The dark horse team from Canfield brought home the state title after winning at the Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl in the OHSAA Boys State Bowling Championship on March 2.
It was their first trip to the state tournament, where in the qualifying round junior Paul Harris led the Cards with a 643 series that also placed him in third place overall in the first team All Ohio status.
Then came senior, team captain Mike Dercoli with a 590 set and freshman Andrew Letscher with a 572, followed by sophomore Ben Shoman with a 540 series. After the qualifying round, the Cardinals were the fourth seed in the championship round.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Getting together after winning their final state match are Canfield Varsity Boys Bowling Team members Pete Bryne, assistant coach Sarah Letscher, Ben Shoman, Paul Harris, Andrew Letscher, team captain Mike Dercoli, Anthony Bettile, DJ Cospy, Tyler Frklech, coach Carl Hurd, Andrew Jarvis, and Austin Leonard.
Coach Carl Hurd said he was confident that his team would stay competitive all the way to the end. After beating Maysville 3-0 in their first match of the championship round, they faced top-seeded Fairport Harding in the semifinals and defeated them 3-2 in an exciting match. Canfield jumped out to a 2-0 lead only to let Fairport back in the match by dropping the next two games. However, the Cardinals closed out Fairport Harding impressively, 257-176 in the fifth game to set up the championship match with Kettering Fairmont.
The Cards started the final match with a 206 opening score but faltered in the second game with a 143 which put the match at 1-1. They had to deal with a very loud crowd from the Kettering Fairmont side, who tried to rattle the Canfield bowlers.
"That's where the mental game comes into play I think," Hurd said. "I think we blocked it out very well."
The Cardinals went on to win a close game three with a score of 190-180 and went on to the fourth game with renewed confidence. In that game, senior Anthony Bettile picked up a key spare in the eighth frame and Ben Shoman rolled a strike in the ninth to set up the 10th frame. Fairmont left a 4-7-10 split in their 10th frame and Andrew Letscher closed out the match with two strikes in the 10th for a 200-167 win and the state title.