Peshtigo Kegglers Claim 2nd Straight Silver MedalIssue Date: March 7, 2018
The Peshtigo Club Bowling Team ended a great run with their second straight second-place finish at the Wisconsin Division II High School Bowling Club State Championships.
The Bulldogs had an undefeated regular season that earned them a conference title, but after coming four pins short of a state title last season, they had their eyes on something more.
After struggling to start, the Bulldogs managed to snag the fifth seed in the finals, the lowest seed to advance.
The Bulldogs' slow start to the tournament carried over to the first game of the stepladder tournament, when Monroe led 182-166 after the first of two games. Monroe fell apart in the second, however, allowing the Bulldogs to snag a win despite playing below their average.
On the season, the Bulldogs averaged a 204. With lane conditions having an effect on the matchups, Monroe was able to get just a 118 in the second game. Peshtigo escaped with a 324-300 win over the team that defeated them in the state final last season.
"That was a grind game," Bulldogs Coach Roby Lund said. "Both teams were struggling, and they screwed up a little more than we did. That's really how it went."
Against Wilmot Union and Antigo, Peshtigo cruised to wins, taking down Wilmot Union 365-311 Saturday night and beating Antigo 392-345 in their first match on Sunday.
After those two wins, it came down to a matchup with Amherst for the state title. Peshtigo came out rolling, but it didn't last long.
After six frames in the first game, the Bulldogs had 119, giving Lund confidence the team was going to have a lead heading into the second game.
"We started out really well," Lund said. "I just kept saying to myself, "if we can spare out, we've got 210' and they were looking at 180 or 190. Unfortunately, we opened the seventh, ninth and tenth and ended up being down by a pin instead of up 30 pins."
The Bulldogs trailed 180-179 after one game, something that had a big impact on the outcome of the day.
When you're in a match-play like that with pressure mounting, you start gripping the ball a little bit tighter, the pins look smaller and spares are tougher to get," Lund said. "When we were down one, we just couldn't get a double to take the lead or catch up to them. We just couldn't get our double."
Amherst took the second game 192-184 and the Bulldogs ended their season in disappointment for the second straight year with a loss in the final by 10 or less pins.
ൕ pins separated us," Lund said. "It's one bounce here or there and we win two titles, but to get there twice is still amazing."
"We should have had a big game to start off, but we couldn't finish strong," Tyler Lund, the team's top bowler, said. "In the last game, we had no doubles. One thing could have gone our way, but once again it didn't."
Max Chaney, Mitchell Ahrens, Lund and Trevor Bloch, four of the team's five starters, are graduating this year, something that Coach Lund said made the loss hard to take.
"We've got four seniors, and I think that's the hardest part," Lund said. "We've got four kids that have been through it and to not be able to get it. There's only a handful of teams in the history of Peshtigo that have played in a title match and they've done it two years in a row. There's nothing that says just because you've been there and you've got guys coming back you're going to make it."
Lund, Ahrens and Bloch competed in the 94-bowler individual competition as well. Lund placed 35th with a three-game score of 564, Ahrens got 46th with a 550 and Bloch was 56th, bowling a 528 over three games.
Ultimately, however, this weekend was about the team, which was as close as Coach Lund has seen.
"In this type of style of bowling, you always want great camaraderie with everybody and that team had it, Lund said. "They're disappointed now, but they're going to look back and say "Hey, that was pretty fun.'"
There was a lot of support for the team in the crowd as well, with the Bulldogs well-represented in Wausau.
"Saturday night was absolutely crazy loud," Coach Lund said. "It was full of good matches and Peshtigo people were heard. It was as fun of an event for us coaches and the players. You could see the players feeding off of it. It's going to be a lot of great memories for us and those kids. It was really exciting and we have to thank everybody."
Ahrens agreed, saying, "The fans were very loud and the team was very excited to be back where we were last year."
Despite the loss, an undefeated regular season and a run to the state final was enough to be considered a good season.
"The season was fantastic," Ahrens said. "It was very fun."
Bloch called this the team's "best season yet," saying, "We knew we were capable to make it to the finals, but we still knew we had to stay calm every time we go up to the ball. We knew we could do it."
Tyler Lund was thankful for his teammates and the support they received.
"I couldn't have asked for a better team, that's for sure. I couldn't have asked for better fans," Lund said. "I had fun the whole way. The only thing I would have changed would be the results."
The Marinette girls' bowling team took ninth in Division II, and did not qualify for the stepladder tournament.
Marinette's team members include seniors Lily Pomplun and Devon Sorenson, juniors, Lyndsay Ebsch, Katie Hruska and Cassie Cayemburg, and freshmen, Jenna Margetta, Hanna Ebsch and Natawsha Fox.
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