By Steve Williams
Hardin Valley Academy’s boys and South-Doyle’s girls captured team championships in convincing fashion in the first-ever District 4 bowling tournament Wednesday at Family Bowl.
The Hawks toppled Bearden 21-6 in the finals, while the Lady Cherokees rolled past HVA 20-7.
The addition of three new Knox County schools to the sport within the past two seasons, including South-Doyle, allowed the TSSAA to form the new six-member District 4. Central and L&N STEM Academy joined this season.
“We had to face Bearden and we’re big rivals, so it felt really, really, really good to beat them,” said Matthew Owens, who led Hardin Valley’s veteran squad with games of 233, 240 and 210 for three wins over his opponent in the lineup’s No. 1 position.
Blaine McAmis and Cody Ozias each rolled a 208 game as the Hawks flew to a 13-3 lead in the first two games.
Ozias finished with three wins and Ryan Baker two. Timothy Fortune, freshman Jordan Huber and sub Gabe Anderson chipped in one win each.
South-Doyle’s girls got off to a slow start and led Hardin Valley only 4-3 after the first game before pulling away.
The key to the victory was the bottom three bowlers in the lineup winning eight of nine possible points and also contributing to the total pin fall advantage, which netted an additional three points.
Seniors Regan Riffey, Dakota Brown and Vanessa Del Valle were the No. 4-5-6 bowlers.
South-Doyle freshman Lucy Edwards, the District 4 leader who entered the tourney coming off a sizzling regular season finish, lost her first game but bounced back with the team’s best series (451). Brown posted a 157 for the team’s top game.
Senior Kendall Rollins and freshman Hannah Burnette contributed in the No. 2 and 3 positions, respectively, for the Lady Cherokees.
In the boys’ semifinals, Hardin Valley ousted Central 24-3 behind Owens’ 223 game and 631 series. Huber, No. 6 in the lineup, gave the Hawks a boost with a 221 first game.
Bearden trounced Catholic 22-5 behind Ben Whitaker’s 185 and 183 games and Corey Ramey’s 495 series. The Irishmen’s Austin Humphreys, the District 4 boys’ leader, rolled 230 and 192 in a losing cause.
The girls’ semis saw South-Doyle crush Central 24-3 as Edwards posted a 172 game and 483 series.
Senior Jennifer Kelley had a sparkling 212 game and 584 series as Hardin Valley eliminated Bearden 18.5 to 8.5.
In opening round games Tuesday, Bearden defeated L&N STEM Academy 17-10 and Central knocked out Catholic 20-7 in girls’ action.
Catholic got past L&N 20-7 in boys’ first-round play, while Central edged South-Doyle 15-12.
HELPING HAND: Carroll Rousseau started the bowling program at Hardin Valley in 2014-15. He has retired from teaching but continues to assist head coach Terry Disney, working primarily with the girls’ team.
INDIVIDUALS: Catholic’s Humphreys and HVA’s Owens will represent District 4 in the boys’ state individual tournament Jan. 18 and 19 at Smyrna Bowling Center.
Humphreys (213.09) and Owens (209.16) have the state’s No. 14 and No. 17 best averages, respectively.
South-Doyle’s Edwards and HVA’s Kelley are the District 4 girls’ state qualifiers.
STATE BOUND: Webb School’s girls (11-4) have qualified for the Division II state tourney and will go against Pope John Paul (9-3) in first-round action Friday in Smyrna.
STATE TRIPS: Knoxville Catholic, Knox County’s oldest bowling participant, has had two boys’ teams (2008 and 2012) and one girls’ team (2010) advance to the state tournament under Coach Peggy Settlemyer.