COLUMBUS — Washington High School junior Brandon Underwood made his State bowling tournament debut Saturday, March 4, before a packed house at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, located on South High Street.
Underwood placed third at the Chillicothe District tournament with a three-game series score of 660 to qualify to State.
On Saturday, placed 16th out of 100 bowlers with a score of 622. He bowled games of 205, 197 and 220.
Underwood also had the added excitement of bowling very near junior Trey Buehler of St. Henry, whose second game of the day was a perfect game of 300. Buehler ended up eighth with a three-game series score of 637.
The Hillsboro Indians made it all the way to the final match in the team event, falling in the State championship match to St. Mary’s Memorial 690 to 503.
Struthers was third, followed by Woodrigde, then Coldwater, then Versailles in sixth, Urbana seventh and Springfield Emmanuel Christian eighth.
For the Indians as individuals, senior Sajoun Jones was fourth with a 648; senior Tyler King was 13th with a 626; senior Hunter Lowe was 23rd with a 606; freshman Hayden Miller was 43rd with a 570; sophomore Brendon Ormes bowled one game of 165 and sophomore Christian McConehea bowled a 148.
“I kind of missed my shots during the practice round,” Underwood said. “When I got to the competition, my first game was a little nervous, but, through the middle of it, I got comfortable with the line. I just kept trying to repeat my shots the best I could.
“The second game came around and that one was rough,” Underwood said. “I missed one spare, but I couldn’t strike after that. I was still covering my spares, but, that one open frame kind of cost me big on that game.
“In the last game, that’s when I found my comfort zone,” Underwood said. “I opened in the second frame, then a strung about five in a row. Then, I covered my spares from then on.”
What about Buehler bowling that perfect game?
“That was cool,” Underwood said. “I love seeing people do that. I’ve seen a kid go into the 10th frame with the first nine in a row. Then they’ll get the first two and then leave a solid 7-10, something like that. That’s got to be special for him. He was consistent with every shot.
“The last game, he kind of fell off after that,” Mark Underwood said. “It’s one of those things; once the adrenaline rush starts coming down, it does effect your shots.”
“This was a lot of fun,” Brandon Underwood said. “I feel I could have done a little bit better on some shots. I could have picked up this pin here, but, overall, I’m happy with how I did. It was a lot of fun. I love the people I was bowling around with. They were all shooting really well, too.
“For next year, I do want to come back here,” Underwood said. “That would be my best goal. I would like to perform a little better if I make it back next year.”
Underwood had a good bit of support at the State tournament.
“My grandparents came up from Tennessee just to watch me bowl today,” Underwood said. “Macy (Detty) and her mom were here. Grant (Mustain, a teammate) and his parents. Kaleb Taylor was here and Ron Amore Jr.” Washington High School Athletic Director Jon Creamer was also on hand.
“I’d like to thank my dad who is my coach, of course,” Underwood said. “My parents and my grandparents; all my teammates to get me through this season, they just helped support me on my way on this journey.”
“I think Brandon did a great job,” Mark Underwood said. “I really do. It’s his first time in this type of environment. There are the nerves and the adrenaline. You have to go out there and perform. You have to make a shot. We came up and practiced Thursday. Friday, we practiced at our house (LeElla Lanes). We got a little bit better on the shot. We were pretty confident coming in to what we needed to do. You couldn’t miss inside or outside, or it would punish you. You just have a small area to hit.
“He only had three open frames all day,” Underwood said. “One per game. My gosh, that’s bowling in anyone’s book, as far as I’m concerned. He maybe didn’t get as many strikes as he would have liked, but spares are bowling.
“I would like to thank Ron Amore Jr. for allowing us to use his facility for practice time and really working with us to get us where we are,” Underwood said.
Underwood will now prepare to compete as a member of the Washington Blue Lion track team where he runs the 400 and 800-meter events, as an individual and on those relays.
Underwood will compete in a non-OHSAA bowling tournament against other high school juniors near the end of the month.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1