Tecumseh’s Jordan Richard makes history
History was made by Tecumseh High School junior Jordan Richard on Saturday, March 2, by winning back-to-back Michigan High School Athletic Association Division II girls singles bowling titles.
Not one other champion has been able to win consecutive titles in any MHSAA division, girls or boys, since the program records began being listed in 2004. Jordan is only the third champion (Adi Pointer, White Lake Lakeland, girls division 1, 2005, 2008 — Tylor Greene, Davison, boys division 1, 2010, 2012) to win two state bowling tiles.
The weekend didn’t look like it was going to go as well as expected after the Indians were eliminated as a team the day before. While Jordan and Lauren McKowen each recorded high games surpassing 200 for Tecumseh, the rest of the team struggled and the Indians, the number one seeded team after qualifying, was eliminated by Ionia, the number-eight seeded team going in.
“It was a huge disappointment,” said Tecumseh coach Ken Richard. “You win as a team. You lose as a team. The final number is the final number, no matter who shoots 200 or 120, it’s the bottom number that you really care about.”
Ionia’s bowlers were fired up from the very start of the match while Tecumseh’s girls were somewhat subdued. The quarterfinal match consists of two Baker games and one regular game. The Indians won the opening game 171-159 but lost the second 202-142. After losing the second Baker game, the Indians pushed back their seats and got on their feet however still were unable to match the Bulldogs’ intensity. Ionia continued blasting the pins and beat the Indians 893-883, for an overall pin count of 1254-1196.
The Indians were obviously distraught by the loss however the win over such a big opponent added momentum for Ionia’s’ bowlers. The Bulldogs went on to defeat Charlotte (1290-1281) in the semifinals to advance to the finals against Jackson Northwest. Ionia finished the day as runners-up with a 1262-1221 loss to the Mounties.
Tecumseh came out of the qualifying blocks first with a score of 3262 while Jackson Northwest was seventh (3023) and Ionia, eighth (3011).
Despite the loss, Richard and her four other teammates were able to shake it off and focus on the singles championship the following day.
“I told each one of them that this is singles, there is nothing you can do about your teammates. Everybody needs to take care of their own problems today,” said coach Richard. “They didn’t need anybody on Saturday. They knew where to stand, and where to throw the ball, but sometimes they just need someone to tell them it’s going to be ok. Just make the Top 16 and we’ll go from there.”
Jordan Richard had also been feeling ill all weekend but her mother, Jody, reminded her to concentrate at the task at hand.
“On Friday night I just didn’t feel good and then I woke up and didn’t feel any better. So, the whole day was horrible,” said Jordan. “I just sat there and wanted to cry. It was bad. I wanted to leave.”
Jordan qualified first in the morning with a score of 1370, recording 200-plus games in all six qualifying blocks (203, 212, 237, 203, 247, 268).
Richard’s closest competitor was her teammate, junior Lauren McKowen, who finished second with a total of 1336. McKowen recorded 200 or better in all but one block (207, 192, 247, 215, 248, 227).
“After lunch I felt a little bit better,” said Jordan, adding that when her opponents put up a good frame or two it was frustrating and motivated her to do better. Something else she said that helped was having her brother Matt there to talk to her about anything but bowling.
“I just talked to him the whole time and stayed calm,” she said.
Also advancing to the Round of 16 was Tecumseh’s Haley Richard who qualified ninth (268, 130, 203, 204, 194, 163) with a score of 1162. She was also fighting a cold during the two days at the state meet.
Not qualifying were Tecumseh’s Savanna Murry (28th, 1090) and Courtney Herron (39th, 1044).
None of Tecumseh’s bowlers faced each other during the tournament, only by chance, with McKowen almost advancing to the final to face her teammate. While Jordan climbed the ladder all the way to the state title, McKowen was eliminated by Grand Rapids’ Sabrina Senninger by just one pin, falling 343-342 in the semifinals.
Samantha Knight of Richland Gull Lake defeated Haley Richard (398-379) in the Round of 16.
Jordan Richard beat Sabrina Senninger, of Grand Rapids Northview, 450-361 (225-225, 172-189) in the title final.
Jordan defeated Kayla Emmendorfer, of Flint Kearsley, 425-400 (206-219, 177-223) in the semifinal and Samantha Knight, of Richland Gull Lake, 427-381 (205-222, 179-202) in the quarterfinals. She eliminated Samantha Eldridge, of Owosso, 424-375 (190-234, 183-192) in the Round of 16.