Both Katy Nordman and Cheyenne Brunhoeber started the state bowling meet on fire. Mason Kuether turned into a hero with her best series ever. Bethany Watson rebounded from a tough Game 2 to pace the Orioles in Game 3 with a 237.
It took a full team effort as each Oriole stepped up at different times when they needed to. Augusta's girls bowling team took the lead early and never looked back as it won the Class 5-1A state bowling championship.
"It was just the fact that we were playing as a team. We honestly weren't thinking about our individual scores," Nordman said. "Yes it was exciting to get those strikes, but we were playing to our potential as a team."
Augusta finished with a team score of 2546, 56 pins ahead of defending state champion Bishop Carroll. The Orioles had to hold off the Golden Eagles after a slow finish, but their strong first two games were more than enough to maintain a wire-to-wire win.
Four Orioles earned state medals for placing in the top 20. Nordman bowled a 669 series, which included a team game-high 258, to take sixth place overall. Kuether had a 629 series for 12th overall. Watson had a 605, good for 14th. Brunhoeber had a 589 for 18th.
Hannah Trudell and Madison Marcotte didn't place, but they both contributed to the team score. Trudell finished with a 551 and Marcotte had a 454. At least two Orioles topped 200 in each game.
"I can't even describe it right now. It's awesome," coach Kellee Roberts said. "I've never been so proud of six girls my whole life."
Brunhoeber, only a sophomore, and Nordman, a junior, started with a hot streak by hitting strikes on their first five rolls. Nordman reached seven in a row before a delay on her lane threw off her rhythm on her next shot. Trudell bowled her game high (197) in the opener, as well.
Game 2 was when the Orioles took full control. Kuether said she felt like she was bowling her best. She hit three strikes in a row two different times and had all clean frames on way to a 236 to lead the Orioles that round. She bowled five straight strikes in Game 3 and only had one open frame on way to a 222. She finished with a 629 series.
"It's my first 600," Kuether said. "It was really awesome."
Brunhoeber hit four straight one-pin spares to start Game 2. The Orioles had a team score of 861 in Game 1 and 875 in Game 2.
"I told them, 'We have to play offense.' In bowling, that means you have to set the pace and make everyone else chase you," Roberts said. "And that's what they did. We shot 861 the first game and never looked back."
Watson might not have bowled her best in Game 2, but she still converted 8 of 9 spare opportunities, including tough pick-ups on her first and second frames.
"I'm glad that I was able to get all of my spares. That's what was holding us on," Watson said. "I was thinking, 'Just because you don't get the strike, you really need to get the spare.' It's a team thing, and every one of those spares helped the team."
Watson, who took second place at last week's regional meet, stuck through the close calls that were frustrating to overcome.
"I pulled her aside, and I said 'We are winning this as a team. You keep working for me, and we will win this. And that's exactly what she did," Roberts said.
Watson bounced back in a big way by putting together a 237 in the final game, which included eight total strikes, five of them on her last five rolls. She was a big reason the Orioles held off a Bishop Carroll team that either needed a miraculous score or a dropoff by the Orioles to catch them.