Mountaineers confident of return to state

CANTON — Iron Mountain claimed the final qualifying spot for the MHSAA Division 2 state team bowling finals and bowed out in the quarterfinals Friday at Super Bowl.

The Mountaineers were among 18 Division 2 teams vying for state honors.

Qualifying started early Friday morning with eight Baker games before the teams bowled two regular games. After qualifying, the top eight teams advanced to bracketed match play.

“We started the Baker games very steady and above average,” said Coach Pete Tomassoni, noting a high game of 213 and a low of 141 for a 183 average in the Baker portion of qualifying. “We were hanging around the eighth place cut line. The boys were as high as third and as low as ninth.”

After the first regular game of 985, IM moved to seventh place.

“After the second and last regular game of 896, I knew we would not move up,” Tomassoni said. “We just had to hope to hang on to the eighth and final spot to advance to the afternoon match play competition.

“I knew if we could get any team one on one we could be competitive.”

Iron Mountain, 1344, beat out Lowell, 3319, for the eighth spot, 1344,

“The entire team breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced,” Tomassoni.

However, that meant Iron Mountain would have to meet No 1 seed Tecumseh in the quarterfinals. The Indians qualified 204 pins ahead of the Mountaineers, averaging 11 pins a game more.

“I told the boys not to get caught up in who we were playing and just stay within ourselves and play our own game,” Tomassoni said. “If we were going to the top, we were going to be playing higher seeds the rest of the way.”

Match play consisted of two Baker games and one regular game. After the two Baker games, the Mountaineers found themselves 42 pins down.

“We had a chance to be a lot closer when Tecumseh threw a second Baker game of 167 and we started with three strikes,” Tomassoni said. “We just couldn’t finish that good start.”

IM got off to a fast start in the regular game, erasing the Baker deficit in the first four frames. Tecumseh then subbed out a couple of struggling players.

“Again we couldn’t get those timely doubles and missed a few spares,” Tomassoni said. “We put the fear of God in them, but just couldn’t close the deal.”

Tecumseh advanced to the semifinals by beating the Mountaineers 1292-1214. Tecumseh lost to eventual state champion Battle Creek Pennfield in the next round.

“With only two seniors, we expect to be back next year,” Tomassoni said. “I am so proud of the boys’ run. They continued to improve every step of the way and every member contributed in one way or another.”

Team members include Ian Driscoll, Lincoln Pettibone, Noah Jacko, Trey Nichols, Zach Hanson, Zach “Spanky” Spera and Bryce Robinson.