BY DAN STICKRADT
WATERFORD — If finishing high at the Oakland County Championships is a good omen, big things could be in store Waterford Kettering.
The Captains’ girls bowling team rose to the runner-up finish at the Oakland County Championships Jan. 16-17 in Madison Heights. State-ranked Lake Orion sunk the Captains 352-309 in the finale.
“I certainly hope this is a good sing,” admitted Kettering coach Mike Busch, whose team is 5-1 in dual matches this season with several top-five finishes at tournaments this season. “We have three experienced seniors that have led the way. In a tournament such as Oakland County, we had all six of our girls contributing. You have to in order to get all the way to the finals. Lake Orion is a very good team. They won it last year, too. There’s no shame in finishing second in the county.”
Waterford Kettering finished third out of the qualifying block (3,284), where the top 16 squads advanced to a one-match elimination tournament. The Captains narrowly escaped Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in the Round of 16 (317-311), rolled by North Farmington in the quarterfinals (339-303) and knocked out Oxford in the semifinals (346-327).
Royal Oak’s Kayla Clark won the individual high series (609), although Kettering’s Sammie Dudula was ninth (560) and both Sarah Antonelli (533) and Shaya Master (531) reached the top 20 by finishing 18th and 19th, respectively. All three are seniors and returning players that helped Kettering qualify for the state finals last season.
In the high game category,Gedula finished with the sixth-highest tally (215) and Antonelli landed eight (214) out of a field of more than 100 bowlers and 30-plus schools.
Junior Sinclair Sihadt, junior Katie Hollis and sophomore Sierra Sihadt are also key contributors for the Captains, who won the KLAA North Division title last season and are in the mix along with White Lake Lakeland this season.
With the championship season less than a month away, Kettering has realistic goals of competing for high honors at upcoming tournaments.
“We would like to win our division again. We only have the one loss, so we still have a chance there,” said Busch. “I know the girls also have the goal of finishing in the top three at the regionals and making it to the state meet.”