The Wayland boys’ varsity bowling team scored its first tournament championship in the third year of coaching for Sherry Miklusicak.
The Wildcats took first place Saturday in the Lowell Invitational, as did the Lady Wildcats, prompting an excited Miklusicak to exclaim the day was “a green sweep.”
The coach admitted that at the start of the season she remarked that she didn’t think her squad would win any tournaments this year, but she’d like to just place in some.
“Well, eat my words and I am happy to!” she said. “The boys work hard and sometimes fall a little short. Take last Wednesday, for example. We got beat because we didn’t bowl very well to start the night. At the end of the match, after taking the final 11 straight points, I suggested they take it out on the next team they bowl. They did just that.
“Pride doesn’t describe today’s experience. It was my first big win as a coach!”
Wayland boys finished their first match in sixth place and were able to hang on until the end of the qualifying round.
Alex Marble led off and delivered a 182 game.
“I have to keep telling myself that this kid is just beginning as a sophomore this year and has so many more skills to develop,” Miklusicak commented.
Joe Laidler started the second game and went nine frames and Christian Courser came after the ninth frame “so I could see what he had before I put him in the second game. Well, Christian Courser came in and put three balls in the pocket — striking out for a 143 game,” the coach said.
Bryan Franck was looking good with his 196 and the ‘Cats welcomed back their anchor, Dillon Smith, down with an illness all week with a 189. Team total was 889.
In the second game, the Wildcats started a little slower, but nearly matched the previous total with an 874, not strong enough to move up in the ranks, but enough to hold on to sixth place.
Six Baker games followed, with scores of 173, 212, 139,148, 149, and 212.
“We made only one little lineup change in the middle of these matches and it was a good decision today. Bryan Frank did a tremendous job as anchor bowler to finish the day.”
Wayland made the cut in sixth place.
The Wildcats then were matched against tourney host Lowell, state champions a couple of years ago. Wayland won the first Baker game 209-182, therefore up by 27 pins. The Wildcats then took the second Baker 182-136.
Then in Baker game one against Fowler, Wayland Wayland won 203-155. The ‘Cats lost Baker game two 183-172, but had enough of a cushion to claim victory.
So they moved into the championship round,.
“You would have to go back to the era of Paul Goodwin, Brady Forcier, Rickey Marcus Jr., Steve Marcus, Dakota Wraight, and I didn’t coach, then so I don’t know who I missed,” Miklusicak said. “I had most of these boys in class, so we would talk bowling even back then!”
Finals opponent Wellsprings Prep had just beaten a well-coached Class A Jenison team. Meanwhile, the Lady Wildcats girls were facing neighbor Hopkins. Championship Baker Match Game No. 1 went to Wayland 164-111.
“Again we found ourselves in the lead after the first Baker game,” the coach explained. “This game we only found ourselves up by 23 pins. If we faltered, that would be easy for a good team to overcome. That last match was an exciting one, but we came ahead 213-192.”
Miklusicak stressed it was a team effort because not one of the boys’ team placed in the top ten individually.
Teams participating in this tournament were Jenison, Lowell, Wellsprings Prep, Kelloggsville, Hopkins, Fowler, Forest Hills Eastern, Pewamo-Westphalia, West Catholic and Wayland.
(Girls’ photo courtesy of Tony Banas)