All season long, Stow-Munroe Falls has been the dominant force in the Suburban League bowling.
That trend continued Saturday as the Bulldogs roll into the postseason with both Suburban League titles in their pockets.
Stow’s girls completed a perfect season in the league by winning the Suburban League Post-Season Tournament Saturday at Kent Lanes. The Bulldogs were in a dogfight with Kent Roosevelt for the title, but a solid Baker game series allowed Stow to clinch the crown with 3,703 pins. Roosevelt was second with 3,618.
As for the Bulldog boys, Stow had a very good tournament, finishing with 4,107 pins. The only issue was, hot as the Bulldogs were, Wadsworth was on fire, as the Grizzlies won the title with 4,235 pins. Stow was just able to hold off Cuyahoga Falls for second place, as the Black Tigers finished third with 4,101.
According to Stow boys coach John Martin, the overall Suburban League title was in the bag for Stow, as the Bulldogs had one the pre-season and dual match titles coming into the tournament.
"All we needed to do is finish fifth to win the conference," Martin said. "The way the Suburban League sets it up is a point system: 20 percent for pre-season tournament, 60 percent for the regular season and 20 percent for the postseason. That’s pretty much what we aimed for: Finishing in fifth to get the title. We were kind of the on roll heading into the tournament."
Stow was on a roll partially because it swept Tallmadge Thursday at Stonehedge Entertainment to wrap up the regular season. The Bulldogs girls scored a tight 2,260-2,211 win over the Blue Devils to finish 10-0 in Suburban League dual meets.
Meanwhile, the Bulldog boys scored a 2,841-2,552 over Tallmadge in a match which featured a perfect 300 game from junior Alex Ridings. With the win, Stow finished 10-1 in the Sububan League in dual matches.
"We kind of felt that that was coming," Martin said of Ridings’ perfect game. "He’s been throwing a 500 series in the last five matches. Anytime you can improve your average by 30 pins from one year to the next, you’re doing something right."
Ridings finished the season with an average of 230.96 pins per game, which was tops in the Suburban League.
In the girls tournament, Stow had deal with a determined effort from Roosevelt, who was bowling on its home lanes.
Kent had a two-pin lead after the first game (891-889), while Stow answered in game two to take a 1,867-1,829 lead. Kent would roll a 967 in the third game, cutting the lead to 2,806-2,786 heading into the Baker games.
With everything to play for, Stow rolled Baker games of 171, 225, 187, 156 and 163 to finish with a 902 in the Bakers, which was one pine behind Tallmadge for top series. Roosevelt rolled an 822 in the Baker’s giving them the title.
Individually, Roosevelt’s Emily Byles win the individual title with a 670 series (253-203-232), but Stow had two top five finishes, as senior Hayley Roberts took third with a 618 series (211-222-185) and Kayla Flake took fourth with a 591 series (201-173-217).
Stow also got a 523 series from senior Taylor Roberts (181-156-186) and 491 series from Allie Rudman (150-192-149). Jessica Lawrence contributed games of 235 and 202 for Stow.
On the boys side, Stow broke the 1,000 mark in each of its three games, rolling games of 1,099, 1,038 and 1,070 to take a score of 3,207 into the Baker games. Wadsworth, however, finished just ahead of Stow in all three games and took a score 3,291 into the Bakers.
Trailing by 84 pins, Stow was still within striking distance of the Grizzlies heading into the Bakers. However, the Bulldogs cooled off a bit during the Bakers, rolling games of 155, 208, 180, 180 and 177 for a 900 series. Wadsworth’s score of 944 in the Bakers clinched the win.
Individually, senior Nick Arlequeeuw had a huge day, rolling a 767 series (234-265-268) to take second place. Arlequeeuw missed winning the individual title by six pins, as Cuyahoga Falls’ Justin Moyer — the defending Division I state individual champion — won with a 773 series.
"He actually had a chance to go out to beat [Moyer]," Martin said. "Nick and Ridings in the last 10 games have been averaging close to 250 pins a game. You can’t ask for much more than that."
Ridings finished in sixth place with 690 pins (257-255-178), as an off-game in game three kept him out of the top five.
Stow also got a 610 series from freshman Nolan Snowberger (187-187-234), a 588 series from Evan Koch (208-170-202) and a 560 series from senior Alex Snowberger.
Stow will open its postseason run at the Division I sectional tournament at Boardman Lanes on Sunday. Boys bowling begins at 9 a.m. with girls starting a 2 p.m. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the district tournament.
"I think our sectional is one of the hardest ones," Martin said. "It’s going to make for a real interesting sectional on wood lanes. Wood plays differently than synthetics."
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_RPC