BY DAN STICKRADT
Bowling talent state wide has increased drastically since the MHSAA adopted the sport in 2004.
The number of individual players and the number of schools sponsoring continue to grow, according to the MHSAA. That’s why it’s quite understandable that postseason honors are more difficult to earn for quality bowlers than just a few short years ago.
On the 2012 All-North Oakland Area Girls Bowling Team, there are far more deserving honorees than even last year, and that doesn’t even include North Oakland Sports’ growth into more communities in Oakland County.
This season there were two local teams that garnered top-10 rankings in the regular season and several teams and individuals that qualified for one of the four divisions for the state finals.
The cream of the crop can be found here on the first team, selected by NOS staff in conjunction with area coaches. Below are the profiles of the first-team members and Coach of the Year:
HEATHER LAFNEAR, Oxford: Perhaps the most talented and consistent bowler to play for Oxford in its first nine years, Lafnear earned All-State First Team honors in Division 1 this season. Also named to the All-OAA Red Division First Team and Oakland County squad, Lafnear had the second highest series (379) and highest individual game (208) at the OAA Super Meet. She was second at the Five Star Lanes regional (1,173), 24that the Oakland County Championships (546) and had the highest individual score in qualifying block at the Division 1 state finals (1,163). In match play, she lost in the state quarterfinals to New Baltimore Anchor Bay’s Kelsey Faber (384-349). She also posted the highest average in the OAA Red Division (198) this season.
KATE GLADSTONE, Lake Orion: After finishing as the state runner-up as a junior, Gladstone had an off day at the state finals this season, finishing 46th in the qualifying block (977) and failed to advance to match play. That didn’t overshadow a fine season and career for the Dragons’ No. 1 bowler. The All-OAA Red Division First Team honoree had the third highest series (370) at the OAA Super Meet and sixth highest individual game (189). She was also regional champion at Drakeshire Lanes (1,138), placed second at the county (683) with the third highest individual game score (246) that day. Gladstone averaged 182 in OAA play.
STEPHANIE LAVELY, Clarkston: In her four years on varsity, Lavely put together quality numbers and earned a repeat slot on the All-Area First Team as a senior. Lavely posted the 16th highest score (312) at the OAA Super Meet with the ninth highest individual game (182). She was sixth at the Drakeshire Lanes regional (1,077) and fifth at the county meet (641) with the sixth highest individual game (236). Lavely, who posted a 194 average in the OAA, finished 39th at the Division 1 state finals (997).
MACKENZIE WALZ, Holly: A four-year varsity starter, Walz became the Bronchos’ second all-time individual state qualifier this season in Division 2. She led Holly to three top-five finishes at the county meet in her career and despite a minor injury that affected her play during the dual meet season, she led the Bronchos to the Flint Metro League runner-up spot behind only eventual state champion Flint Kearsley. Walz, who graduates with the highest career average in school history (170), was 10th at the FML meet, 10th at the D-2 regional (1,000), 50th at the county, 11th at the Davison Doubles and capped the year 41st at the D-2 state finals.
CASEY BARYLA, Lake Orion: The All-OAA Red Division First Team selection had a fine season which saw her finish eighth at the OAA Super Meet (337), fourth at the Drakeshire Lanes regional (1,051), 15th at the county (584) and 40th at the D-1 state finals (993). She posted a 182 average against OAA opponents.
COURTNEY LEBLANC, Lake Orion: A sophomore, LeBlanc averaged 175 in dual matches to earn a spot on the All-OAA Red Division Second Team. She was 20th at the league meet, 25th at the Drakeshire Lanes regional and 38th at the county meet (471).
ALICIA BABICZ, Lake Orion: This junior was part of a deep and talented team and averaged 175 in league play. Although she placed just 44th at the OAA Super Meet, she did earn All-OAA Red Division Second Team status. She finished 35th at the Drakeshire Lanes regional (948) and 93rd at the county meet (305).
CAILTYN WROBLEWSKI, Oxford: Generally the Wildcats’ No. 3 bowler this season, Wroblewski earned second-team all-league honors with a 172 average in the OAA. She finished up 10th at the OAA Super Meet (331), 13th at the Five Star Lanes regional (1,058) and fifth at the county meet (640) that included the third-highest individual game that day (246).
COLLEEN WALTERS, Oxford: This senior capped her career with a 180 average and a spot on the All-OAA Red Division First Team. She was a distant 46th at the OAA Super Meet but 22nd at the Five Star Lanes regional (1,018) and fourth at the county meet (649).
ERICA NOWAK, Clarkston: Named to the All-OAA Red Division Second Team, Nowak had an off day at the OAA Super Meet by finishing 45th. She still averaged 176 in league play and was 36th at the Drakeshire Lanes regional (966) and 39th at the county meet.
ERICA DAVIES, Holly: Another talented senior in the Bronchos’ lineup, Davies earned All-FML Second Team status this season. She averaged 168 in a tough league, but claimed 13th at a Division 2 regional (987), only a three slots shy of a state qualifying berth, and was ninth overall at the count y (602) with the eighth highest individual score (235).
COACH OF THE YEAR
KEVIN CROWTHER, Lake Orion: Lake Orion’s girls team has consistently been a quality program that past few years and this year’s group had one its best season to date. The Dragons finished 7-1 in duals and were first in the team potion of the OAA Super Meet before reaching the semifinals in head-to-head play. Lake Orion also finished second at the Drakeshire Lanes regional (3,485) and sixth in the qualifying block at the Division 1 state finals. In the head-to-head play at the state meet, the Dragons lost in the state quarterfinals to Walled Lake Central (1,260-1,127).
2012 ALL-NORTH OAKLAND AREA GIRLS BOWLING TEAM
Heather Lafnear Oxford Senior
Kate Gladstone Lake Orion Senior
Stephanie Lavely Clarkston Senior
Mackenzie Walz Holly Senior
Casey Baryla Lake Orion Senior
Courtney LeBlanc Lake Orion Sophomore
Alicia Babicz Lake Orion Junior
Caitlyn Wroblewski Oxford Junior
Colleen Walters Oxford Senior
Erica Nowak Clarkston Senior
Erica Davies Holly Senior
COACH OF THE YEAR
Kevin Crowther Lake Orion Eighth Season
Auburn Hills Oakland Christian: Not available; Clarkston: Gina Setter, fr.; Danielle Hopkins, jr.; Chelsea Turk, fr.; Holly: Shannon Westfal, jr.; Desiree Grige, sr.; Brianna Wilson, sr.; Lake Orion: Kendra Stankiweicz, jr.; Rebecca Mix, jr.; Ortonville Brandon: Mallory Huckabone, sr.; Rachel Gravelodinger, sr.; Oxford: Alex Logan, sr.; Brook Harris, sr.; Troy: Alexis Siegel, sr.; Troy Athens: Alex Nyg-Thieriquy, soph.
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