There are usually two ways to approach the state competition.
You can relish the experience of just being there or you can treat it with the same intensity you did to get to this point.
For Kirsten Moore, the latter was definitely her choice of tactics.
Alas, the Tallmadge junior bowler fell short of her ultimate target.
But she certainly enjoyed the ride.
Moore ended another stellar season with a 16th-place series of 559 at the Division I state tournament Friday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
Moore rolled games of 195, 206 and 158, respectively. A total of 104 bowlers competed.
Moore was the state runner-up last winter and is the Blue Devils’ first two-time state qualifier in school history.
Moore definitely believed she left some pins standing in Columbus. Things took an unfortunate wrong turn for the talented perfectionist in the pivotal third game.
"My performance the first two games was good, but the last game was not what I wanted," Moore said. "I was missing easy spares and couldn’t find a line that worked, so my last game took a toll on my score.
"Recently, I’ve also been working on hand techniques and I struggled with this, especially in the last game. I plan to keep working on this throughout the offseason."
Moore’s performance wasn’t based on a lack of preparation. If her fine-tuning sessions were any indication, Moore was destined to make a significant impact.
"Kirsten had a great week and a half of practice between the district tournament and the state tourney," Blue Devils head coach Scott Krainess said. "She was ready to go. We got to Wayne Webb Lanes Thursday afternoon and again, she had a great practice."
Since she bowled at Wayne Webb last year, it didn’t take long for Moore to find her comfort zone.
"I actually think these lanes started out easier than sectionals and districts," Moore said.
"During practice for state, I found the oil pattern to be easier for myself and how I play with my ball."
The first two games certainly proved it. She was in fifth place in the overall standings heading into the critical third game.
"We got there Friday morning raring to go and Kirsten had a great start," Krainess said. "She was really solid. She could not have thrown the ball much better.
"She missed a 10 pin in the first game, but bounced right back with a strike. Game two started strong, but she left a six-seven split in the fifth frame.
"In typical Kirsten fashion, she bounced back with four of her next five shots being strikes. She was literally in the pocket every frame. Four or five were light hits."
Moore certainly struggled to hide her disappointment regarding her third game. Nonetheless, the determined junior certainly appreciates what she accomplished.
Many athletes have reached the ultimate stage during the early stages of their high school careers.
A number of those performers never returned.
"It’s definitely a huge accomplishment for me to be able to go to the tournament not once, but twice," Moore said. "I always try my best, so having my work pay off feels fantastic.
"The only way I’d be happier with going to the tournament is if my team was able to join me this year."
Krainess certainly appreciates his star pupil’s fierce competitiveness. Moore will have one more chance to bring home a championship after finishing 11 pins shy of earning All-Ohio status Friday.
"Kirsten is as competitive an athlete as you will find," Krainess said. "She demands the very best of herself. She sets very high goals and is understandably disappointed when she doesn’t reach them.
"Last year, she finished second in the state and this year, her goal was to win it. She came close."
The 2018 state tournament featured a lot more blue and gold than it did Friday. Both the Tallmadge boys and girls teams were invited to Columbus for the first time last season.
"State was definitely different without my team being with me," Moore said. "Last year, we all had fun together, so it was different just having my coaches with me this year.
"Regardless, the experience was great. I bowled with some great girls and had fun."
Most importantly, Moore had no regrets.
Since the Blue Devils lost some key players and didn’t have much depth coming into the winter, it’s a safe bet they weren’t on too many people’s radars.
That is expected to change next season.
"This season was like a complete 180 from last season," Moore said. "We started off with a very small team because the majority of our players graduated last year.
"This year was mainly us rebuilding and recruiting new people. Aileena [Sargeant] and Morgan [Cool] have been great additions to the team and they made this year so much fun.
"We’ve all been working harder to improve our skills and hope to have them pay off in the long run. I loved this season."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.