COLUMBUS - In 2012, the Champion boys came seven pins shy of advancing to the championship bracket of the boys' state bowling tournament.
In 2013, the Golden Flashes were back at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, and they made sure they weren't going to let seven pins stand in their way.
The Golden Flashes fared well in the qualifying bracket, earning the second seed with a pin total of 3,401 only 19 pins away from top-seeded Fairport Harding.
However, the celebration ended soon after, as Champion was eliminated from the tournament in the first round of the championship round, 3-2, by Cincinnati Oak Hills.
"It is what it is, that's the way the ball rolls sometime," Champion coach Brian Gill said. "The nerves get to them and they get anxious some times, and they want to make it, but sometimes this is just the way it goes."
In the best-of-five baker games elimination round, Champion came out strong, taking a 2-1 lead after an impressive 191 game in the third baker. But Oak Hills had a strong fourth game, defeating the Flashes 236-168. The momentum continued into the fifth game for Oak Hills, and it sent the Flashes home with a fifth-place finish in the tournament.
"Out of the gates we were strong," Gill said. "They built up some momentum on us, and the third game we could have had it. We just couldn't close the door on them."
Guiding the Flashes through the qualifying round was sophomore Jared Gould, who finished with a three-game series of 625, earning him second-team all-state honors. He's just one of five Flashes that will return to next year's team.
"We're strong coming back," Gill said. "We're only going to miss (senior) Eric Ferraro. We were six strong this year with 200 averages. We have a good foundation behind us. We will be back next year."
FITCH FINISHES SEVENTH: It wasn't that the Austintown Fitch Falcons didn't throw well in their first-round championship match against Kettering Fairport, it's that the Firebirds just threw better.
Austintown fell to the eventual state runners-up, 3-1, in the first round of the championships.
Fitch fought for its life all day. After the first game of qualifying, the Falcons were in seventh place. They had a strong second game, but after a shaky 840 in the final individual game, the Falcons were sitting in the eighth and final spot, needing three strong baker games, and some help, to advance.
The Falcons were able to move to the sixth seed for the championship round, but found themselves against a tough opponent in Fairmont.
The Falcons lost its first two matches 196-181 and 256-211. They were able to stay alive with a win in the third, 217-211, but couldn't pull out another win, losing the final match 248-164.
OTHER NOTES: Canfield junior Paul Harris was named to the All-Ohio first team for his 643 series during the individual games. Austintown Fitch's Kyle Sharisky was named to the honorable mention All-Ohio team for his 610 series. The top 15 bowlers are named to the first, second and honorable mention teams. Michael Davidson of Versailles was the overall individual winner, bowling a 664. This is the final year that the state bowling tournament will be one division. In 2014, the tournament will expand to a Division I and Division II tournament.