Last winter was a season for the ages for the Tallmadge bowling teams.
Sadly for the Blue Devils, history will not repeat itself.
The Tallmadge girls finished 10th out of 17 teams with a score of 3,178 at a district tournament Saturday at Roseland Lanes in Oakwood Village.
Stow-Munroe Falls edged out Norton 3,584-3,578 to win the title. Rounding out the top six were Massillon Perry (3,505), Akron Ellet (3,441), North Canton Hoover (3,425) and Avon Lake (3,406).
Both the Blue Devil boys and girls teams advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history last season. The boys squad’s season came to a stunning end at sectionals the previous week.
As for his girls team, head coach Scott Krainess certainly didn’t think the season was a failure. Tallmadge didn’t have the depth and firepower it did last winter.
"We entered the sectional tourney a totally different team from last season," Krainess said. "With only five bowlers, there was no margin for error.
"Unlike most other teams, we had no subs. If someone was under the weather or having a rough game, we had zero options."
Fortunately for the school located on North Munroe Road, there will be a touch of blue and gold at the state competition.
Tallmadge junior Kirsten Moore advanced to the Division I state tournament for the second consecutive year after finishing fifth out of 112 bowlers.
Moore rolled a 600 series. She bowled games of 217, 182 and 201, respectively.
Norton junior Colleen Lehner won the competition with a 646 series. Copley senior Julia Mazzotti had the high game (242).
Moore is scheduled to compete at the state tournament March 8 and 9 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
"Kirsten was her usual anchor of the team," Krainess said. "She was consistent from the first ball she threw until the last."
Moore would have preferred to have some company in Columbus.
"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."
Moore’s teammate, junior Isabelle Hall, was a pin short of joining Moore at the state competition. She bowled a 541 series (166, 189 and 186) to finish 13th.
"Isabelle Hall did such an amazing job this season," Krainess said. "She was so consistent. She is going to come back next year even better and I can't wait to see what she does."
Also competing for Tallmadge were freshman Aileena Sargeant (61st, 164, 131 and 148), sophomore Florence Drayer (72nd, 143, 119 and 157) and freshman Morgan Cool (88, 125 and 130).
"Aileena Sargeant and Morgan Cool did awesome this season," Krainess said. "They both did great at the sectional tourney and both of them have a promising future if they continue to work hard.
"Florence Drayer was a returning varsity bowler and again, she played an integral role. She gets better and better."
Krainess certainly would have loved to see his girls team reach the state tournament for the second consecutive year.
Nonetheless, the veteran coach certainly felt good about what the girls accomplished throughout the season.
"It was truly a team effort," Krainess said. "We had two new bowlers who had never competed at this level before. They did a phenomenal job."
The lone Tallmadge boy to reach the district competition was Josh Parry. The junior concluded his season Sunday with a 441 series. He rolled games of 153, 164 and 124, respectively.
"Josh had a really strong season," Krainess said. "Unfortunately, he encountered some pretty tough conditions at Roseland Lanes and didn't perform the way he wanted to. I know he will come back next year even stronger."
Parry and the rest of his teammates missed qualifying for the district competition by a measly 20 pins.
However, the boys had another successful season after their breakthrough season last winter.
The boys team was led by Parry and fellow juniors Parker Braccio, Robbie Wilson, Patrick Stachowiak and Cooper Randolph.
"The way we finished at sectionals did not leave a good taste in anyone's mouth," Krainess said. "To fall short of qualifying for districts by 20 pins is just tough.
"I know the boys are disappointed and my hope is that they channel that into a strong offseason and come back next year ready to take care of business."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.