Joseph, High advance to State Bowling

By on March 7, 2012

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Photo by Stan Hall
Warwick bowlers (left to right) Johanna Joseph, Kelsey Snavely, Bryanna Nihoff, Brianna Weaver and Brandi Whitmyer placed ninth in the girls team division last Saturday at the Eastern PA Regional Championships. Joseph qualified for States in Friday's singles competition.

Up until last weekend’s Eastern PA Regional Bowling Tournament, Warwick’s Johanna Joseph had never advanced into a singles championship round in her high school career.

Some of that was just bad luck.

Last Friday at Dutch Lanes, however, the Warwick senior picked an excellent time to achieve that feat.

With a five-game qualifying round score of 1042, including a high of 257, Joseph clinched the 12th and final spot to the PA State Singles Championships, set for next Friday, March 16 at North Versailles Bowl in Pittsburgh.

Like Joseph, Manheim Central junior Aerika High also punched her first-ever ticket to States, placing eighth in the qualifying round with a score of 1087.

Both girls moved on to the bracket finals as well, giving them an opportunity to compete for the Regional crown. Unfortunately, though, High and Joseph were eliminated in the opening-round quad matches after bowling 169 and 194, respectively.

Still, Warwick coach Bill Bernstein and Manheim Central skipper Chuck Ruhl were pleased with how Joseph and High bowled. Joseph, who was 67th last year with an 858, placed two pins ahead of Governor Mifflin’s Alyssa Wharton (1040) for 12th place.

"To be honest, I’ve kinda been waiting for it all year," Bernstein said. "Over the last three years that I’ve coached, (Johanna)’s had a lot of really big games, but she’s never put all those big games together at the same time. And Friday, she had that one really big game and then she just had four other games that were consistent. She carried a couple of pins on the last couple of shots and it ended up rolling her way."

High, too, was a model of consistency. She rolled two games of 225, in addition to a 223, 218 and 196.

"I thought (Aerika) did very well," Ruhl said. "Obviously, her scores were really good and they were really consistent … She was pretty confident in what she needed to do to qualify this year."

The past two years, High was 16th as a freshman with a 938 and 20th as a sophomore with a 967.

"She just came a little short making States the last two years," Ruhl said. "Now this year, she put it all together and made it to States."

Warwick’s Bryanna Nihoff, a senior, and Brandi Whitmyer, a sophomore, were on the bubble but fell a little bit short in the qualifying round. Nihoff finished 16th with a score of 1019, while Whitmyer was 20th with a 1004.

"(Bryanna and Brandi) both bowled really well," Bernstein said. "I think they both had one game that kinda hurt them in the middle. But other than that, they bowled well. To be honest, going into that last game, I knew all three of them were going to be close to getting in. If they all had really big games. they all had a legitimate chance to make the top 12. Bryanna and Brandi just fell a little bit short, but they still had really good finishes."

In the opening-round quad match, Joseph and High competed in the same group of four in which Governor Mifflin’s fifth-seeded Lauren Stamm advanced with a 234. Stamm ended up reaching the championship match, where she dropped a hard-fought decision to second-seeded Shelby Derr of Shikellamy.

"(Johanna) threw some really good balls and ended up with two pocket splits, and she’s the kind of girl that, she’s got such a great attitude that she knew it was just one of those unlucky things," Bernstein said.

Senior Brianna Weaver rounded out Warwick’s list of girls finishers, placing 44th with a score of 944, and junior Zack Adams took 65th place in the boys division with a 943 at Leisure Lanes. Manheim Central’s Ronnie Kingsboro also competed at Leisure Lanes and placed 62nd with a score of 945.

Looking ahead to States, Bernstein believes Joseph has the ability to finish in the top five.

"Once you’re there, you’re bowling the absolute best girls in the State," Bernstein said. "And she just has to understand that there’s a reason she’s there. She bowled her way in, she deserves to be there … I think getting into the top 10 for her would be a really good feat. But I know she’s got the ability to crack the top five. She’s a good bowler. She knows what she’s doing, she’s got the ability to do it, and once she gets in the top five, anything can happen once you get to the stepladder finals."

Ruhl echoed those feelings for High.

"I think she could finish in the top five," Ruhl said. "That’s just how I feel. I think she’s (really focused to do it) this year. Not saying that she couldn’t win it, but I think that she could at least finish in the top five for the first year out there at States."

In the Regional team competition on Saturday, Joseph (594), Weaver (558), Nihoff (534), Kelsey Snavely (531) and Whitmyer (450) combined for a score of 2667 in three games, and then Warwick rolled scores of 503 and 543 in two baker sets for a total of 3713.

But the Warwick girls finished ninth, which was three spots behind the cutoff to advance. Schuylkill Valley was sixth with a score of 3893.

"We managed to finish ninth in the Region, so that’s something to be proud of," Bernstein said. "The girls can take that away even though I know they weren’t happy with it. I think they really came in with high hopes of making States, and to get in the top six is not easy, but it was definitely manageable. We just let it slip away."

Manheim Central, meanwhile, competed in the Regional team competition for the first-time ever, placing ninth in the boys division with a score of 4077. That left them just 35 pins shy of Archbishop Ryan (4112) for the sixth and final spot to advance.

Ryan Alcala (635), Landon Brenize (620), Kingsboro (613) and High (599) each bowled three games, and Ethan Crills and Darren Fjeldsted combined for a 506, as the Barons finished with 2973 pins in the opening round. Then they bowled two baker set scores of 539 and 565 to finish with a total of 4077.

"We were just 40 pins out of qualifying for States, so I thought we really did well as a team," Ruhl said. "For a first-year team getting to the playoffs, they didn’t let any kind of pressure or anything bother them." More BOWLING, page B-6

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