COLUMBUS — Brunswick has set the bar pretty high in boys high school bowling.
The first team in MedinaCounty history to make it to the state tournament, the Blue Devils came to Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl and left little doubt they belonged.
While a third-place finish in Division I might not be as high as some on the squad wanted, Justin Vetrovsky was named first-team All-Ohio and was joined by second-teamer Eric Bator and honorable mention selection Spencer Brodie in what could only be called a successful Friday afternoon.
“I’m very proud of these guys,” Brodie said. We had a lot of fun. When this team first got together at the beginning of the season, we had high hopes. I think we played right up to those expectations.
“There were a lot of nerves today. Hopefully next year we’ll get more used to it. When one guy is struggling, there’s enough talent on the team to get good games and balance each other out.”
While some nerves might have poked out after the individual games and into the Baker games during the qualifier, Brunswick was as solid as they come in picking up a second seed after Vetrovsky bowled a 664 series.
Bator (660) and Brodie (630) were solid as well, leaving the Baker games during qualifying as nothing more than a side note for where the Blue Devils would fall in the bracket.
Some at Columbus Bowl were surprised by the high seed heading into the bracket format, but it wasn’t a shock to anyone wearing blue and white.
“Coming into the season, we had high expectations not just from ourselves, but from the community,” Bator said. “To be able to back those expectations up, it was nice to get down here and show how good we really are.”
Brunswick took that momentum into the bracket format and survived a nail-biter with Cincinnati Oak Hills in the quarterfinals, winning the Baker format three games to two.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, they ran into a buzz saw in eventual champion Wapakoneta in the semifinals. Brunswick won Game 1 against the Redskins, but fell in the next three to finish third overall.
“For us to be down here and slowly break it down to the final four, it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to the final, but we gave it all we had,” Vetrovsky said. “The experience we gained this year was big. We learned how to adjust from our mistakes. Everyone helped everyone else, so we can use that coming back.”
Vetrovsky and Brodie are sophomores, while Bator is a junior. Throw in Brandon McClain and Jarrett Smith, who are also sophomores, and the only bowlers the team loses are Mitch Andzelik (205.3 average), Scottie Zipp (201.7) and K.C. Kokitka (199.5).
Bator (214.5), Brodie (207.8) and Vetrovsky (205.9) all shot over their averages at the state tournament and the experience they gained should only help when things get going next season.
“Hopefully, they’ll take memories that will last them a lifetime,” Blue Devils coach Jonathan Laube said. “For this one season, they were the third-best team in the state.
“All the tournament wins, winning the (Northeast Ohio) conference and going 19-1 wasn’t just a mirage. They were a solid, good team all around.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.