By Dedra Cordle
For the third time in as many years, the Briggs High School girls bowling team competed in the state tournament.
Their first foray, which coach Jim Martiny said was full of wayward nerves and shaky lane legs, netted them a 15th place finish, but gave them a huge helping of confidence to carry them into the following season. In their second outing, they reached the Top Eight where the very best teams across Ohio strive and struggle to survive and advance. Though they placed sixth, it gave them more motivation to reach that elite level for this season.
While competing in their third outing just weeks ago, a few difficult games had them wondering if they would fail in their quest to make it back to the Top Eight. Martiny said he had little doubt at the time that they would.
“I thought they played well enough,” he said.
Senior captain Tori Pappas said she and the team were not as confident.
“That last game before the Baker Games was very bad,” she said with a laugh.
To ramp up the drama to determine which teams have made it to the Top Eight, the announcers at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl announced the participants in order from first to eighth seed. By the time the seventh seed was named – none of which were Briggs High School – Martiny said he started to feel a bit of panic settle in.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” he said.
But when the announcers said Briggs had made it in the eighth slot, the team released a sigh of relief – after some wild cheering, of course – and set out to do their best against the first seeded Beavercreek.
In the beginning, the game went well for Briggs.
“We won the first two games and lost the third by a spare,” said Martiny. But the Battling Beavers came back to win the next two games and secured a victory.
Pappas said though it was very disappointing to lose, she is proud of the way the team played at the state championship and throughout the season.
“We had fun and played as a complete team,” she said.
Though the season may have ended with an outcome they did not enjoy, the day was not entirely filled with sadness. Shortly after the team lost, they learned that their captain was named the Division I State Champion in Girls Bowling.
“I couldn’t believe it and then I saw my dad jumping up and down, crying,” she said.
Martiny said that win was a great accomplishment for Tori, the team, the program and the entire school.
Though the team may be losing Pappas and fellow senior Randi Chalfant to graduation, Martiny said the goal next year would be to make the state championship again for the fourth year in a row. He believes they can do it too. His confidence this time, said Pappas, is well founded.
“They could definitely make it to the states again,” she said.