Bruisers' Griffith in state bowling finals

Bruisers' Griffith in state bowling finals

January 25th, 2013 by Staff Report in Sports - Preps

The undefeated Girls Preparatory School bowling team will begin defense of its TSSAA Division II state championship by facing Chattanooga rival Baylor (8-6) in the quarterfinals this afternoon at 1 EST at the Smyrna Bowling Center.

McCallie (15-1) opens at 3:30 p.m. as the East/Middle Region third seed against West No. 2 Memphis University School (8-3). The semifinals and finals are Saturday.

The only area team in the Division I competition is the Walker Valley boys (15-4), opening against Seymour (14-1) at 3:30 EST Friday.

Southeastern Tennessee was virtually shut out of the individual finals this morning. Only GPS's Sara Griffith with a third-place 151 average for four games in the Division II semifinals advanced with a top-six finish, although teammate Sydney Leech, a Bowler of the Year finalist, was seventh at 144.

Monica Fillion of 2012 team runner-up St. Benedict and regular-season DII state leader Valerie Henry of Donelson Christian Academy led their classification Thursday with averages of 167.25 and 164.25.

Other semifinal averages from the GPS Bruisers (18-0) were Corey Swafford 12th at 133.75, Katy Richardson 14th at 132 and Madi Stanley 19th at 122. Baylor freshman Morgan Wiley was 23rd.

"We had hoped for more in the finals," GPS coach Jenise Gordon acknowledged, "but [assistant coach] David McGowan and I do not emphasize the individual tournament. They use a sport shot [oiling pattern] for that, and that requires a difficult adjustment, so we don't even ask Holiday Hixson or Holiday Brainerd to lay down a sport shot for practice.

"I am disappointed for Sydney, though. This is the third year in a row she's been seventh, and she said she just didn't want to be seventh again."

Kara Maynord won the individual title as a GPS senior last year, fighting from the sixth qualifying spot in a series of head-to-head matches, and Gordon noted that "Sara is really in a better position. She's right in the heat of this."

The big goal for the Bruisers, however, is to stay unbeaten and repeat their state championship. A St. Benedict rematch is possible for the semifinals, but the top threat to GPS is another Memphis-area team, St. Agnes. They would meet in the championshp match if neither gets upset.

GPS hasn't lost to Baylor in at least four years and beat the Lady Red Raiders handily this year.

"We still have to bowl that match," Gordon said.

Baylor's Sho Takiguchi was 13th at 144.25 and McCallie's Aaron Speicher and Case White were 16th and 24th in the Division II boys' individual semifinals. The Division I competition began with quarterfinals, but only Soddy-Daisy's Tanner Johnson and Central's Reggie Long made the 24-man semifinals, where Johnson finished 11th at 161.5 and Long was 21st at 147.25.

Soddy-Daisy's Kylee Saunders and Walker Valley's Chelsey McCormack led the area Division I girls in the quarterfinals with 171.75 and 170.25 averages good for 29th and 30th places.