Westwood’s Stephen Kangas state runner-up at MHSAA bowling finals, Patriots’ girls team gets to semifinals
ISHPEMING — Westwood High School hit a high-water mark in its decade-old bowling program at the MHSAA Division 4 state finals last weekend.
The Patriots began the school’s historic weekend on Friday afternoon by reaching the semifinals of the girls team competition at the Super Bowl in the Detroit suburb of Canton.
Then several of the girls on that team along with boys senior teammate Stephen Kangas came back to the same center on Saturday morning to contest the singles part of the state finals.
Kangas shone during his part of the finals, going all the way to the championship match before losing to become state runner-up.
The Westwood girls team along with a total of four western Marquette County bowlers in singles qualified for their shot at state championships by having top finishes at regionals the weekend before.
The Patriots girls were second in their part of the regional tourney in Traverse City, while Kangas was sixth in the boys singles regional there.
Also making the state singles finals were Westwood girls bowlers Kylie Junak, a sophomore, and Elise Ketola, a freshman.
From Ishpeming, which is a cooperative program with Negaunee, senior Dawsen Emanuelsen was the lone Division 3 area finalist after he qualified out of Cheboygan in boys singles the week before.
But the state finals all began with the Westwood girls team on Friday morning.
The Patriots and 11 other teams from around the state bowled a total of 18 games of qualifying, with the top eight schools advancing to match play.
Each team bowled eight Baker-style games where teammates alternate frames to come up with single-game scores. Then the five-girl teams bowled a pair of “regular” games where each bowler rolled their own games.
Westwood was a modest but solid fourth after Baker bowling, totaling 1,207 for a 150.9 average. Then the Pats added regular games of 715 and 766 to finish with 2,688 and move up and become the No. 3 seed for match play.
Bronson bowled the best in both parts of qualifying, totaling 2,875 for a 102-pin edge on Traverse City Christian for the No. 1 seed.
The Pats were 85 pins behind TC Christian, but more importantly, finished 147 pins ahead of the first team out of qualifying, ninth-place Fowler.
That set Westwood up to meet No. 6 Burton Bendle in match play. While this Flint-area school had a modest finish in qualifying, Bendle was No. 2 in the Baker part of the round.
Each match consisted of two Baker games and a regular game, and it was actually in Baker that Westwood starred, rolling 145 and 170 to just 125 and 98 for Bendle to take a 92-pin lead into the regular game.
Those extra pins came in handy as Bendle actually had the better regular game, 750-712, but it wasn’t enough as Westwood prevailed 1,027-973.
In the semifinals, Westwood came up against No. 2 TC Christian as the latter swept through for a 1,105-988 victory. The Pats had Baker games of 122 and 147 to go with a 719 regular game. TCC had 138, 159 and 808.
TC Christian went on to win the state title in the next match, beating No. 4 Hanover-Horton 1,077-1,042 as its superior Baker bowling made up for a four-pin loss in the regular game.
In the D-4 boys singles finals the next day, Kangas finished in a solid sixth-place tie out of 57 bowlers in qualifying, totaling 1,174 for a 195.7 average. He bowled games of 169, 179, 203, 223, 152 and 248.
He missed the No. 1 spot established by Rafael Woods of New Lothrop by 116 pins, but more importantly, Kangas finished 88 pins ahead of the first bowler out of qualifying, 17th-place Kyle Pardy of Sandusky.
Woods, whose 1,290 total meant a 215.0 average, was among five bowlers who averaged at least 200 in qualifying.
However, Kangas’ 248 sixth game was the highest in the entire field in the final game.
Kangas used the momentum from the end of qualifying to open with 210 in his two-game match against No. 11 Riley Devereaux of Lakeview.
He added 165 for a 375 total, enough to hold off his opponent, who had games of 174 and 177 for 351.
While Kangas had the third-lowest winning total in the first round, he was emphatically the best in the next round, rolling games of 218 and 235 to win a 453-379 decision over Gavin Schroen of Britton Deerfield. That 453 total was more than 30 pins above all other competitors in the round.
Kangas did much the same in the next round, the semifinals, as the only bowler to average 200 in a 412-391 victory over Hunter Haldaman of Traverse City Christian. His 209 and 203 games compared favorably to Haldaman’s 218 and 173.
The dream of the state title fell short in the state championship match, however, as Ethan Lindsay of Burr Oak, the No. 9 qualifier, outscored Kangas 509-422. Despite Kangas’ games of 230 and 192, Lindsay rolled a near-perfect 280 along with 229.
On that same day at the same Super Bowl center, Ketola and Junak just missed the cut to match play in girls singles. Ketola finished 25th with 926, missing the 16th-place cut by 40 pins, while Junak was 29th with 915, missing match play by 51.
Ketola had games of 165, 158, 187, 137, 147 and 132, while Junak put together lines of 187, 143, 145, 135, 142 and 163.
No. 3 qualifier Morgan Brunner of Gobles edged No. 1 seed Ella Wendel of TC Christian 362-354 in the final match to win the state title. Wendel shot 1,186 in qualifying, a 197.7 average that included a 234-235 finish.
In the Division 3 finals held at JAX60 in Jackson, Emanuelsen had a close call in boys singles qualifying, finishing 18th with 1,125, a 187.5 average. He missed the 16th-place cut by just nine pins on his games of 186, 169, 210, 156, 190 and 214.
In that tourney, No. 1 qualifier Jacob Johnson of Livonia Clarenceville defeated No. 6 Trenton Altman 396-373 in the championship match. Johnson’s top qualifying score of 1,324 was a 220.7 average with no game below 211.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is email@example.com.