Tag Archives: high school bowling

TSSAA Board of Control reinstates scrimmages, jamborees for upcoming gridiron preseason

By Maurice Patton

News that the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Board of Control voted during its two-day meeting that concluded Wednesday to allow “normal” preseason activities for the 2021-22 school year was of no surprise to local football coaches.

“We took some proactive steps and went ahead and scheduled our scrimmages, 7-on-7 dates, anticipating this decision,” Columbia Academy coach Charlie Lansdell said. “We didn’t want to be stuck. We knew as soon as they made that ruling, everybody would be calling and filling up their schedules pretty quick. We actually started that back in the spring, making plans for this coming summer.

“We didn’t want to be caught with the opportunity to do it and not have the opportunity to do it.”

Among the guidelines established last summer because of the pandemic were that athletic programs were unable to participate in any activities involving another team prior to regular-season competition. Wednesday’s vote clears the way for a return to passing tournaments, scrimmages and jamborees prior to the Aug. 20 start of the 2021 gridiron campaign.

“I’m just glad we have an opportunity to do a better job of preparing for the season,” Columbia Central coach Jason Hoath said. “Last year, going in and not seeing another team until Game 1 – that’s difficult.

“Seeing them in live competition against other schools really helps you determine a lot before Game 1.”

And there’s much to determine for most area football programs. Both Columbia Central and Spring Hill will debut new starting quarterbacks, while Kit Hartsfield at Mt. Pleasant is one of three new coaches locally.

“This gives us a chance to compete before the season actually starts, with 7-on-7 and scrimmages,” Hartsfield said. “We were concerned with that, basically starting from scratch and not being able to put the kids through a competitive environment.”

Spring Hill will host a 7-on-7 event on June 24, with a number of area teams participating. Columbia Central will hold a gathering two days prior, with various squads also set to compete at Shelbyville and at Giles County prior to the two-week dead period that begins June 28.

“Last year was the best reason why it’s a good thing,” Raiders coach Ben Martin said regarding the return of preseason work. “Our first scrimmage, seeing a team with a different jersey, was Game 1 when it counts. You’re trying to get two scrimmages and four or five 7-on-7s in one game, that’s going to count on our record.

“It seems like everything gets turned up a notch when you’ve got a different opponent going against you – not the same guys you see every day. You can practice, but you can’t simulate that going against another team, the speed, the timing with the receivers.”

The Board of Control also voted to remove restrictive probation for the Franklin County and Shelbyville football programs, making them eligible for postseason play. Both were sanctioned last fall following an unsportsmanlike incident during their Week 10 contest and were ineligible for the 2021 state playoffs as a result.

Minutes from the meeting also acknowledged Zion Christian Academy’s departure from the TSSAA. Zion Christian intends to participate in the Tennessee State Independent Athletic Association for at least the next two years.

In other board action:

● A request from members of Region 6-AAAA to hold their basketball tournament at a central site was approved, as the Region 6-AAA tourney has previously been conducted. The new region will consist of Brentwood, Centennial, Franklin, Hillsboro and Overton from District 11-AAAA and Columbia Central, Independence, Nolensville, Ravenwood and Summit of District 12-AAAA.

● A proposed two-year extension to contracts with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce for the Division I girls and boys basketball tournaments and Spring Fling was approved. Those events will remain at Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center and at locations in and around Murfreesboro, respectively, through the 2022-23 school year.

A number of adjustments to the bowling competition and postseason formats were approved, including the addition of sectional tournaments as qualifiers for individual state tourneys.

Kimes, Moore among TSWA all-state bowling honorees

Columbia Academy’s Austin Kimes and Lawrence County’s Colton Moore are among the state’s bowlers recognized by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as all-state performers as the teams were announced Friday.

Kimes, a Martin Methodist College bowling scholarship signee, placed fifth in the Division II state tourney, the best performance by a Bulldog kegler in the program’s history.

Moore finished third in the Division I tournament, winning three ladder match contests to advance to the state semifinals.

The teams in their entirety:

GIRLS DIVISION I — Kailee Channell, Hardin Co., Sr.; Elizabeth Coutta, Smyrna, Jr.; Bricey Caudill, Stewarts Creek, So.; Kyleigh Husted, White House, Sr.; Janna LaBuda, Bartlett, Sr.

GIRLS DIVISION II — Lucy Garry, St. Benedict, Sr.; Jenna Hedgepath, Lipscomb Acad., So.; Casie Cottrell, Friendship Chr., Jr.; Leah Hayes, Clarksville Acad., Sr.; Elise McFarlin, Lipscomb Acad., Sr.

BOYS DIVISION I — Devean Littlejohn, Hardin Valley, Sr.; Jacob Brown, Walker Valley, Sr.; Colton Moore, Lawrence Co., Sr.; Caleb Marshall, Sevier Co., Sr.; Drew Whalen, Franklin, So.

BOYS DIVISION II — C.J. Petrin, Notre Dame, Sr.; Brendan Donlevy, Briarcrest Chr., Sr.; Caleb Kelley, Boyd Buchanan, Jr.; Riley Martin, St. Benedict, Sr.; Austin Kimes, Columbia Acad., Sr.

Bulldog senior places fifth at Division II bowling tourney

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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.

Columbia Academy senior Austin Kimes, a Martin Methodist men’s bowling scholarship signee, finished fifth in the Division II state tournament Friday at Smyrna Bowling Center. (Dave Cerchiaro / ActionPixTN)

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.”

Spring Hill bowlers bow out; CA’s Kimes reaches D-II finals

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After splitting six individual matches to open Thursday’s quarterfinal clash with Lebanon, Spring Hill faltered in the pivotal second game and was eliminated from the TSSAA Division I boys bowling state tournament at Smyrna Bowling Center.

The Raiders claimed just one head-to-head matchup in Game 2, allowing Lebanon to grab the lead en route to an 18-9 victory.

“We just didn’t get any breaks,” Spring Hill coach Don McKinnon said. “All the credit (goes) to Lebanon. They did what they had to do. They’re a group of fine young men and coaches. We just couldn’t compete. It wasn’t our day.

“Probably the nerves got the best of us. We did the best we could. The pins just didn’t go our way. We were up 5-3 after the first game. Things fell apart after that.”

Jeremy Gearlds finished with a 559 series and Nick Erdman with a 532 – after competing in Wednesday’s individual state tourney – to lead the Raiders.

Spring Hill senior Nick Erdman rolled a 532 series Thursday as the Raiders fell to Lebanon in the quarterfinals of the TSSAA Division I boys bowling state tournament at Smyrna Bowling Center. (Charles Pulliam / Williamson Herald)

“It’s been an amazing season,” McKinnon said regarding Spring Hill’s first state tourney campaign. “It’s probably the finest group of young men and women I’ve had the pleasure of coaching.

“They’re champions no matter what happened on the lanes.”

Lebanon fell in the semifinals, as Hardin County defeated the Blue Devils after a quarterfinal win over Centennial. The Tigers will face Smyrna – which defeated Sevier County in the quarters and Bartlett in the semis – in Friday’s 8:30 a.m. championship match.

In Division II boys individual competition, Columbia Academy senior Austin Kimes advanced into the ladder match finals after rolling a 732 in the four-game semifinals.

“He saved the best for last,” CA coach Derek Ransom said, referring to Kimes’ 189 in his final game – giving him just enough to move on as the sixth-place finisher, ahead of Pope John Paul II Matthew Mesecher’s 731 total.

“That particular oil pattern was probably the most challenging we’ve seen all year. You didn’t have a lot of wiggle room. Austin bowled well. He made his spares; that was probably the main thing.

Kimes, a Martin Methodist signee, had games of 178, 181 and 184 before his nailbiting final game. He came into the tournament averaging 206.25, the eighth-best mark among state qualifiers.

C.J. Petrin of Notre Dame was the top championship round qualifier, rolling an 832 through the semifinals – 66 points ahead of the No. 2 finalist, Brendan Donlevy of Briarcrest. St. Benedict’s Riley Martin (757), Boyd Buchanan’s Caleb Kelley (738) and Briarcrest’s Andrew Billions (737) rounded out the finals field.

“He’ll have to climb every step on the ladder to get to the championship,” Ransom said of Kimes, who will open at 8:30 a.m. Friday against Billions.

CA sophomores Connor Butt (700) and Foster Isenberg (610) placed 14th and 24th, respectively.

“They had a little tougher time adjusting as the lanes changed,” Ransom said. “Austin was a little quicker picking it up.”

Spring Hill bowling duo shifts focus to team competition

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Spring Hill’s Nick Erdman and Jeremy Gearlds will continue their stays at the TSSAA State Bowling Championships for another day, but their pursuits of an individual title came to an end Wednesday.

With a total pinfall of 772 in four games at Smyrna Bowling Center, Erdman — making his second tournament appearance in as many years — came up just short of qualifying for one of the top six spots necessary to advance to the championship ladder round.

Erdman, a senior, placed 10th overall, with Gearlds totaling 750 in the semifinals to finish 19th.

“They just didn’t get the breaks,” Spring Hill coach Don McKinnon said. “The pins didn’t fall. They put the ball there; they just didn’t get much pin carry.”

Walker Valley’s Jacob Brown rolled an 873 in the semifinals to earn the top spot in the ladder matches, followed by Hardin Valley’s Devean Littlejohn (871), Sevier County’s Caleb Marshall (839), Franklin’s Drew Whelan (810), Lawrence County’s Colton Moore (807) and Green Hill’s Andy Romer (793).

Littlejohn defeated Brown 238-197 in the finals, with Moore placing third, followed by Marshall, Whelan and Romer. Moore won three straight ladder matches before falling to Littlejohn.

Gearlds, a junior, had the seventh-best qualifying average in the state tourney field, with a 216.24, while Erdman was 10th with a 215.44. Both came up short of those efforts on Wednesday, though. Erdman had a 231 in his third game, after a 202 and a 167, and finished with a 172. Gearlds opened with a 194 and a 204, but fell off to a 164 and 188 in his final two games.

“Jeremy didn’t seem nervous at all,” McKinnon said. “He was there. He put the ball where he needed to. He just didn’t get the carry.

“Nick was disappointed, as anyone would be. But we kept his spirits up. They’ll both be back for the team event.”

Columbia Central sophomore Jacob Molasy totaled 682 for 30th place.

Erdman, Gearlds and their Raider teammates will now turn their attention to the Division I boys team competition that begins at 11 a.m. Thursday with a quarterfinal match against Lebanon. Boys semifinals are set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, with the championship scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday.

In Division II, Columbia Academy senior Austin Kimes and sophomores Foster Isenberg and Connor Butt are in the boys individual semifinal field that will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday. The DII boys championship ladder rounds will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Spring Hill claims state bowling tourney berth

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For the Spring Hill bowling team, Monday’s trip back from Dayton was more enjoyable than the one over.

The Raiders rebounded from their Region 4 championship loss last week to Smyrna to defeat Region 3 titlist Rhea County 14-13 — and clinch their first TSSAA Division I boys state tournament berth with the sectional victory.

“I’ve been there since 2004, and it’s my first time,” veteran Spring Hill coach Don McKinnon said regarding the feat.

After taking a 5-3 lead through the first game — keyed by a 234 by David Yauger and a 232 by state qualifier Nick Erdman — the Raiders were swept in Game 2 and trailed 11-5 heading into the final.

Junior Nicollette Harper, who rolled a 162 and a 140 in the first two games, rallied with a 201 to win her individual matchup and spark her team to the overall victory.

“All they needed was three points,” McKinnon said regarding Rhea County. “Nicollette beat one of their top bowlers and sealed the victory.”

Erdman, a senior, led the way for Spring Hill with a 610 series. Yauger, a junior, turned in a 599 series, followed by junior Tyler Williams (547), junior Jeremy Gearlds (543), Harper (503) and senior Jordon Reese (434).

Spring Hill will face Lebanon in Thursday’s state quarterfinals beginning at 11 a.m. Other quarterfinal matchups will include Sevier County vs. Smyrna, Centennial vs. Hardin County and Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett vs. Bartlett.

The state tournament begins Wednesday at Smyrna Bowling Center with Division I boys and girls individual semifinal competition — boys at 11 a.m., girls at 1:30 p.m. — followed by the championship rounds at 4 p.m.

Division I team competition starts Thursday with girls quarterfinals at 8:30 a.m., boys quarters at 11 a.m. and boys and girls semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Division II boys and girls individual semis are set for 4 p.m. Thursday.

On Friday, Division I boys and girls team championships and Division II boys and girls individual championships are set for 8:30 a.m., with DII girls team quarterfinals at 11 a.m., DII boys team quarters at 1:30 p.m., and DII boys and girls team semifinals at 4 p.m.

The Division II boys and girls team championships matches are scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday.

Gearlds and Erdman are both in the DI boys individual field, each among the top 10 qualifiers statewide. Gearlds had a 216.24 average pinfall per game during the regular season, seventh in the field, while Erdman — a two-time qualifier — comes in with a 215.44 average, 10th among all qualifiers.

Columbia Academy senior Austin Kimes (206.25, eighth), a Martin Methodist signee, and sophomores Foster Isenberg (186.04, 20th) and Connor Butt (185.42, 21st) are among the Division II boys individual qualifiers.

NOTE: Because of pandemic-related capacity restrictions, no spectators will be allowed at the state bowling tournament. Only participants and their coaches will be granted entry during their portion of the tournament. Live scoring will be available at TSSAAsports.com.