just have to put it behind us. Last Saturday we didn’t bowl too many good Bakers and it almost cost us a shot at going to state.”
But the Sailor boys hung to become the first from Vermilion High to go to state as a team since 2008-09, when they finished 14th in Division I. They also finished 17th in 2006-07.
“We were able to string together strikes (last Saturday),” said Holtcamp. “It helped to keep our spirits and our camaraderie level up. My focus is the same as many of my teammates. I just want to make a lot of my spares. I struggled with that last Saturday. If I can make my spares, I feel that I can have some pretty good games.”
Vermilion’s boys ended a four-year drought last season to qualify to districts, advancing in the sixth and final spot via a rolloff. It was a bumpy ride during the regular season this year for the boys team, but the Sailors got back in synch in time for sectionals.
“We tried moving the ball around more, make more spares and we tried different lineups,” said sophomore Tony Hugo. “It was frustrating at times, but we just kept our focus forward. We had high expectations this season. We just tried to build on being a better team and make more spares. Last Saturday boiled down to just making good shots, hitting spares and not getting down on ourselves.”
The Vermilion boys were ninth out of 28 teams at last year’s Warren district, 175 pins out of qualifying. It was the best finish of any local team.
Local girls teams had never qualified to state bowling from the district in seven previous tries dating back to 2006-07. North Ridgeville came the closest in 2009-10, missing by 18 pins.
“I’m definitely excited,” said junior Hannah Modic. “I’m excited that we made it to state. We’ve been trying to make it for three years. We’re a very close team this year so I feel that we can get far.”
Madison Shreve (509) and Modic (507) led the Vermilion girls at districts, finishing sixth and seventh for overall high series in Akron.
“Last year was a trial run,” said Modic. “It was something we hadn’t really experienced before, going in there were so many nerves. We definitely saw it as practice to get ready for this . We have a much more positive attitude this year. We’re able to communicate better and not get so frustrated. Just a positive attitude helps at tournaments because it’s so long and tiring.”
Contact Paul Heyse at 440-329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: Inaugural Division II state high school bowling tournament
WHERE: Wayne Webb Bowl, 3224 South High Street, Columbus
WHEN: Today — boys, 10:30 a.m. Saturday — girls, 10:30 a.m.
THE SKINNY: Vermilion is the first boys team to advance to state since 2009-10 when the North Ridgeville boys qualified. At least one local individual and/or team has qualified to state each year since bowling became sanctioned by the OHSAA in the 2006-07 season. Last year, Vermilion’s Dylon Wilson qualified for state and finished 68th out of 100 with a score of 485. Local individuals have qualified to state before on the girls side, but Vermilion is the first local girls team to ever qualify.
Boys — Vermilion: Aaron Baker, sr.; Jon Holtcamp, sr.; Tony Hugo, so.; Bryan Martin, so.; Jose Modic, fr.; Brent Scarvelli, jr.; Dylon Wilson, jr.
Girls —Vermilion: Lauren Harcula, jr.; Hannah Modic, jr.; Sarah Rutherford, fr.; Erin Scarvelli, fr.; Kennedy Shreve, fr.; Madison Shreve, jr.; Brittany Wind, jr.