BELDING — For the second year in a row, Belding has a conference champion in girls bowling.
The Redskin girls dominated the rest of the O-K Blue Conference at Hillcrest Lanes Saturday, winning the post-conference tournament with a 2,969 team score. That was over 300 pins more than Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern.
“The girls, they came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and just did not falter one bit,” Belding coach Ernie Cox said. “They were determined to not let anybody get by them.”
The Redskin girls were led by Madelyn Laux, who shot a 549 series in the individual games. That was the best series amongst girls at the tournament.
“She (Laux) was determined coming in here,” Cox said. “She had been keeping a close eye on average in the conference and she had slipped coming into today down to third. She was determined to finish second or take the top spot from Miranda Dyer from Belding. She did not give up one bit.”
Also among the top 10 were Dyer with a 482 and Mercedes Settlemyer with a 449 series. All three, along with Erin Robach, were all-conference first team.
But it was the honorable mention girl for Belding that caught Cox’s eye.
“Sarah Thompsen, another freshman, she stepped it up in the later part of the individual games and propelled herself into the top 15 for all-conference honorable mention,” he said. “She stepped up big.”
The Redskin boys shot the best team score of the day, shooting a 4,118 for the only team to break 4,000 pins. Grand Rapids West Catholic was second at 3,788 and Sparta took third with a 3,394 pinfall.
The large gap between Belding and West Catholic wasn’t enough to give the Redskins the conference title, falling behind the Falcons there.
“We needed come help from a couple other schools to put West Catholic down in the finishing order (Saturday) to take the conference title outright from West Catholic,” Cox said. “I don’t like to have to rely on other areas for us to win. I’d like for our boys to take it outright.”
Still, Cox was ecstatic about the team.
“They bowled fabulous. They did a superior job shooting what they shot (Saturday),” he said.
The top four individual series were all Belding bowlers, led by Cody Christensen with a 688.
“Cody is one of my seniors on the boys team,” Cox said. “I told Cody at the beginning of the day to basically stay focused, relax, stay in his zone and bowl. I knew if he did he would do well.”
Nick Hall shot a 671 for second overall, followed by Cody Zahm and Donte Robinson with a 650 each. Jacob Spencer also made the top 10 with a 603 series.
The next stop for Belding is the regional tournament next Saturday at Park Center Lanes in Grand Rapids.
“If our kids can go in and stay focused and play their style of bowling, then I feel we should do very well next week,” he said. “I just want the kids to prove they can go out and do what needs to be done.”