Bowlers kick off winter sports season

NILES — After several delays and a week’s worth of practice, the Niles and Brandywine boys and girls bowling teams opened their season at Joey Armadillo’s Monday afternoon.

A season that was supposed to start in December, but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, finally got the go-ahead from the Michigan Athletic Association to begin competition this week.

Just before the winter sports teams were scheduled to begin practices in late December, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, along with the governor’s office, put the state on hold, which included all high school sports. That delay was only supposed to be for three weeks, but was extended into January.

The MDHHS and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer relaxed some of the guidelines in mid-January, which included allowing bowling and swimming, and diving to begin competition this week.

Brandywine Coach Pepper Miller and Niles Coach Jim Jaynes were happy to hear the sounds of balls rolling down the alleys and striking pins.

The Vikings hosted the Bobcats on Monday, with the boys team defeating the Bobcats 28.5-1.5. The Brandywine girls team defeated Niles 26-45.

The two teams are back in action Wednesday, with Brandywine being the host team at Joey Armadillo’s.

“It was great to actually start our season,” Jaynes said. “Lots small challenges, especially starting in a new conference this season. The biggest challenge is the unknown of ‘will an athlete end up tomorrow under quarantine?’ So, we will continue to make as many adjustments needed to improve and get prepared for regionals.”

Miller did not know what to expect, but was pleased with the fact that the teams got their seasons started.

“Finally,” she said. “It was great to get back to a little normalcy today. The kids were excited and nervous to start the season, but after they got going, the kids said it felt good to bowl again. We had to make a few changes to keep social distancing and fewer spectators watching due to COVID restrictions, but at least we get to bowl.”

The Brandywine girls defeated Niles 175-162 and 158-101 in the two Baker Matches. In the regular matches, the Bobcats defeated the Vikings 704-662 in total pins.

Cassie Gosa led Brandywine with a 338 series, which included a 196. Rana Adams had a 308 series, which included a 155 game.

Niles’ top bowler was Chevelle Jaynes, who rolled a 380 series, including a 200 game. Riley Hopper finished with a 262 series, including a game of 149.

In boys action, Niles defeated Brandywine 201-120 and 215-135 in the Baker Matches. In the regular matches, the Vikings defeated the Bobcats 1,960 to 1,183 in total pins.

Niles’ top bowler was Trenton Phillips, who rolled a 487 series, with games of 228 and 259. Matt McKeel had a 445 series with games of 200 and 245, while Preston Sharpe had a 411 series, which included a 220 game.

The Bobcats were led by Garrett Stoneburner’s 359 series, which included a 220 game. Landon Millin rolled a 325 series, including a 153 game.

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