COLUMBUS — Cedar Point has nothing on the Olmsted Falls boys bowling team.
The Bulldogs weathered a shaky beginning and came back strong to finish as Division I runner-up to Wapakoneta on Friday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in their first state appearance.
Olmsted Falls overcame a 97-pin deficit after the first two individual games to roar back with a 1,017-pin game in the third and bowled solidly in the three qualifying Baker games to reach the eight-team bracket.
After that it was gravy for the Bulldogs, who were the talk of the tournament.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Dan McFadden said. “To come through and do what we did, there were a lot of twists and turns along the way.”
Qualifying for the eight-team bracket by only 20 pins over defending state champion Canfield, the Bulldogs took huge momentum into the quarterfinals.
And “Big Mo” means a lot in the championship brackets as virtually every Bulldog said.
“Momentum is all about your teammates,” Nathan Paliska said. “One person can’t go out there and take any position individually, it takes a team. You’re a little intimidated, but it always comes back to being one. I don’t think the nerves ever went away. The energy from the fans, our family and friends, that’s where this came from.”
Where Olmsted Falls’ quarterfinals win over top-seeded Clayton Northmont came from is something Bulldogs fans will be talking about well into next season.
The Thunderbolts came into the round of eight after shattering the state record with 3,812 pins in the qualifier.
Olmsted Falls weathered a first-game loss in the Baker format, but then won three of the next four to advance.
“Starting off having to bowl against the top seed, we knew if we didn’t come out shooting, we were going to go home,” McFadden said. “We focused on all our shots every time. If we just missed our marks, we adjusted.
“As long as we were putting our best ability forth, we would do well. That showed we could beat anybody. Anyone here was capable of beating anyone else. It all comes down to do you make your spares, do you put forth that effort.”
The Bulldogs’ four-game semifinal win over Beavercreek was almost effortless as suddenly a team that was on the brink of elimination found itself in the finals against Wapakoneta. Unfortunately for Olmsted Falls, the Redskins were a little too much in a four-game loss.
“Nobody from our school has made it this far,” Bulldogs coach Chuck Carver said. “It’s just tremendous in my first year of coaching. We worked them all year and they gave us everything we asked for.”
The good news for Olmsted Falls is juniors Andrew Oltmanns, Chris Kuczynski and Paliska will join sophomore Colin Kuchenmeister on a team expecting to not only get back to Columbus, but one that expects to take that final step to a state title.
“That was my speech at the end,” Carver said. “We’ll be back next year. I’ve got two kids I couldn’t bring to cut to eight and they have 190 averages, too. I have a solid six guys to bring us right back here.”
Contact Brad Bournival at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DIVISION I STATE TOURNAMENT
FINAL: Wapakoneta 154-182-175-169 def. Olmsted Falls 175-169-171-126
SEMIFINALS: Olmsted Falls 151-154-183-160-186 def. Beavercreek 192-152-181-186-160; Wapakoneta 171-193-221-238 def. Brunswick 180-180-175-188
QUARTERFINALS: Olmsted Falls 205-201-198-170-186 def. Clayton Northmont 210-175-153-203-180; Beavercreek 168-205-197-187 def. Ashville Teays Valley 182-192-177-169; Brunswick 193-163-179-187-192 def. Cincinnati Oak Hills 201-158-218-136-186; Wapakoneta 182-232-188-224 def. Kettering Fairmont 159-189-195-200.
FIRST TEAM: 1. Steve Kocher, fr., Clayton Northmont 709 (207-245-257); 2. Evan Adkins, fr., Xenia 696 (248-278-170); T3. Matthew Diamond, sr., Centerville 690 (214-210-266) and Ricky Reed, jr., Clayton Northmont 690 (216-221-253); 5. Justin Vetrovsky, so., Brunswick 664 (215-212-237).
SECOND TEAM: 6. Eric Bator, jr., Brunswick 660 (207-225-228); 7. Austin Mahaffey, sr., Kettering Fairmont 653 (228-190-235); 8. Chandler Kaeck, sr., Wapakoneta 649200-183-266); 9. Kyle Kessler, sr., Clayton Northmont 644 (190-212-242); 10. Zack Starner, sr., Hilliard Davidson 633 (236-176-221).
THIRD TEAM: 11. Spencer Brodie, so., Brunswick 630 (194-221-215); 12. Blake Knueve, fr., Wapakoneta 629 (223-221-185); 13. Paul Lyons, so., Kettering Fairmont 625 (203-210-212); 14. Andrew Letscher, so., Canfield 624 (213-192-219); 15. Tommy Lowry, so., Green 619 (212-172-235).
OLMSTED FALLS: 16. Dan McFadden, sr., 614 (194-206-214); 27. Jake Olszewski, sr., 578 (221-170-187); 86. Chris Kuczynski, jr., 221; 88. Nathan Paliska, jr., 198; 89. Colin Kuchenmeister, so., 197; T94. Paul Katz, sr., 167; 96. Andrew Oltmanns, jr., 166; 100. Chad Kuchenmeister, sr., 122.