Last winter was a season of discomfort for Kirsten Moore.
She had a nagging forearm injury that forced her to miss some time and then was plagued by an illness.
Fast forward to a year later and the Tallmadge junior bowler felt that all-too-familiar phlegm invading her throat.
"Here we go again," Moore thought.
"I just got over a cough during districts," she said.
Just in time.
That’s because Moore is heading to the Division I state tournament for the second consecutive year.
Moore, the 2018 Division I state runner-up, bowled a 600 series to finish fifth at a district competition Saturday at Roseland Lanes in Oakwood Village.
Moore rolled games of 217, 182 and 201, respectively. While those scores certainly aren’t the talented teenager’s best games ever, Moore will certainly take them.
At this point, the goal is to survive and advance. Thus, the determined junior accomplished her mission.
"I think I performed pretty well," Moore said. "A 600 series is a pretty good score for the way that the lanes were playing. The oil was pretty heavy so I had to play outside of my comfort zone — my entire team did.
"I did not have to make any major adjustments because there were only a few people playing in the same area as me."
The lanes will continue to test Moore’s abilities as an athlete and a thinker. She will attempt to solve another Rubik’s Cube at the state tournament, which is scheduled to take place March 8 and 9 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
Moore hasn’t taken the journey for granted. Many athletes have gone to the ultimate stage as underclassmen. And many of those same athletes did not duplicate their efforts as upperclassmen.
"I was honestly really excited," Moore said. "I was happy that my team had the opportunity to get to the state tournament again.
"I was a little stressed, but we had plenty of practice before the actual tournament so I was more ready than anything."
If Moore had her way, she would have gladly bowled at Roseland Lanes for the district competition 24 hours after sectional play.
No dice for the restless teenager.
That didn’t sit too well for the Blue Devils’ first-ever two-time state qualifier. Moore has never been a fan of playing waiting games.
"The week leading up to the tournament felt so long because I just wanted to compete with my team," she said.
Moore’s breakthrough sophomore season featured a garden of paradise with an abundance of blooming flowers.
This time, though, Moore is the only rose that survived the overwhelming barrage of relentless spider mites.
Tallmadge finished 10th out of 17 teams with a score of 3,178 and will not be returning to the state tournament. The top six squads advanced.
"I think it's more upsetting than disappointing," Moore said. "To have both teams make it last year was such a huge accomplishment and I wanted the same thing to happen this year.
"Because that didn't happen, it means that we all just need to work harder next season to make sure we can all go to state before we graduate."
The situation only gets worse from there. Her teammates may not make the trip to Columbus.
"Because of school and lack of transportation, it's unlikely the team will be able to join me at the tournament," a disappointed Moore said.
The lack of company won’t stop Moore from making the trip down Interstate 71. Once she gets there, another 600 series will fall short of the teenager’s expectations.
"I always think there's room for improvement, but I'm really happy with what my team and I have accomplished this season," Moore said. "I always set goals for myself every season and I've been able to reach most of them. I think I'm in a really good place right now."
Moore is thrilled to make it back to a place that has been known to have much stricter guidelines for second-time visitors.
But the no-nonsense junior isn’t there to simply enjoy the scenery.
She has her eyes on a certain piece of hardware that is significantly larger than the others.
"There's always going to be nerves, but I think I'm more excited than anything," Moore said. "My goal at the start of the season was to make it back to the state tournament. It makes me so happy that I reached that goal.
"I know I'm going to be nervous on the day of the tournament, but I am ready to bowl my best and hopefully, come out on top."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.