Jared Berger needed a strong finish to make Badin High School boys bowling history Thursday.
Of course, it was time to break out the socks.
The senior rolled a 258 in his final game at the Division II district tournament at Beaver-Vu Bowl, and it was good enough to earn a spot in next week’s state tourney.
“I was looking back (heading into the third game) and seeing guys dropping some big numbers, and I actually rolled up my pant legs with some fun socks,” said Berger, who had a 206-199-258—663 series to place third in the individual standings.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Badin surging into D-II sectional
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“I decided to wear some Old Spice socks today to bring a little swag and confidence into it. I loosened up and found my mark and stayed there. I got a little lucky in a couple turns, but I found the mark and stayed there.”
Berger is the first Ram to qualify for the boys state tournament since the Ohio High School Athletic Association began sanctioning the sport in 2006-07.
Badin senior Stephanie O’Neil qualified on the girls side with a 174-185-203—562 series, making her the third BHS girl to advance to state — Hannah Morris (2011-12 and 2012-13) and Alyssa Marshall (2008-09) both qualified when the tournament was just one division.
“Honestly … I felt like I was going to faint,” O’Neil said of learning she was a state qualifier. “I’m just mainly speechless. I have to thank my coaches for helping me to get to where I am today. I have to thank my parents for always supporting me. There’s no other words I can say.”
Versailles took the girls team title and will be joined at state by St. Paris Graham, Springfield Northwestern and Bellefontaine Benjamin Logan. Badin placed sixth, 189 pins short of the last qualifying squad.
Claire Stiens finished 21st for the Rams with a 202-179-147—528 series, while teammate Carly Fields was 27th at 169-184-167—520.
“The girls have bowled well all year,” said Becky Miller, who shares Badin coaching duties with Rikki Bell. “They went to sectionals and killed it (finishing second at Colerain Bowl), and they did really well for themselves today. There’s just a lot more competition up here.
“And we’ve got a state qualifier. Stephanie threw the ball nice, and she made her spares. That’s all you can ask for.”
O’Neil was eighth in the individual standings and one of four state qualifiers not on advancing teams. She’ll bowl in the D-II state girls tournament March 3 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus.
“Coach Becky was telling me that it’s much easier up at state and districts is very hard to get past,” O’Neil said. “Hopefully it all comes down and I won’t have a panic attack or won’t faint (at state), but I know when I get back to school, they’ll all support me either way.”
She’s a longtime bowler who did step away from the sport for a time while at Badin.
“Freshman year I wasn’t really wanting to do bowling because I didn’t really like it during grade school,” O’Neil said. “I tried volleyball and I didn’t like that, so I was like, ‘I’ll just get back into bowling.’ I got back into it, and I really enjoy every minute of it.”
Berger, one of three individuals headed for the D-II state boys event March 2 in Columbus, traveled a somewhat different path. He didn’t start bowling competitively until his sophomore year.
“I came in to kind of cover the winter season since baseball’s coming around,” Berger said. “I loved it, and it just took off from there. I would thank my mentors and my coaches for that.”
His initial reaction to qualifying for state? “A grin ear to ear,” Berger said.
The Ram boys were runners-up in last week’s sectional at Colerain Bowl and took 11th place in the district. Champion Graham, second-place Mechanicsburg and No. 3 Urbana garnered state team berths.
Badin’s Mark Brugger finished 42nd with a 205-160-201—566 series.
“I’m super proud of the boys,” Bell said. “We didn’t think they were going to make it past sectionals, and they killed it in sectionals and made it to district. Now we have a kid going to state, and that’s awesome. Jared definitely saw where we needed to do better and stepped his game up for everybody today.”
Cincinnati Christian had boys and girls teams at the district event, with the boys finishing 16th and the girls 12th. The Cougars were led by Tyler Parker (48th, 164-210-180—554) and Cheyenne Wilson (15th, 191-153-201—545), respectively.
“Really, we bowled who we were and a little better in some spots,” CCS coach Ken Peters said. “We’re still waiting on our first state qualifier. We’ve had a couple girls within 20 pins a few years, but we just haven’t gotten to that threshold yet.”
Both Cougar teams are becoming regulars at the district level. The girls captured their first sectional championship last week at Colerain Bowl.
“We came from a 103-pin deficit going into the Bakers and won by about 120,” Peters said. “That’s the first time we’ve ever even had a chance to get first in the sectionals, and the girls had a great time doing it.
“We’ve built our program because we get freshmen to bowl. We had 29 kids this year out of a school with maybe 280 in the high school, so I had 10 percent of the high school bowling. Now we’re going to start working on a middle-school program.”
Middletown Christian placed eighth in the boys standings and was paced by Levi McClurkin, who was 21st with a 183-223-204—610 series.
Fenwick’s Kevin Gaston was 51st (152-184-207—543) in the boys event. On the girls side, Middletown Christian’s Beau Pangard (141-157-146—444) and Kate Byrum (137-142-123—402) were 59th and 72nd, respectively, and Fenwick’s Madison Lankheit was 68th (111-161-140—412).
Top 3 Teams And Individuals Advance To State
1. St. Paris Graham 4,182 pins (3,037 regulation, 1,145 Baker games)
2. Mechanicsburg 4,133 pins (3,017 regulation, 1,116 Baker games)
3. Urbana 4,046 pins (2,793 regulation, 1,253 Baker games)
4. Springfield Northeastern 4,044 pins (2,881 regulation, 1,163 Baker games)
5. Springfield Shawnee 3,989 pins (2,928 regulation, 1,061 Baker games)
5. Springfield Northwestern 3,989 pins (2,872 regulation, 1,117 Baker games)
7. Taylor 3,812 pins (2,687 regulation, 1,125 Baker games)
8. Middletown Christian 3,768 pins (2,815 regulation, 953 Baker games)
9. Fort Loramie 3,737 pins (2,722 regulation, 1,015 Baker games)
10. Clinton-Massie 3,708 pins (2,800 regulation, 908 Baker games)
11. Badin 3,696 pins (2,670 regulation, 1,026 Baker games)
12. Alter 3,619 pins (2,645 regulation, 974 Baker games)
13. Deer Park 3,592 pins (2,700 regulation, 892 Baker games)
14. Roger Bacon 3,582 pins (2,580 regulation, 1,002 Baker games)
15. Seven Hills 3,487 pins (2,493 regulation, 994 Baker games)
16. Cincinnati Christian 3,456 pins (2,608 regulation, 848 Baker games)
Top 5 Individuals
1. Caleb Westfall (Mechanicsburg) 258-236-225—719; 2. Jake Calhoun (Springfield Northeastern) 266-226-180—672; 3. Jared Berger (Badin) 206-199-258—663; 4. Nate Fowler (Springfield Shawnee) 205-279-175—659; 5. Trevor Boger (Bellefontaine Benjamin Logan) 205-296-156—657
Individual State Qualifiers
2. Jake Calhoun (Springfield Northeastern) 266-226-180—672; 3. Jared Berger (Badin) 206-199-258—663; 4. Nate Fowler (Springfield Shawnee) 205-279-175—659
Middletown Christian: 21. Levi McClurkin 183-223-204—610; 24. Sam Rote 205-185-216—606; 61. Josh Swartz 164-191-172—527; 65. Sam Kobert 170-170-178—518
Badin: 3. Jared Berger 206-199-258—663; 42. Mark Brugger 205-160-201—566; 64. Nick Young 178-154-191—523; 83. Dallas Krause 144-135-171—450; 92. Robert Paxton 175-149—324; 103. Adam Norris 144
Cincinnati Christian: 48. Tyler Parker 164-210-189—554; 59. Collin Fritz 192-157-183—532; 66. Hayden Steele 151-203-161—515; 69. Conner Slattery 212-145-150—507; 70. Mike Yost 144-191-165—500
Fenwick: 51. Kevin Gaston 152-184-207—543
Top 4 Teams And Individuals Advance To State
1. Versailles 4,061 pins (2,919 regulation, 1,142 Baker games)
2. St. Paris Graham 3,836 pins (2,748 regulation, 1,088 Baker games)
3. Springfield Northwestern 3,646 pins (2,627 regulation, 1,019 Baker games)
4. Bellefontaine Benjamin Logan 3,627 pins (2,597 regulation, 1,030 Baker games)
5. Greenon 3,559 pins (2,499 regulation, 1,060 Baker games)
6. Badin 3,438 pins (2,472 regulation, 966 Baker games)
7. Mechanicsburg 3,425 pins (2,401 regulation, 1,024 Baker games)
8. Alter 3,283 pins (2,320 regulation, 963 Baker games)
9. Russia 3,278 pins (2,351 regulation, 927 Baker games)
10. Urbana 3,267 pins (2,342 regulation, 925 Baker games)
11. Seven Hills 3,182 pins (2,276 regulation, 906 Baker games)
12. Cincinnati Christian 3,166 pins (2,346 regulation, 820 Baker games)
13. Roger Bacon 2,948 pins (2,151 regulation, 797 Baker games)
14. Reading 2,901 pins (2,065 regulation, 836 Baker games)
15. Batavia 2,894 pins (2,171 regulation, 723 Baker games)
16. Deer Park 2,539 pins (1,804 regulation, 735 Baker games)
Top 5 Individuals
1. Morgan Heitkamp (Versailles) 222-195-246—663; 2. Kaitlyn Van Hoose (St. Paris Graham) 211-224-193—628; 3. Haddi Treon (Versailles) 267-190-169—626; 4. Audrey Wilson (Seven Hills) 185-233-189—607; 5. Sarah Stagner (St. Paris Graham) 202-195-204—601
Individual State Qualifiers
4. Audrey Wilson (Seven Hills) 185-233-189—607; 8. Stephanie O’Neil (Badin) 174-185-203—562; 9. Makenzie Gossett (Greenon) 180-159-218—557; 11. Jordan Rucker (Springfield Kenton Ridge) 142-189-224—555
Badin: 8. Stephanie O’Neil 174-185-203—562; 21. Claire Stiens 202-179-147—528; 27. Carly Fields 169-184-167—520; 64. Julia Hoevel 143-152-141—436; 91. Lindsay Bucalo 156; 97. Lindsie Ohl 134
Cincinnati Christian: 15. Cheyenne Wilson 191-153-201—545; 55. Maddie Porter 137-158-160—455; 60. Lindsey Carney 163-147-130—440; 82. Ashley Veldkamp 180-140—320; 84. Crystal Wilson 122-185—307; 86. Talia Heater 154-125—279
Middletown Christian: 59. Beau Pangard 141-157-146—444; 72. Kate Byrum 137-142-123—402
Fenwick: 68. Madison Lankheit 111-161-140—412