For Nordonia senior Tyler Juriga, his high school bowling career ended on a high noted Friday at the Division I state bowling tournament.
For the rest of the Knights, it was a case of so close, yet so far away.
Nordonia finished 12th in team qualifying at the state tournament with 3,314 pins and did not qualify for the championship rounds Friday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowls. The Knights finished 76 pins behind Mentor and Gahanna Lincoln, who tied for seventh in qualifying with 3,390 pins.
Sydney ended up winning the Division I boys state tournament, as it won the title match 3-0 over top-seeded Centerville.
Nordonia coach Ty Lachowski noted the Knights lost momentum in the Baker games.
"We had a rough third game as well," Lachowski said "But I will tell you that’s one heck of a team. They tried their hardest the whole time.
"It was just bowling. The oil pattern was the same," he added. "We just struggled on that one pair of lanes. I don’t think we were the only ones struggling. We missed the cut by 76 pins. If we get lucky, we’re right there."
Individually, Juriga was able to claim second-team All-Ohio honors by finishing sixth with three-game score of 691 pins. Juriga rolled games of 267, 188 and 236 to earn his spot.
"He bowled well," Lachowski said. "He was on his game."
Wadsworth’s Chris Steele won the Division I boys individual crown with a 716 series (257-191-268).
In the qualifying rounds, Nordonia opened with a 973 in game one, followed by 936 in game two and an 878 in game three.
With a score of 2,793, the Knights were alive in the team race, as they sat just 30 pins behind St. Mary’s Memorial for the final qualifying spot.
However, the three-game Baker series proved to be the Knights’ undoing. Nordonia rolled a 521 series (181-168-174), which was fourth-worst in the 16-team tournament.
Behind Juriga, the Knights struggled a bit in Columbus.
Senior Lenny Bunsey and sophomore Kyle Drazil tied for 67th at states, as each rolled a 528 series score. Bunsey rolled games of 189, 201, and 138, while Drazil rolled games of 183, 180 and 165 two weeks after winning the Northeast district title.
Senior Zach Westbrooks rolled games of 214 and 166 for the Knights, while senior Spencer Stehlik endured one of the toughest days of his season, rolling games of 169 and 153. Senior Charlie Bzdafka added a game of 171 for the Knights.
"Some days are better than others," Lachowski said.
Juriga, Westbrooks, Bunsey, Stehlik, Bzdafka and Aidan McFerren all graduate this spring for the Knights. Lachowski noted his senior left a major impact on the program.
"What a great group of kids they have been," Lachowski said. "These younger kids have learned a lot from them."
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO