(12-3-17) It was a big day for Celina and Mercer County in the boys Ohio HS Bowling State Invitational Kick-Off.
Celina would pick up the 30 team championship by beating St. Henry in the Championship Round Finals Match 762 (190-165-177-230) to 700 (186-136-190-188).
Celina was led by All-Tournament Selections Cole Cisco who had a tournament high-series of 675 (277, 211, 237) and Nathan Langenkamp (247, 169, 197) who had a 613 series. Just missing the All-Tournament team was St. Henry’s Jordan Thomas (197, 187, 215) with a 599 series.
Also making the All-Tournament team was Coldwater’s Jason Wenning (239, 211, 213) with a 663 series, the Cavs finished 11th after the Championship Round.
Celina Varsity Bowling Coach Kieth Kiefer gives some in-depth thoughts on the day –
The 14th Annual Ohio Invitational State “Kick-Off” Tournament is a tournament of the best of the best. Advertised as largest one day Varsity tournaments in the nation; it never disappoints in the talent of teams that go every year. In order to earn a spot in this tournament you must finish in the Top 3 in your conference (or division of your conference) last season. Also, you can earn a bid there by making the District Tournament or advancing the State tournament in the previous season.
Yesterday was a huge motivation for my group of men. Last season we missed our opportunity to go down and participate in the Kick Off Classic, so we definitely wanted to make a big splash this year. Knowing some of our areas best teams along with the state’s best will be there, we knew that everything we did was going to be earned. Teams like Wapakoneta, Coldwater, Versailles, and St. Henry would all be there, along with state champions St. Marys and Westerville Central.
We started the day off strong, rolling 1098 and taking a commanding lead over the pack by 126 pins over 2nd place team Westerville Central. The second game came with a lot of adversity. We struggled to make adjustments as whole team through the first 5 frames; collectively we pulled together finishing game two with a 889 dropping us to 2nd place behind Butler (Vandalia) by 66 pins. In game 3, we continued to battle our way back to the top with our confidence renewed and regained the 1st place spot from Butler rolling a 974 to their 876.
After the conclusion of the bakers, we were the #1 seed heading to match play with Butler in #2.
Cole Cisco finished best on the day with a 675 series to earn the All Tournament Team. Nate Langenkamp finsihed 7th to also earn All Tournament Team with a 613 series.
What was an already a high emotion day was far from over.
We faced #16 Brunswick which may have given us our biggest emotional challenge of the tournament. They jumped on us early winning game 1 of the best of 5. We fought back to a 2 -1 lead only to be crushed by Brunswick in game 4. Now its down to the final game and it wasn’t won easy final being 180-168. It was a great feeling to win but the reality had set in that we needed to get going sooner to avoid another scare.
Match 2 game came with a bit more urgency from our men. We jumped out to a 2-1 lead on Austintown Fitch (Youngstown) ultimately to win in 4 games.
Match 3 was one of the toughest challenges against defending State Champions Westerville Central. Knowing that they are a great program and excellent spare shooting team, we had our work cut out for us. We jumped up 1-0 on them only to have the 2nd game go into a 9th-10th frame Roll-Off. They won the Roll-Off. Series tied 1-1 we went on the defeat them 2 games in a row; final score being 233-226.
The championship match came down to two local teams very familiar with each other from the WOHSBC conference. Celina vs St. Henry. We jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead but St. Henry never gave up they fought back game 3 to win. In game 4, we finished our long day with a 230-188 victory over St. Henry to claim the title of Kick Off Classic Champions.
A day that started so early by leaving at 8am and bowling all from 12pm-9pm, these young men could finally just enjoy what they had earned. The last two matches, they gave everything they had to just finish on top. Parents and grandparents could rejoice with the victory and the team. After receiving the medals the team regained a “second wind” of energy.
As their coach I’m proud of the fight and determination of what these young men did yesterday. Since taking over this program last season I have preached to them that it is always about how you can finish a game that can define you on the lanes and in life. A “never give up” mentality is the culture I’ve tried to teach to them. Match play against Brunswick was a good example; on the brink of elimination we fought through to preserve our chance to win.
We are early in our season still and now a target may be upon us after this great victory; but I feel we can keep working to get even better and meet every challenge we face with a positive outlook like we did yesterday.
Coldwater qualified for the Championship round finishing in 8th out of the 16 qualifiers and 10th in the final round. Celina finished 27th on the day.
The Cavs Lauren Wenning made the All-Tournament team with a Series of 575 (254,188,133).