• Chase Elkins' run through the MHSAA Finals, as shared by Coach Tres Smith
    Just wanted to let everyone know what took place on Saturday at the bowling state finals, where the top 60 bowlers from across the state in division 4 gathered on both the boys and girls sides.
    Chase started the day on the pair with 5 other bowlers that also finished 4th at their respective regions and it took a few frames of the first game for Chase to settle into the rhythm of the day. He started the day with a game of 206 which put him in position to start the day inside the top 16, which is the cut line for moving on to the second phase of the day. It was in the next game that he took off and never looked back as he shot a game of 240, which he followed with another game over 200 and his low game of qualifying at 203. This gave him 649 series for the first 3 games and landed him in first place.
    It was in the next game that Chase put the hammer down on the rest of the field by shooting a fine game of 257. It was after this game that Chase was now 60 pins clear of the next closest bowler. In the next two games Chase kept up his fine bowling of the morning with games of 221 and 219, this gave him a series of 697 for his last three games. Chase did not know his total of 1346 (224 average) was going to be good enough for 1st place and high qualifier until about 20 minutes later. When the final totals were announced Chase was the high qualifier at the division 4 state finals.
    After lunch the second part of the finals started with match play, which consists of 2 full games for total pins. Now a bracket is set up with 1 bowling 16 and so forth for match play, Chase continued his torrid pace by taking down his first round opponent 482 to 318 on games of 218 and 264. In the next round Chase now faced one the bowlers that he crossed with in the morning from Sandusky. Both bowlers lite up the scoreboard in the first of the two games with Chase coming out on top 266 to 254.

    In the next game the scores were not so high but the drama was. Chase trailed going into the 9th frame, when the bowler from Sandusky left a big 5 count split and only managed to get 2 more of the pins on the fill ball. This left door open for Chase to step up in the 9th and 10th frames and roll 3 strikes and a final 9 count to shoot a game of 203, but it forced his opponent to get a double in the 10th frame. The bowler from Sandusky stepped up and rolled a good shot, but the ball was just a little high and 1 pin just stood there. He made the spare and got another 9 count to finish with a 207 game but Chase won the match 469 to 461.

    In the next round Chase faced another bowler from his morning pair and his name was also Chase, he was from Beaverton. After both bowlers had now bowled 10 games each to get to this point their first game was not their best. Our Chase had his first game of the day that was under 200 as he beat the other Chase 178 to 165. In the next game they both found their groove and the strikes started coming fast and furious. Our Chase once again found himself needing to stike out from 7th frame on to shoot a game of 235, but the other Chase was matching him strike for strike finishing with a 242 game. For the second match in a row Chase lost the second game but won the match 412 to 407.
    Now we have come to the end as this final match will decide the boys state champion for D4. He was facing the winner of our regional, who is a student at Bronson and 2nd place finisher from the morning qualifying. The lanes oil started to breakdown and Chase lost the nice look at the pocket that he had all day. The bowler from Bronson was rolling the ball from the far inside of the lane and got a couple of good breaks that kept his string of strikes going. Chase meanwhile finally missed a couple of easy spares and could not get enough strikes to make up for them, he lost the first game 186 to 238. The second game Chase was still not able to make many strikes, but he filled the frames and ended with a game of 191. Once again the bowler from Bronson was able to make a few more strikes and finished with a game of 215. For the first time of the day someone was able to out preform Chase 377 to 453.

    Chase came up just short in his bid to become an individual state champion, but he will always be in the record books as the runner-up, which is quite the accomplishment. Chase has had a lot of firsts for our program during his 4 years, so he will always be a part of our program's history.
    In conclusion, the day turned out to be way more than any of us who were there could have imagined when we walked through the doors that morning. Congratulations Chase for giving us a day that we will never forget.