COLUMBUS — For the first time in program history, a Scot will take the lanes at the state bowling meet, and it will not be just one, with both the boys and girls teams qualifying to advance.

“Today was the day. They all showed up. They were all there. They were engaged,” Highland girls coach Amber Brubaker said. “All in. That was today. They were all in. Our motto today was one ball, one shot.”

In the team standings, the Scot boys picked up a second-place finish with a score of 4,066 on the day, coming in behind Jonathan Alder’s 4,139. River Valley took third with 4,056. Highland’s girls grabbed third, knocking down 3,353 pins on the day. Alder took first at 3,471 and Cardington was second at 3,387.

“Most of these kids have never ever put a ball in their hand before, so to bring them from the beginning to the stage where they can go and compete on a state level, you can’t describe that feeling,” Highland boys coach Ron Garlinger said. “To ask me for my words, I don’t have any.”

Highland’s Brennan McLaughlin grabbed the top individual series, charting a 731. He started with an outstanding 264 and followed that up with a 218 and 248.

“It’s just everything I’ve worked so hard for and it’s just paying off greatly,” an emotional McLaughlin said. “Being able to bowl against great competitors and being able to compete with other great bowlers, it meant the world to be here. It even means the world even just advancing.”

Ben Rinehart was the next Scot on the leaderboard, turning in a 578 (165-232-181) to finish 22nd. Tyler Disbennett shot a 547 (181-222-144) and T.J. Taylor was not far behind at 537 (211-167-159). Zach Watts came in for the final two games and turned in a 196 and 182. Highland amassed a score of 1,192 at the end of six Baker games, the second highest Baker total of the day.

Although the Scot girls did not have the top bowler, they had several quality outings to qualify for state. Autumn Burson paced Highland at 13th, starting with a 173 and notching a 165 and 169 (507). Paige Hicks was not far behind, grabbing 17th with a 500 (174-159-167). Courtney Weikel, at 497 (165-161-171), and Erin Conner, at 472 (144-164-164), rounded out the Highland girls to bowl all three games. Madie Zamer chipped in a 157 and Camberly Schade added a 131. The Highland girls had the second-best Baker total at 982.

“Both girls and boys advancing, it means the world to all of us,” McLaughlin said. “It just means everything.”

Standing atop the girls’ individual standings was Utica’s Courtney Melvin. She reached districts as an individual, so she was only vying for an individual spot. She shot a 183 in the first game, before recording seven-straight strikes during her second game to turn in a 231. She capped off her day with a 166 to end at 580, one pin ahead of the second-best score.

“I’m feeling excited, but also really nervous for states,” Melvin said. “I’ve worked very hard for this, so I’m very proud of myself.”

Fredericktown’s Hannah Vaughn also punched her ticket to the state tournament as an individual, carding a 575 on the day. She started with a 175 and 173, before going on a tear in her final game to shoot a 227 to sneak into third place.

The Freddie girls team all bowled Thursday, finishing in fifth place, 79 pins behind the cut to reach state. Behind Vaughn, Makenna Andrew finished 32nd (155-135-175—465), Macey Neer grabbed 36th (158-144-150—452) and Leah Stanton was not far behind in 38th (158-120-167—445). Emma Stokes also bowled two games with scores of 144 and 124. Fredericktown racked up a score of 951 in the Baker games, fourth best among the girls teams.

Centerburg’s Cody Climer was the last individual to extend his season into state. He was the second-best individual qualifier with a 666 after three rounds. He stayed consistent throughout the day, charting a 219, 214 and 233 to finish fifth overall. In his final game, he started slow, but rattled off seven-straight strikes to pull it out.

“I can’t believe it,” Climer said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it. Between first and second, there was a 30-pin jump and when they called the first one, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I bowled good, I just left a lot of splits that I couldn’t pick up.”Brock Hurtt also represented the Trojans as an individual, rolling a 506 (147-162-197) to finish 50th.

Cardington’s girls team had an outstanding day on the lanes, putting up the second-best team score. Addie Wilhelm paced the Pirates at 522 (169-181-172), with Laynee Wilson not far behind at 511 (162-212-137). Morgan Lehner shot a 497 (162-156-179) and Frankie Arnold had a 472 (160-144-168). Laney Sherbourne added a 161 and Sydnie Wilson contributed a 134.

The Pirates were cruising along in their Baker games, before exploding for a 217 in the final game to finish at 981 over the six games and secure second.

“Baker games is where it got really nailbiting,” Cardington coach Morgan Edgell said. “We knew we were right in there and our adrenaline was pumping.”

The Trojans girls were also represented at the district tournament as a team. Jordan Climer led the way with a 35th-place finish, rolling a 123, 168 and 166 to end the day at 457. Catherine Elfrink finished 41st at 441 (123-133-185), and Audrey Clippinger (99-153-131) and Sophia Comption (118-129-124) finished close to each other with final scores of 383 and 371, respectively. Zoe Stephens shot a 136 and Madison Dennis had an 87. Centerburg had a 770 in its Baker games and finished 11th as a team.

Back in the boys’ division, Utica finished seventh as a team, led by Blake French’s 609 (164-233-212) that earned him 10th. Zack Maurer had a 582 (235-191-156) and Carson Walker shot a 562 (213-164-185). Jay Figgins, at 529 (202-203-124), and Brandon Ross, at 501 (172-198-131) rounded out the Redskins. Utica turned in a 927 in the Baker rounds.

Northmor’s Maddie Hoverland earned 15th in the girls’ pool with a 504 (182-142-180), while Mount Gilead’s Madison Noble earned 45th (152-140-139—431). Fellow Indian Dylan Dixon rolled a 548 to finish 34th (212-168-168).

The girls that advanced will take the lanes March 1 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, while the boys compete at the same location March 2. Until then, the state qualifiers will be practicing.

“I’ve got to get my practice in some more, but I’m ready for states,” Melvin said.

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Erick Starkey: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mvnstarkey



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