There will be a new Division I boys' state bowling champion this year.
The Soddy-Daisy Trojans quickly saw to that Monday afternoon in their sectional against 2011 champ Smyrna at Holiday Bowl Hixson. The Trojans trampled the Bulldogs 22-5 with a 205.1 game average per player.
In the other sectional involving an area team Monday, host Columbia Central beat Sequatchie County 23.5 to 3.5. Like Soddy-Daisy, Columbia Central has qualified both its girls' and boys' teams for the state tournament this weekend at Smyrna.
Soddy-Daisy totaled 1,333 pins (222.2 per man) in an 8-0 sweep of game one, and the match at Hixson was all over but the shouting. The hollering continued throughout from the Trojans boosters, chiefly the Lady Trojans who had won 22-5 in the same center Saturday against Spring Hill.
"Smyrna came in a little apprehensive in that first game, and we came out firing," Soddy-Daisy coach David O'Malley Sr. said. "I think that was the big difference."
Smyrna had beat the Trojans in a sectional at Hixson three years ago, and the Soddy-Daisy veterans remembered that.
"For the district and region [titles], it came down to the last game, and we found out we were going to shoot like a team," said Cody Hunter, one of three Trojans seniors who will be in the individual state tournament Thursday along with junior Tanner Johnson. "Today we came out rolling and beat one of the best teams in the state.
"[O'Malley] told us we needed to shoot 3700 to make sure we beat Smyrna, and we shot 3692. And in that first game we were on pace to go over 3900."
Johnson, who's in his first year with the team after moving from Owensboro, Ky., had the Trojans' top regular-season average (212.4) and led them in that opening game with a 279. Senior state qualifiers Joseph Leffew, Hunter and Allyn Pickett shot 236, 218 and 202, and Dylan Arnold had a 182 in his first match start of the season.
Freshman Richard Jenkins had a 216 in game one and led the Trojans with a 713 series for the day, although he lost game two despite a 263 that began with seven strikes. Joey Phiney rolled a 276 in that game for Smyrna, whose Ronnie Claridy rolled a 257 in beating Johnson.
Jenkins had the Trojans' fifth best average for the season, and it was good enough for the individual state except that Division I teams can qualify no more than four. He admitted that helping Soddy-Daisy handily beat a state champ that rolled a 3,401 total "felt great."
Said Leffew: "The main thing about this team is that one person can be off and five others will carry him. To me that's the definition of a true team."
At Columbia, Austin Lockhart had a 277 game and a 658 series and Will Byington had a 615 series to lead Sequatchie.
Contact Ron Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6291.