Jalin Ruple

Napoleon’s Jalin Ruple prepares to bowl during the Division II district tournament last week. Ruple and the Lady Cats will compete at the Division II Girls State Bowling Championships Friday in Columbus.

After a two-year absence, the Napoleon Lady Cats are making their 11th appearance since 2000 at the Division II Girls State Bowling Championships.

Napoleon secured its spot with a third-place finish at the district tournament last week.

Along with the Lady Cats, Liberty Center’s Hannah Feather qualified for the state tournament as an individual.

The girls state tournament begins Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, with the championship round set to begin at 3:30 p.m.

Teams will bowl three games of regulation 10-pin bowling and three Baker games.

The top eight teams with the highest total pin count following three games of regulation 10-pin bowling and the three Baker game competitions will compete for the team state championship.

These teams will be seeded one through eight based on the order of finish following the three games of regulation 10-pin bowling and the three Baker games, and will compete in head to head competition in a best of five Baker game format. The head to head competition will continue until a champion and runner-up is determined.

Individual participants will bowl three games of regulation 10-pin bowling totaling all pins during this competition.

The top two individuals, including those on teams, with the highest total pin count following the three games of 10-pin bowling will be the state champion and runner-up.

Napoleon has just one senior, Lydia Watchman, among its starting rotation and a good start is pivotal for the Lady Cats, according to coach Randy Schwaiger.

“The key is going to be getting off to a good start,” said Schwaiger. “You can’t do that if the girls are tight. We have to find a way to get them loose. The girls have to stay relaxed.”

Freshman Spencer Schwaiger leads the Lady Cats with a 180.9 average over 11 games this season. She is followed by Jalin Ruple (177.18), Watchman (175.76) and Ella Fox, another freshman, (174.25). Heather McMahan is the final starter (167.0), with Abby Detmer (163.12) providing depth.

The Lady Cats struggled during the regular season with their Baker scores, but have turned those scores up in the postseason. Napoleon had a 171.3 Baker game average during the district tournament and a 191 average at the sectional tournament. Both were the high averages at those tournaments.

“I think Baker games are always important, whether it’s against one team or at a tournament,” said coach Schwaiger. “There is a large potential of gaining or losing pins during Baker games.

“I think the energy in the building had a lot to do with us doing better during Bakers (during the two tournaments),” added the Napoleon coach. “There was a real electricity in the air, and for the most part, we allowed that energy to fuel us. I think that helped us a ton.”

Schwiager said the goal for the Lady Cats is to make it to that championship round.

“When you get to the state tournament there are going to be teams that are better than you on paper,” he said. “If you can make it to the championship round, at that point it is anyone’s ball game.”

Napoleon’s Levi Anderson, a junior, qualified for the Division II Boys State Bowling Championships Saturday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.

The boys also start at 10:30 a.m.

Anderson enters the tournament with a 198.31 average over 19 games this season, with a high score of 235. He rolled games of 196, 247 and 214 at the district tournament to qualify for the state meet.

“He is going to have to slow down,” said coach Schwaiger. “He is going to get instant gratification, but he needs to stay even keel and stay slow, especially at his feet.

“Levi rolls a tremendous ball and if he goes slow and lets the ball do the work, he will get his share of strikes,” added Schwaiger.

E-mail comments to jeffr@northwestsignal.net.

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