AUSTINTOWN — Wadsworth boys bowling coach George Steele called his shot long before the season began. After what happened Sunday, the veteran coach might want to become a prognosticator.
The Grizzlies headed to the Northeast Division I District and earned their first trip to the state tournament by beating everyone in the 18-team field at Wedgewood Lanes.
Wadsworth rolled by runner-up Austintown-Fitch by 109 pins, while Brunswick’s Nate Barbopoulos will join the Grizzlies at Wayne’s Webb Columbus Bowl on March 9.
“What I saw was the skill they had was there and it’s been there,” Steele said. “The mental game wasn’t quite there last year, but I knew it was developing. I had a strong feeling if they went through the season stronger mentally, we would be one of the contending teams for a state championship.”
Winning arguably the toughest district in the state after winning arguably the toughest sectional last week, the Grizzlies are burning up the lanes.
Cooper Wrobel 688 (240-221-227), Chris Steele 616 (233-212-171), Austin Wrobel 557 (180-212-165), Eric Auffenberg 537 (192-162-183) and Randall Clark 459 (166-142, 151) blitzed the field by beating Fitch on its home lanes.
“When we walk out on the lanes, not only do I think we have to go one or two of these guys stringing, I know it’s going to come from all around,” George Steele said. “Even Randall, he’s been down the last couple weeks. He’s been coming around. We just have to get the spare shooting back. I think the two-week gap between now and state will fix it, and we’ll have all five throwing at the top of their game at the right time.”
Cooper Wrobel’s game has been unbelievable this season. Averaging 207.20 coming into district, the junior has rolled the highest tournament score in two straight weeks.
“It’s having the right frame of mind when you go into a tournament,” he said. “You have to be confident, but you can’t be overconfident or you’ll put yourself under.
“You know you go out there and execute every shot. You can make the right move or shot and know it’ll strike.”
For Brunswick, Sunday was bittersweet. While the Blue Devils were happy Barbopoulos 599 (190-214-195) advanced to the state tournament individually, they missed qualifying as a team by 11 pins.
Kyle Barbopoulos 535 (175-167-193), Jordan Gerda 535 (206-155-174) and Hunter Terry 503 (139-185-179) rolled strong but needed one more solid frame.
“I can’t really explain it,” Nate Barbopoulos said. “I’m bummed that our team didn’t make it because I was the anchor in the Baker Games. I was bowling the 10th frame. I couldn’t have gotten a spare because I opened in the 10th frame of the last Baker and that would have made it. I also bowled a 599 and left a bunch of easy spares, but so did the rest of the team. There’s a lot of teams that could have gone differently to help us go to state. I’m excited to go as an individual, but I don’t know. I’m a little mixed.”
Cloverleaf’s Brandon Komlosi (524, 157-192-175) and Matthew Harvey (515, 154-179-182) did not advance.
Northeast Division II District
AUSTINTOWN — Black River’s Shianne Wacker (538, 192-166-180) and Lillie Wacker (484, 145-154-185) rolled well at Wedgewood Lanes but couldn’t advance as individuals.
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
AUSTINTOWN — Results Sunday from the Northeast Division I District held at Wedgewood Lanes.
Team standings (Top 5 advance to state tournament): 1. Wadsworth 3,938, 2. Austintown Fitch 3,829, 3. Tallmadge 3,821, 4. Walsh Jesuit 3,794, 5. Stow 3,761, 6. Brunswick 3,750, 6. GlenOak 3,670, 8. Elyria 3,654, 9. Mentor 3,648, 10. Berea-Midpark 3,632, 11. Cuyahoga Falls 3,624, 12. Perry 3,558, 13. Garfield Heights 3,551, 14. Canton McKinley 3,520, 15. North Olmsted 3,511, 16. Nordonia 3,435, 17. Eastlake North 3,318, 18. North Ridgeville 3,276.
Individual qualifiers: Jalen Look (EN) 646, Kaleb East 623, Andrew Fraleigh (CM) 613, Ben Burkey (Boa) 610, Nate Barbopoulos (Bru) 599
Wadsworth (3,938): Cooper Wrobel 688 (240-221-227), Chris Steele 616 (233-212-171), Austin Wrobel 557 (180-212-165), Eric Auffenberg 537 (192-162-183), Randall Clark 459 (166-142, 151)
Brunswick (3,750): Nate Barbopoulos 599 (190-214-195), Kyle Barbopoulos 535 (175-167-193), Jordan Gerda 535 (206-155-174), Hunter Terry 503 (139-185-179)