The Notre Dame High School boys' bowling team could not have picked a better time to break a school record.
In the TSSAA Division II championship match the Irish owned the lanes against Christian Brothers, which had knocked them out of the state tournament in the first round the previous two seasons.
Behind the locked-in junior duo of CJ Petrin and Griffin Lee, Notre Dame set the record by knocking over 3,464 pins in Saturday's 18-9 victory in the Smyrna Bowling Center.
After a celebration dinner at Toot's Restaurant in Murfreesboro, the Irish returned home with the program's first state title and the school's 42nd TSSAA state championship team trophy.
"To hold the state championship trophy was incredible," said Lee, who toppled over 668 pins in three games in the finals, which he finished with a season-high 236. "The feeling when we broke our record and put it all together, there is nothing like it."
Spending numerous practices throughout the season just working on converting spares, the Irish were rewarded for the grind with a 25-1 season record. They opened their championship run at Smyrna with a 21-6 win over Lipscomb Academy, followed by a five-point victory over St. Benedict.
Adding another significant honor to his Division II Mr. Bowling award, Petrin rolled a 658 series (234 high game) in the championship match.
"Everyone pitched in and carried their weight. It was so special," said Petrin, who was the individual state tournament runner-up with a 211 game average. "To have a breakthrough season meant a lot to all of us, especially our three seniors. It will stick with us for a long time."
Notre Dame's six bowlers had a combined 192 average in taking down Christian Brothers.
With hopes to go back-to-back next season, the Irish will celebrate for now after a season of hard work.
"Our coaches pushed us to our potential, and I felt like we even surpassed that to win it all," Petrin said. "It was sweet to beat the team who had ended our season the past two years."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.