For Stow-Munroe Falls girls bowling, the first month of the season must feel like a perfectly-thrown strike.
For the Bulldog boys, the season has felt more like a well-thrown ball that leaves a sticky 10 pin standing.
That trend continued for both teams last week, as the Bulldogs competed in the Holiday Baker Marathon Saturday at the Columbus Square Bowling Palace, followed by the Nordonia Classic Sunday at NorthWoods Lanes in Macedonia.
The Bulldog girls continued their perfect start to the season, winning the title in both Columbus and Nordonia. Meanwhile, the Stow boys reached the ladder finals in both tournaments, but ended up falling short of the title.
The Holiday Baker Marathon was exactly that: A tournament with a qualifying round of 16 Baker games leading to an eight-team bracketed final.
The Bulldog girls were in complete control from start to finish during the qualifying games, opening with a 256 game and never trailing. The Bulldogs finished first in qualifying with score of 2,940, finishing 285 pins ahead of runner up Westerville Central.
In the ladder finals, Stow lost only one game, which came in game two of its first round match with Westerville South, but the Bulldogs won 214-136, 168-177, 235-147.
In the semifinals, Stow swept Gahanna Lincoln 169-132, 187-166. Stow then claimed the title with another sweep, beating third-seeded Clayton Northmon 188-149, 171-128.
In the boys tournament, Stow found itself in third place at four games with 826 pins and at the halfway point with 1,684 pins. However, Stow caught fire during the third quarter of the tournament, as a 272 game powered them into first place with 2,635 with four games left.
Westerville Central was able to rally in the last four games to finish first in qualifying with 3,497 pins, but Stow still advanced in second with 3,336 pins.
In the ladder finals, however, Stow won the opening game 206-183 vs. Heath, but Heath came back to game two 225-183 and game three 213-190 to eliminate the Bulldogs. Heath went on to reach the title match, where it was swept by Westerville Central.
The Nordonia Classic followed a similar path for both teams. The Classic’s format was three tradition games and three Baker games in qualifying leading to a four-team bracket final.
The Stow girls were untouchable at Northwoods, as three straight games over 900 led the Bulldogs to qualifying score of 3,281, putting them 724 pins ahead of second-seeded Cuyahoga Falls.
Stow dominated the score by having all five of its bowlers finish in the top 10. While Tallmadge’s Kirsten Moore won the individual title with a three-game score of 693, Stow’s Kayla Flake was second with a 645 (203-241-201), Taylor Roberts was third with a 581 (201-182-193) and Natalie Rockwell was fourth with a 571 (216-153-202).
Stow also had Haley Roberts finish seventh with a 550 (170-178-202) and Jessica Lawrence finish 10th with a 505 (151-185-169).
Stow then swept its way to the title, beating Kent Roosevelt 214-139, 210-118 in the semifinals and then downing Archbishop Hoban 168-135. 202-164 in the final.
In the boys tournament, Stow opened by taking the lead with score of 1,045, but faded a bit as the tournament went on. Stow finished fourth with 3,497 pins, finishing 35 pins ahead of Brunswick for the final ladder spot.
Individually, sophomore Nolan Snowberger finished third for the Bulldogs with a score of 686 (270-211-205). His first game score of 270 was the high game of the tournament.
Senior Alex Ridings finished in 11th place for Stow with a 637 (235-208-194). Stow also got a 606 series from Zach Dunham (210-211-185).
In the semifinals, Stow split the first two games with top-seeded Kent Roosevelt, losing game one 230-154 and winning game two 187-150. Roosevelt would edge Stow 232-224 in game three to eliminate the Bulldogs.
Stow was set to compete at the Wright State Raider Classic at Beaver Vu Bowl in Beavercreek Saturday at 1 p.m.
Stow will next see action Dec. 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the Bryan Tournament.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC.