By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half
STERLING HEIGHTS – And to think two years ago, Caledonia senior Brittany Schnicke didn’t know if she would ever bowl again.
During her sophomore year, Schnicke had the tips of the middle finger and ring finger on her left bowling hand severed off in an accident suffered during a woodshop class.
“It was on the jointer,” Schnicke said. “I was trying to sand down a piece of wood and I guess the pilot got caught on the guard and my finger slid off.”
Schnicke immediately was taken to the hospital to get her fingers repaired, but understandably was shaken as to when and if she would be able to pick up a bowling ball next.
Ultimately, Schnicke was told by doctors despite two surgeries that she would bowl again, which made Saturday’s MHSAA Division 1 singles tournament the ultimate fairy tale ending.
In the last high school tournament of her career, Schnicke won the individual title, beating Brighton senior Natalie Klein in the championship match, 440-404.
Schnicke, who steadily adapted to a new bowling grip following the accident, stormed back in the second game after falling behind during the first to Klein, 243-206.
“My coach said stay aggressive and stay down, and that’s what I did,” she said. “I came out strong.”
Also coming out strong was Davison senior Dillon McArthur, who won the boys title after finishing as the No. 15 seed out of the qualifying block.
McArthur, who advanced out of the qualifying block two years ago, drew from that experience and rolled to the title, beating Portage Northern senior Brenden Kosanke in the championship match, 418-336.
“I was in that position before and I knew I just had to make my shots,” McArthur said. “Once you qualify, the pins reset and it’s fair game.”
After the qualifying block, McArthur beat Jenison senior Noah Casarez in the Round of 16, 456-385, Hudsonville junior Brendan Bentley in the Quarterfinals, 407-364, and then Macomb Dakota senior Jason Scanlon in the Semifinals, 399-379.
A day after the Davison girls team won its fifth Division 1 title in six years, McArthur was more than happy to bring a banner to the boys side of the Davison program.
“We have to look at them all the time, so finally we get a little bit of bragging rights,” McArthur said.
Kosanke finished as the No. 12 seed out of the qualifying block and started his run with a 406-391 win over junior Trevor Morgan of Kalamazoo Loy Norrix.
In the Quarterfinals, Kosanke beat senior Taran Heersma by a score of 406-402 to set up a Semifinal match with Grand Haven senior Jimmy Mitchell, who was the top seed out of the qualifying block.
Kosanke trailed by 14 pins after the first game, but on the strength of six straight strikes in the final five frames, rallied to earn a 447-441 win over Mitchell.
Schnicke was No. 11 out of the qualifying block in the girls portion and started off the elimination round with a 419-320 win over senior Caity Cox of Flint Carman-Ainsworth.
Schnicke then beat Clarkston freshman Hannah Turk in the Quarterfinals, 378-358, before beating Macomb Dakota senior Hannah Forton in the Semifinals, 412-393.
Klein was the No. 5 seed out of the qualifying block and started her run by beating Carly Scanlon of Macomb Dakota in the Round of 16 by a score of 343-312.
Klein then beat Megan Valentic of Brownstown Woodhaven in the Quarterfinals by a score of 457-372 before knocking off Victoria Giardina of Utica Ford, 399-355.
Giardina in the Quarterfinals upset reigning champion and the No. 1 seed out of the qualifying block, Davison senior Taylor Davis, by a score of 412-394.
PHOTO: Davison senior Dillon McArthur and Caledonia senior Brittany Schnicke.