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BOWLING: A legacy of success (PHOTOS)

Borlers chasing same dreams that other Flat Rock teams have achieved

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As the 2013-2014 high school bowling season hits its stretch run, members of the Flat Rock girls and boys teams hope one streak continues and another one begins.

The varsity girls’ team has won five straight regional championships and has qualified for the state finals six years in a row, winning the Division 3 state title in 2012. This season, the girls are 9-0 in the Huron League with five matches to go before the state tournament begins. Naturally, they would like the post-season success to continue.

The boys’ team has made six trips to the state finals, including three in a row as regional champions, but that streak came to an end last year as the Rams failed to advance past the regional tournament. The boys are 6-3 in the league this season, but know that hard work can get them where they want to be by the time the regular season ends.

“I hope it continues,” said girls Coach Kristi Hill. “Regionals are tough. They include a lot of schools you don’t see during the year. They come from all over. You don’t know who’s walking in and you don’t know the talent. It’s a crap shoot.”

The Lady Rams have a mix of experience and talented youth, led by fourth-year senior captain Holly McQuithey, who has plenty of state tournament experience. This season, she’s averaging 167, but more important, according to Hill, is McQuithey has developed into an assistant coach, of sorts.

“Holly has really stepped up into a leadership and coaching role,” Hill said.

McQuithey is one of four seniors on the team. Lindsay Quednau, also in her fourth year of varsity bowling, is averaging 159. Dakota Gurskey, who will attend Purdue University, carries a 148 average. And Aleah Scabilia, who made big changes in her game this year, averages 140.

The top average on the team belongs to sophomore Kayla Jackson, who carries a 177. She also has the Huron League’s high game (258) and second highest series (412) and has contributed to the Rams’ league-high team game (947) and high series (1851)

Jordan Bonner, another sophomore, averages 161, giving the Rams a strong one-two punch going forward.

Junior Cierra Cox, sophomore Karlie Lokuta and freshman Ashlee Smouthers round out the team. Lokuta transferred to Flat Rock from Lutheran High South and just became eligible to bowl on Monday. Coach Hill bowled with Smouthers’ mother and said Ashlee is one of several bowlers on the team that came through the well-respected Flat Rock Lanes’ youth bowling program.

The Rams of the past had a number of lopsided wins in the Huron League, but this year they have had many close matches this year, including Monday’s win against Milan. Hill said “it came down to the girls having to buckle down and make good shots and they ended up winning.”

“The team is doing well,” said girls Coach Kristi Hill. “They’ve come a long way in the last month or so. It takes awhile when you throw nine high school girls together that are in different classes and have different groups of friends. They are really starting to click. I think they figured each other out.”

The boys’ biggest hurdle going forward will be how they fare on the challenging middle-of-the-road oil pattern that has been implemented on lanes in many bowling centers in preparation for the state tournament. The Rams enter this week on a two-game losing streak after a disappointing performance in last weekend’s Bowl for Burns Tournament at Parkway Lanes in Trenton.

“Middle of the road is an exacting pattern,” said Coach Eric Painter, who also is athletic director at Flat Rock High School. “You need to have good ball control, speed and accuracy. You can’t do the spray-and-pray shot. On middle of the road, you can leave tough spares. My hope is that they start paying more attention to filling frames and getting spares.”

Painter’s five primary bowlers have been with the team for awhile and have varying degrees of experience.

“That, to me, helps make them competitive,” he said. “They know what to expect.”

Senior Brett Zurawski is in his fourth year of varsity bowling and is averaging 189. He and junior Aaron Wojtylko (190) qualified in last year’s regional tournament to bowl in the state finals as individuals – in fact, Zurawski has bowled in states each of the last two years – so their experience will come into play in post-season play.

Wojtylko, a two-handed bowler, is usually the team’s anchor.

Senior Trevor Davis is in his third season of varsity bowling and is averaging 178. Junior Tyler Jackson is also in his third year with the team, is the team’s lead-off bowler and averages 185. Sophomore Luke Wooten, in his second season of varsity bowling, is averaging 180.

Painter also carries four freshmen on the team, including Wendell Rowland, who is averaging 183 and is usually the “sixth man” on the team. The other ninth-graders are Brandon Bonner, Cameron Quednau and Steven Flotte.

Painter said the next few weeks of work will mean a lot heading into the state tournament. The Rams will host the Division 3 regionals at Flat Rock Lanes. The state finals are at Airport Lanes in Jackson

“I know that kids will have a riot when they go to the states,” he said. “It is without a doubt the most fun tournament to bowl at. The energy level is incredible. If you don’t know what you’re getting into, you’ll be like a deer looking into the headlights.

“A couple of our guys have been there and know what it’s like. They are already talking to the kids saying ‘you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that.’ This is very much a performance-based sport. If you don’t make a shot, if you don’t carry the pins and you don’t bowl the games, you don’t advance.

“My hope is that we get to the dance – that we finish in the top three at regionals. Once you finish in the top three, you go to Jackson and anything can happen. Our girls team from a couple yes ago is a perfect example of what can happen. They came out of the blue, they bowled well when they needed to and they became state champions.”

Last Updated: 1/31/2014 3:29:44 PM EST