Tawni Vollmer wins state championship
By MICKEY ALVARADO
Tawni Vollmer talked to herself when making a come from behind effort that won her the Division 2 state championship last Saturday, March 7, in Sterling Heights, saying “It's just a game. One game. Take your time. Concentrate.”
She calmed herself down and began hitting her mark once again and overtook Tiffany Brown of Essexville Garber for the title.
“The practice paid off,” said Tawni after it was all over. “I told myself to just stay calm. ‘You know how to do this. Just let it go.’”
She won 151-146 in the first match and 239-182 in match two.
The Indians had two bowlers advance to the semifinal round with Vollmer and Kara Richard being a dominating force all afternoon. Richard qualified first with a block score of 1,369, surpassing even the boys, while Vollmer was seeded second with 1,346. Richard had games of 176-236-278-227-216 and 236. Vollmer had games of 227-245-229-207-215-223.
Richard finished her run for the title after being eliminated by Brown (224-179, 203-200) in the semifinal. She advanced by defeating Lindsey Heikkinen of South Lyon East (178-210, 279-180, 268-207) in the quarterfinals.
Heikkinen defeated Tecumseh senior Shannon McKowen in the round of 16 with scores of 227-156, 168-179, 214-195.
Vollmer defeated Cassie Runyan of Corunna 255-154, 247-203 in the round of 16 and then eliminated Kelsey Bandstra of Wyoming Rogers 257-256, 245-183 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal, Vollmer defeated Jessica Snyder of Mattawan 205-176, 180-164.
Last year, as a freshman, Tawni didn’t even make the final cut and finished 20th.
“She bowls enough tournaments to know how to calm her nerves and bring herself together,” said Tecumseh coach Doug McKowen. “She did it all today. It was all her. It wasn't me. I was pretty much here for moral support.”
The Indians weren’t the only school to have two bowlers advance to the quarterfinals. Wyoming Rogers sent in two as well, but Vollmer eliminated Bandstra while Brown took out the second, Samantha Johnson.
“Kara gave it a good run and Tawni finished it off,” said McKowen. “What a champion. She’s got something special, especially as a sophomore. And she’s got some more growing to do, getting mature. I mean, if she’s done all this before she’s at the top of her game, what’s that say for the rest of her career?”