Austin Kimes took a step in the Division II boys bowling state tournament ladder finals Friday, but went no further.
The Columbia Academy senior, seeded sixth after Thursday’s semifinals, won his first head-to-head matchup before he was eliminated from tourney competition at Smyrna Bowling Center.
Kimes, the No. 6 seed after a total pinfall of 732 in the semifinals, defeated Briarcrest’s Andrew Billions 178-159 in the first match of the day, before falling to fourth-seeded Caleb Kelley of Boyd Buchanan 200-179.
“He was dialed in pretty good and won his first match,” CA coach Derek Ransom said. “In the second game, the lanes changed on him. He changed his equipment, but he couldn’t really get dialed in. He missed a few spares; he never really got comfortable.
“It was a challenging shot for everyone; there were only two 200 games (in the ladder match finals). You had to be really precise with your speed; 45 feet down the lane was a challenge. The shot forced them to execute shots. Austin couldn’t execute shots well enough to overcome in the second match.”
Notre Dame’s C.J. Petrin, the top seed coming out of the semifinals, ultimately defeated Briarcrest’s Brendan Donlevy 224-189 for the individual championship. Kelley placed third and St. Benedict’s Riley Martin fourth.
The No. 8 qualifier in the 24-bowler field, Kimes averaged 206.25 pins per game during the regular season. His numbers at the state tourney weren’t quite to that level, though, as his high game was a 189 in the fourth and final game of the semifinals on Thursday — an effort that put him among the six finalists by one pin.
No other Columbia Academy bowler had reached the ladder match finals prior to Kimes.
“No one’s made the top six cut,” Ransom said. “Austin finishing fifth is a huge success, for sure.”