COLUMBUS - Many doubted the Hubbard girls bowling team would make it back to the state tournament. Even at a few points during the season, the team doubted themselves, not knowing if they had it in them to make a run at the state title.
On Friday at the state bowling tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, the Eagles proved the haters wrong - and came one frame away from taking home the championship trophy.
Hubbard lost to Coldwater, 3-2, in the championship finals to capture its third-straight runner-up finish. The Cavaliers are now the first team in the history of the state bowling tournament to have now won back-to-back titles.
Special to Tribune Chronicle / Ben Barnes, ImpactActionPhotos.com
Hubbard’s Brittany Ferrara celebrates after a shot during Friday’s girls state bowling tournament in Columbus. The Eagles took runners-up in the state.
"Even though we lost, I'm very happy with how we did," senior Jenna Wise said. "I was just ecstatic to be here. We proved all the naysayers wrong. I want to say to them, 'Look at us now.' "
It was definitely a nail-biting road for the Eagles to get back to the state finals. The beginning part of the day was easy, as Hubbard secured a spot in the championship bracket with a third-place finish in the qualifying round.
From there, the road got interesting. During the best-of-five elimination baker games, the Eagles began their journey against Sidney High School. Before they knew it, they were down 2-1 and tied after the fourth game with each team bowling a 168. Facing elimination, the Eagles had to bowl, and win, a ninth and 10th frame rolloff, which Hubbard's Brittany Ferrara won with two strikes and a nine, keeping the Eagles alive.
Hubbard then went on to win the fifth game, advancing the Eagles to the semifinals.
"I think all of us thought during that match we were out of it," senior Lauren Miller.
The Eagles had to rally again in the semifinal, but eventually beat Kettering Fairmont, 3-2, to advance to their third straight championship game.
At that point, the Eagles breathed a sigh of relief though they wanted to win, they had reached a place that not many thought they could get to this season.
"As soon as we got to the finals I was happy," senior Sarah Wise said. "So many people thought we wouldn't get there, and Coldwater is a fantastic team. If I had to lose to any team, I'm glad it was them."
The Eagles almost pulled it out for their third comeback finish of the day. Entering into the 10th frame of the fifth game, the Eagles trailed the Cavaliers, 150-141, with both teams working off of spares into the 10th. However, Ferrara couldn't overcome Coldwater's Erica Hartings in the final frame, as the two both bowled a 30-pin 10th to put the final count at 180-171.
This second-place finish is the closest any previous Hubbard team has got to a state title. In 2011, the Eagles lost, 3-1, to St. Mary's Memorial and in 2012, Hubbard was blanked by Coldwater.
"It says a lot that we've been here so much, and we've got three second place trophies," Miller said. "That says a lot to the success we have had down here."
And for the five seniors of Ferrara, Miller, Jenna and Sarah Wise and Christina Leckfor, it has been a ride they won't soon forget that began their freshmen years.
"It really hasn't hit me yet," Jenna Wise said. "I'm so happy we made it to the finals. I was truly just happy to be here."