Published March 5, 2014
Chippewa bowlers participate in state finals
STERLING HEIGHTS — In their first-ever trip to the state finals, the Chippewa Valley boys bowling team took 11th place out of 18 teams at the MHSAA team state finals held at Sunnybrook Lanes on Feb. 28.
The Big Reds fell 101 pins short of making the qualifying cut for the quarterfinal round by collecting 3,358 total pins in the eight baker, two individual game format. Chippewa averaged 210 pins per baker game.
“We fought our way through baker games, and it was a full team effort the whole way. I was very impressed,” Chippewa coach Chuck Schultz said. “We got through the first set of regular games; everybody was making spares, and lane conditions didn’t change too much. But it’s a very young team we have, and there was a little bit of nerves (at the end).”
Despite not making it to the quarterfinals, Schultz was very pleased with the way his team improved throughout the season to get Chippewa to the state finals.
“They made leaps and bounds. We went 4-8 in the division, and I haven’t lost a division in five years. For us to get crushed, that was hard to take. I just like to see the kids mature. I love what I see everywhere; their passion for the game excites me, and it’s probably what keeps me coaching,” Schultz said.
Senior captain Hunter Ioppolo will be the lone bowler departing Chippewa after this season, and Schultz explained that the void left by him will be very difficult for his team of sophomores to fill.
“I’m going to miss him so much — that kid is a rock. I can’t say enough about him. He was the rock of this team and just an absolute great kid,” Schultz said. “He’s the best captain I’ve ever had, hands down.”
Since Chippewa will be returning all but one bowler from this year’s team, Schultz was very excited about the prospects of having even more success next season.
“I’ve got an anchor, fourth and third bowler coming back next year, and they’re going to rock the house. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about these kids. ... We have a stud team coming back next year that got a little state final experience this year. There’s nowhere but up to go from here,” Schultz said.
Chippewa was the top boys team out of Macomb County participants in the state finals. Chippewa placed ahead of Sterling Heights Stevenson (16th place) and Macomb Dakota (17th) after finishing behind those two teams in the MAC Red regular season.
“It’s brutal in that division. Anybody can beat anybody on a given day. There’s never a day when Stevenson or Dakota isn’t a good team,” Schultz said. “I feel like we accomplished a lot today. We maybe proved to some of our division mates that maybe we have something coming down the road.”
The other members of the Chippewa bowling team this year were Jon Zatorski, Phil Van Asshe, Nick Thrush, Nick Guillemette, Jadin Majewski and Kris Nouhan.
On the girls side, Chippewa senior Jennifer Kelly finished in 22nd place out of 60 participants in the individual state tournament. Kelly collected 1,197 total pins in her six-game qualifying block that included a 238 in the second game.