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Ravenna girls lead the way for West Michigan Conference bowlers at state finals

Nutt and the Bulldogs make it into match play before suffering tough losses.

Freshman Taylor Nutt and Ravenna’s girls bowling team have been at or near the top of the West Michigan scene all season.

Over the weekend at Northway Lanes, Nutt and the Bulldogs proved that they belonged among the top bowlers in the state in Division 4.

On Friday, Ravenna qualified for match play in the MHSAA Division 4 team state finals and lost a heartbreaker to eventual runner-up Bronson in the quarterfinals.

On Saturday, Nutt earned her way into the top 16 in singles state finals action and lost a tough one to eventual state runner-up Lauren Castillo of Memphis.

“Even though she will never admit it, I think the pressure of the season and the expectations that she has for herself played a huge factor in how her season finished,” said Ravenna bowling co-coach Jeff Nutt, who is Taylor’s father.

“The last couple of weeks she has battled a few mechanical issues and a badly blisterecd thumb. It’s been hard to make adjustments because she wasn’t able to practice. She has also struggled a little mentally because she hasn’t been bowling as well as she’s used to.”

In team competition Friday, Ravenna finished in the top eight in the qualifying block to advance to best-of-five match play. The Bulldogs took seventh in qualifying with a total of 2732.

In the quarterfinal, Bronson took the first two Baker games, 153-143 and 164-147, before Ravenna rallied to claim the next two, 185-180 and 165-153. In a decisive fifth game that could have gone either way, Bronson won, 177-160, to advance.

Bronson went on to beat Allen Park Cabrini three games to one in the semifinal, then lost a five-game thriller to Traverse City Christian in the final when the Sabres outshot the Vikings, 191-184, in the decisive game. It was Traverse City Christian’s second state title in four years, while Bronson was seeking its fourth in six years.

Holton’s girls team competed in the state finals Friday and finished 14th in the qualifying block with a total of 2653.

On the boys side, Ravenna and Holton qualified for the team state finals but did not make the top-eight cut. Ravenna was 12th in the qualifying block (2992) and Holton was 16th (2886).

In singles action Saturday, Nutt rolled a six-game total of 1036 in the qualifying block and make it into the top 16 for match play. In the round of 16, she shot 180 and 145 to end up tied with Castillo at 325. The match was decided in a nine-10 frame roll-off, in which Castillo edged Nutt, 58-46.

Castillo advanced to the championship match, where the junior lost to Bad Axe sophomore Jasmyn Ranquist, 366-344.

Other West Michigan Conference bowlers who competed in the qualifying block Satuday included Holton’s EmmaLee Fox (25th, 978) and the Ravenna trio of Zoe Marsman (34th, 947), Kendra Denhof (36th, 938), and Emma Herremans (44th, 905).

In the boys singles qualifying block Saturday, Holton’s Tuff Scott finished 29th (1084), Ravenna’s Josiah Kantola was 32nd (1067), Holton’s Aiden Moore placed 34th (1065), Ravenna’s Caleb Jonas 35th (1061), Holton’s Bo Larabee 45th (1023), and Ravenna’s Matt Anton 46th (1014).

Taylor Nutt and Herremans will return next season for Ravenna, whose future is bright with an influx of talent coming as well. This season, the Bulldogs captured West Michigan Conference, Greater Muskegon Athletic Association, and regional titles.

The experience that Nutt gained in pressure situations should benefit her in the future. She finished the West Michigan Conference season with the highest average in the league, girl or boy.

“Today we superglued her thumb to hold it together and she put that aside as best she could and made it into the top 16,” Jeff Nutt said. “I am so proud of her for what she has accomplished this year as a freshman and hopefully next year she will come back stronger.”


In the Division 3 team state finals Friday at Jax 60 in Jackson, Oakridge’s girls and boys teams both narrowly missed out on qualifying for match play with ninth- and 10th-place finishes in qualifying. The Eagles girls shot 2797 to just miss out on the top eight, while the boys totaled 3204.

In girls singles state finals competition Saturday, Fremont senior Sophia Romine earned her way into match play with a top-16 finish in qualifying (1073). In the quarterfinal, Romine fell to Hillsdale’s Chloe Manifold, 119-114 and 212-174.

Also in girls singles qualifying Saturday, Oakridge’s Breanna Twining finished 46th (917).

In boys singles state finals competition, Orchard View’s Ashton Tjapkes placed 25th (1094) in the qualifying block, Oakridge’s Travis Lewis was 29th (1077), Fremont’s Kaden Johnson finished 31st (1060), Oakridge’s Michael Hruskach Jr. was 37th (1048).

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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