For the Stow-Munroe Falls bowling teams, the district tournament was a case of joy and pain.

The joy came from the Stow girls team, which won the Division I district title Feb. 26 at Hall of Fame Lanes in Canton to reach the state tournament.

The pain came for the Bulldog boys, who saw their season come to an end.

Stow's girls won the district title going away, as the Bulldogs scored 3,589 pins, finishing 186 pins ahead of runner-up Perry. Warren G. Harding (3,390), Akron Springfield (3,317) and Olmsted Falls (3,296) also qualified.

Meanwhile, the Stow boys were as high as third early in the tournament, but slumped to seventh place with 3,570 pins. Stow finished 113 pins behind Cuyahoga Falls for the final state qualifying spot.

Stow girls coach Rachael Ritzinger admitted she wasn't expecting a dominant performance after the girls only managed to finish third at sectionals the previous week.

"Honestly, I didn't think so," Ritzinger said. "I just wanted to make the cut, I didn't expect them to get first place like that. I feel like they were way more excited at districts than they were at sectionals.

"After winning the whole Suburban League, I think that got to their heads a little," she added. "I think we thought we could do anything. Then at sectionals, we thought maybe we can't do anything. It turned back around for districts, though."

After opening with a 796 in the first game, Stow seized the lead with a 917 in the second game and then rolled an 853 in game three. The Bulldogs led with 2,566 pins heading into the Baker games.

Stow then put an exclamation point on the tournament by rolling a 1,023 during the Baker games, which was the high series for districts.

After struggling a bit at sectionals, senior Meghan Ritzinger was Stow's top bowler at districts, finishing fourth in the individual race with a three-game series of 571 (186-221-164). Twinsburg's Tyahana Elder won the individual title with a 603.

Sophomores Taylor Roberts (535 -- 148, 188,199) and Hayley Roberts (510 -- 181, 144, 185) each broke 500 for Stow, while senior Annie Taylor rolled a strong 492 (133-193-166). Senior Valerie Biley rolled a 458 (148, 171, 139).

All but one Bulldog from the team that finished 13th at last year's Division I state tournament will return to Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl for this year's state tournament March 10. Coach Ritzinger is telling her team to embrace how special this opportunity is.

"Obviously, the goal is to win the state tournament, but I would be happy with a top 5 finish," Ritzinger said. "I always wanted to go [to states] when I was in school, but it was tougher back then. I'm happy to go down as a coach and watch my little sister."

Ritzinger said her team was heartbroken that its male counterparts were eliminated at districts.

"They've had a rough season," Ritzinger said. "It's hard not going together because we're all so close."

The Bulldog boys opened with a 953, putting them in third place after one game. Stow then slipped a bit, rolling an 878 in game two, but rebounded with a 922 in game three.

Stow found itself tied with Cuyahoga Falls for fourth place with 2,620 pins heading into the six Baker games.

However, the Baker games proved to be the Stow boys' undoing. The Bulldogs rolled a 950 in the Baker games, while the six qualifying teams each broke 1,000.

Individually, Stow wasn't able to advance any boys either. Senior Scott Hopkins was Stow's top bowler, but he finished 21st with a 551 series (186-171-194). Berea-Midpark's Nicholas Guzowski claimed the final individual qualifying spot with a 566.

Junior Nick Arlequeeuw finished 27th with a 544 (222-166-156), while sophomore Alex Ridings rolled a 528 (176-170-182) and senior Christian Studt rolled a 525 (198-176-151). Junior Alex Snowberger struggled a bit with a 472 (171-161-140).


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