If you haven't seen or heard yet, The Oxford Wildcat Bowling program had a great weekend. The Varsity Boys made a great run and ended up A finalist in the State Championships. The Girls were fantastic and took a 5th place finish. Then to top of a great weekend, Sr Co-Captain Megan Armbruster ran through the field to Oxfords first ever State Title in singles bowling. The State Finals were in historical Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park. Thunderbowl has hosted bowling's elite for decades and has a stadium bowling arena that is like no other in the country. It was truly a special venue for high school bowlers to compete.
The Boys barely made it out of qualifying finishing 8th. It took a great finish in the last game of qualifying to get into the finals. Once in the finals the boys were electric beating number 1 seed and sixth ranked Westland John Glenn 1272 to 1047. The Wildcats then jumped on Jackson with 2 strong baker games of 226 and 215. Jackson bowled tough and rallied but the Oxford bowlers responded and won the match 1388 to 1350. This is the first time a Oxford Boys team has made the finals. The best finish in the past has been a Semi-finals in 2014. Waiting for Oxford in the finals was OAA friend and foe Farmington Unified. Farmington had blown out Macomb L'Anse Creuse North, and Salem to advance to the title match. In the title match Farmington exploded out of the gate with 5 strikes and never looked back. The Wildcats fought to the end but would not have enough to overcome the experience and skill of Farmington's boys.
"This group of sophomores and Juniors are all coming back next year. We were no match today for Farmington today. They were on a mission and we have much respect for them. The experience we got and the performance we had was terrific. To finish runner up in the state is an amazing accomplishment for such a young group of bowlers. These guys battled and fought all day and I am so proud of the effort all day. "
ALLEN PARK, Mich.- The Oxford Girls easily qualified finishing 3rd behind Taylor and Anchor Bay. They were in first for much of the day. The team performed very well in baker games during qualifying. The Cats would face off against the number 1 ranked team in the state in round one, Westland John Glenn. In match play each team bowls two baker games and one regular team game and total pins advances. In the match with John Glenn, the girls struggled in the two baker games losing both by a combined pin fall of 352 to 298. The girls have a no quit mentality and rallied in the regular game to win 850 to 805 to fall 9 pins short of advancing. This ended the reign of the girls who were last years state champions.
"The girls have some real reasons to be proud today," said Head Coach J.R. Lafnear. "They finished 5th in the state and really represented Oxford with true class. They bowled great all day and just fell short by 9 pins to a great team. The leadership on this team is outstanding and they had a outstanding season. We have some real talented young ladies on this team, and I am so very proud of what they have accomplished."
As if all that wasn't enough four bowlers qualified for singles competition on Saturday. The Boys had Luke Acton, Collin Massie and Justin Powell shooting for the title. The Girls lone qualifier was Sr Co-Captain Megan Armbruster. This was Megan's 3rd straight year bowling for a singles title.
The boys only bowler to move on was Luke Acton. Luke Finished 9th averaging over 207 for the six games, Justin finished 32nd and Collin 36th. The top 16 boys out of 60 state finalists would advance to the championship rounds. Luke got off to a slow start and lost to Troy's Ron Taylor 380 to 343.
"These three guys have been great all year. They deserved to be here and did a nice job," said Coach Lafnear. "They will be back here again I'm sure and will learn from this experience. The year this team has had is unreal and I'm so excited to be the coach of this team and these young men."
Megan Armbruster has had one of the best season ever in Oxford Girls bowling. She has been steady and focused all year and has been a great leader with Co-Captain Claire Sandstrom. At the singles state level she has qualified in 2017 and in 2018 she finished in the top 16. She averaged over 197 for the 6 games in 2019 to qualify 13th in the championship round. She bowled games of 206 and 204 to beat Abigail Bird of Taylor in round 1. She then cruised past Evelyn Cano of Flushing 368 to 285 to reach the final four. There she would meet the bowler that sent her home last year Lauren Slagter of Jenison. Maybe revenge or just an eye on the prize Megan dispatched Slagter with games 213, 211 to Lauren's 178,186. This matched Armbruster against St Clair Shore Lake Shores sophomore Dani Decruydt in the finals. It was a good match early but Armbruster was a machine filling frame after frame. She shot games of 223, 193 to Decruydt's 189 and 178 to bring home the title of STATE CHAMPION.
"This is a great day for this young lady and her family. Megan has worked so hard to become the best bowler she can be. She deserves this as much as any person we have ever had here at Oxford. She is not only a champion at bowling but a champion young lady," finished Lafnear.