MARQUETTE - The championship singles tournament in the Upper Peninsula Bowling Conference can be called the marathon of high school bowling.
Junior Alexa Ingram of Marquette was up to the challenge on Feb. 1, winning the girls title after rolling more than a dozen games during the morning and afternoon at Bowl-A-Rama in Escanaba.
She clinched the title with a flourish, bowling her highest game of the day in the second game of the championship match for a relatively easy 422-278 victory over hometown bowler Taylor Cordy.
With 51 participants from six teams - Marquette, Ishpeming-Negaunee, Westwood, Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Menominee - everyone bowled three qualifying games and the best 36 three more for six total in qualifying.
The top 16 scorers advanced to a single-elimination bracket. Each round was two games, so with Ingram and Cordy rolling through four rounds apiece, that was another eight games for 14 total. In that championship match, Ingram won the first game, 182-143, and clinched it with a 105-pin victory in game two, 240-135.
"I had to really focus by the time I got to that last game," Ingram said during the U.P. boys finals held Saturday in Marquette. "My wrist was really swelling, and my fingers wouldn't fit very well in the ball anymore.
"But I felt pretty sure I could do it."
Carrying one of the best averages of 174 by a girl during the U.P. conference regular season, Ingram has experience with this type of grueling format, having bowled for Warren Woods Tower for two years previous in the MHSAA regionals and state finals.
Seven Marquette County bowlers made the final cut to the top 16, with Ingram in second place with a six-game total of 1,136, a 189.3 average. Included were games of 234, 222 and 206.
Westwood's Amanda Prophet was the top qualifier with 1,165, a 194.2 average, and she had games of 277 and 216.
Other area qualifiers were Kaytlynne Carlson of Ishpeming, third with 1,123 and games of 234 and 215; Aubrey Owens of Marquette, ninth with 974; Kaylee O'Connor of Ishpeming, 12th with 949; Ashley McIntire of Marquette, 14th with 938; and Kendra Musselman of Westwood, 16th with 922.
Musselman made the cut by six pins over 17th-place Rachel VanKlompenburg of IM, while the next six spots were occupied by area bowlers - in order, Brianna Holm of Marquette, Kathryn Kulju of Westwood, Jaime Olson and Kassy Harsila of Ishpeming, Hanna Crampton of Marquette and Brooke Bartol of Westwood.