Marquette and Baraga counties made their presence well known in Michigan high school bowling circles last weekend.
Our area had at least one representative in a majority of the state finals conducted on Friday and Saturday - 10 of the 16 tournaments held.
And one team almost became a state champion.
That was the Ishpeming-Negaunee girls, who reached their championship match before losing to become state runners-up.
In addition, two I-N boys made it to the quarterfinals of their singles event, while the Westwood girls in team and one of its bowlers in singles advanced out of their initial qualifying rounds.
The Hematite-Miner girls gained momentum as the day progressed in their MHSAA Division 3 girls team event in Jackson.
The Hematites were a modest sixth out of 18 teams after a Baker and regular team games. In Baker games, teammates alternate frames to come up with a single-game score.
Ishpeming had 2,931, 1,385 in eight Baker games and one of the few 200s thrown, a 203. Then they totaled 765 and 781 in regular games, where each of the five bowlers rolls her own score.
The Hematites finished 63 pins ahead of the first teams out, though those scores were dropped for the head-to-head elimination matches that followed.
Ishpeming opened with a 1,152-1,130 win over No. 3-seeded Coloma, with 151 and 141 Baker and 860 regular game.
In the semifinals, the Hematites blew out Flat Rock, 1,208-1,080, with 169 and 127 Baker and their best regular game of the day, 912.
Then in the finals, Croswell-Lexington outscored Ishpeming, 1,190-1,082, with the Hematites shooting 163 and 137 Baker and 782. C-L had 171, 163 and 856.
I only have individual scores from the last match, when junior Kassy Harsila shot 190, senior Kaytlynne Carlson 165, senior Jaime Olson 162, sophomore Kassey Kytola 138 and junior Kaylee O'Connor 127.
The Ishpeming boys missed their team cut by just five pins, placing ninth with 3,102, finishing Baker with games of 218-224-217 for 1,421, then adding 849 and 832.
Two of their bowlers, however, made it to the quarterfinals of D3 singles. Matt Kilberg qualified 14th with 1,188 for six games, while fellow senior and U.P. singles champion Kirk Guckenberg nabbed the 16th and final qualifying spot with 1,169, just four pins ahead of the 17th-place bowler. Kilberg and Guckenberg each had three 200s.
A third Ishpeming senior, Austin Wilkins, was 43rd in the field of 60 with 1,050.
In the first two-game, match-play round, Guckenberg knocked off No. 1 Jeremy Pikaart of Fremont, 382-354, shooting 187 and 195. Kilberg took out No. 3 Matt Klomp of Hudsonville Unity Christian, 360-318, with 182 and 178.
In the quarters, Guckenberg fell to the eventual champion, No. 9 Sam Brandt of Fremont, 398-355, rolling 179 and 176. Kilberg lost to Chase Badalamenti of Essexville Garber, 377-351, with 164 and 187.
Three Hematite girls in singles stuck close together, with Carlson 32nd with 987, Olson 34th with 976 and O'Connor 35th with 970. Carlson, who had high game of the trio with 208, missed 16th by 78 pins.
Westwood grabbed the last qualifying spot in the Division 4 girls team event in Battle Creek, coming in eighth with 2,736, 47 pins ahead of the next team. The Patriots rolled 1,208 in Baker to go with 698 and 830.
No. 1 Vandercook Lake eliminated Westwood in the quarterfinals, 1,324-1,088, with the Patriots hitting 140 and 168 Baker and 780.
VL also dominated match play, shooting at least 1,270 in each of its three matches, the only team that broke 1,100 even once.
In D4 girls singles, Patriots senior Amanda Prophet qualified 15th with 1,003 and a 191 high, coming in just six pins ahead of the first bowler out.
Prophet bowed out in her first match to No. 2 Kelsea Reichard of Vandercook Lake, 351-274, with 148 and 126.
Marquette had a girl and boy entered in singles at the Division 2 finals in Waterford.
Junior Alexa Ingram qualified 22nd for the girls with 1,100, including 210, and missed the cut by 25 pins. Junior Trevor Buchanan was 53rd among boys with 1,033, including a pair of 207s, and missed advancing by 82 pins.
L'Anse was 13th in D4 boys team with 2,808, missing the cut by 180 pins. L'Anse had 1,174 in Baker and 799 and 835.
Purple Hornets sophomore Tucker Hemmila was 37th in D4 boys singles with 994, including 196 and 191, to finish 92 pins out.
Playing catch-up, here's two weeks worth of Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week, starting with Feb. 7-13:
Jim Kratz won a competitive men's race at 171 pins over his 151 average in the Monday Northern Electric Automotive Industrial League at Red Rock Lanes, shooting 624 on games of 236, 191 and 197.
Next was Mathew Adams in the Friday 800 Mixed at Superior Lanes at 155 over his 199 mean with 752 and a near-miss of perfection 297. Then came Chuck Ellis in the same league at 152 over his 184 average with 704 and a 257 high, tied with Jim Bauer in the Monday NEA Industrial at plus-152 over his 177 average with 683 and a 258.
For the ladies, Maria Virch crushed her 171 average by 125 pins with 638 on games of 213, 179 and 246. In second was Dee Bell of the Thursday Night Ladies at Red Rock at 104 over her 141 average with 527 and a 200.
Tied for third at 77 over from Red Rock were Wednesday SIR Federal Credit Union leaguemates Cecelia Dompierre, a 157-average bowler who shot 548 and a 245, and Brenda Carlson, with a 189 average who shot 644 and 254.
For the week of Feb. 14-20:
Jim Kipling won the men's race with 151 pins over his 196 average in the Monday NEA Industrial, shooting 739 on lines of 254, 245 and 240.
Next was Don Johnson in the Tuesday Major at Red Rock, 134 over his 170 average with 644 and 241, while tied for third at 126 over was Lawrence Clemo with a 153 average in the Tuesday Night Mixed and a 585 and 218, and Ryan Kennedy in the Friday 800 Mixed with a 170 average and 636.
For the women, Nicole Quart shot 125 over her 118 average with 479 in the Friday 800 Mixed, while Lori Paquette was 105 over her 148 average in the Tuesday Night Mixed with 549 and 220, then Linda Chapman in the Tuesday T&T Ladies at Red Rock was 102 over her 133 average with 502 and 205.