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After being the bridesmaid a couple of times, Taylor County junior Megan Hedgespeth was finally a bowling bride Monday afternoon.
Having finished second last year in both the 2nd Region Tournament in Campbellsville and the KHSAA State Tournament in Louisville, Hedgespeth earned some redemption Monday when she dominated the 28-player girls’ individual division of the region tournament at Dix-E-town Lanes.
Hedgespeth entered the eight-player semifinals with a 151-pin lead and finished the semifinals with a 147-pin hold on the No. 1 seed.
“I felt really good about the way I bowled,” said Hedgespeth, who averaged a 222.3 for her six games on the day. “I was really excited this year for the region and state tournaments.”
John Hardin senior Karen Ledford is excited about her State debut after finishing third. The No. 4 seed beat third-seeded Taylor County freshman Candace Gibson in the quarterfinal (182-169) before falling to second-seeded Taylor County sophomore Shelby Barnett in the semifinal (186-158).
“This feels unbelievable,” Ledford said of her region finish and earning a State berth.
Her right hand didn’t feel unbelievable, though. She had to ice down her swollen thumb during her match with Barnett. Ironically, Barnett wasn’t feeling great, either. She had to suffer through a loud cough most of the day and said competing Friday, when the region tournament was originally scheduled for before a morning ice storm postponed it, would have been rough to labor through.
“My thumb burns and my hand was too swollen that last game to bowl my average,” said Ledford, who averaged a 173.3 before struggling against Barnett. “But right now, I’m actually very relaxed. I knew I didn’t have much of a chance against Shelby or Megan. They’ve been bowling for years and I’ve been bowling for … two. But I was still going to try to give it my best.”
After watching two matches, a cold Hedgespeth beat Barnett in the final, 218-179.
“I think it’s more of an advantage to move your way up the ladder because you get comfortable,” said Hedgespeth, who had four of the five highest individual scores of the day, which included her final game. “As the No. 1 seed, you’re kind of just thrown back out there again and you’re forced to get back in a groove quickly.”
Rounding out the semifinalists were Green County eighth-grader Disnee Shuffett (eighth, 139.2 average), John Hardin sophomore Hannah Caudill (seventh, 152), John Hardin junior Morgan Parsons (sixth, 162.8) and North Hardin senior Allie Dennis (fifth, 165.2), who was 33 pins from earning her first individual State berth after helping the Lady Trojans finish second last year.
Other area entrants were Central Hardin junior Mercedes Cote (tied for 10th, 441 three-game qualifying total), Central Hardin junior Becca Himebaugh (tied for 12th, 440), Central Hardin freshman Mary Zeitler (tied for 12th, 440), North Hardin sophomore Jillian Shufelt (15th, 431), North Hardin sophomore Ally Eastman (16th, 430), Central Hardin senior Paige Russell (19th, 388), North Hardin senior Ariana Martinez (21st, 372) and John Hardin senior Stephanie Allen (23rd, 341).
Central Hardin senior Keri Johnson, who beat Hedgespeth for last year’s region title, left the Lady Bruins before Christmas but plans to bowl next season for Morehead State.
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2ND REGION INDIVIDUAL TOURNAMENT
ELIZABETHTOWN — Individual results for Central Hardin (CH), Green County (GC), John Hardin (JH), Nelson County (NC), North Hardin (NH), Taylor County (TC) and Thomas Nelson (TN) from Monday’s seven-school, 28-player 2nd Region Bowling Tournament on the top-hat oil pattern at Dix-E-Town Lanes:
Advanced To Four-Player Stepladder Playoffs
1. Megan Hedgespeth (TC, 11) 255-207-221-209-224—1,116
2. Shelby Barnett (TC, 10) 170-161-201-204-197—969
3. Candace Gibson (TC, 9) 209-144-176-185-171—885
4. Karen Ledford (JH, 12) 148-194-162-170-184—858
Eliminated After 5-Game Qualifier
5. Allie Dennis (NH), 12) 166-155-158-155-192—826
6. Morgan Parsons (JH, 11) 169-149-212-134-150—814
7. Hannah Caudill (JH, 10) 156-165-139-173-127—760
8. Disnee Shuffett (GC, 8) 173-132-165-116-110—696
Eliminated After 3-Game Qualifier
9. Hannah Brockman (TC, 10) 173-120-162—455
10. Mercedes Cote (CH, 11) 132-145-164—441
10. Kelsey Hellard (NC, 12) 141-145-155—441
12. Becca Himebaugh (CH, 11) 150-156-134—440
12. Mary Zeitler (CH, 9) 142-136-162—440
14. Taylor Hall (NC, 12) 177-129-126—432
15. Jillian Shufelt (NH, 10) 152-136-143—431
16. Ally Eastman (NH, 10) 173-122-135—430
17. Natasha Walker (GC, 12) 126-165-129—420
18. Kristen Curtsinger (NC, 10) 128-137-150—415
19. Kristen Cecil (TN, 11) 117-153-118—388
19. Paige Russell (CH, 12) 140-116-132—388
21. Ariana Martinez (NH, 12) 127-135-110—372
22. Sarah Jo Calhoun (GC, 6) 115-115-127—357
23. Stephanie Allen (JH, 12) 145-118-78—341
24. Laryn Hilderbrandt (TN, 11) 110-106-110—326
25. Mikayla Brady (TN, 11) 126-96-90—312
26. Bess Johnson (NC, 12) 124-94-84—302
27. Taylor Warren (GC, 9) 82-96-93—271
28. Emily Davis (TN, 11) 93-109-64—266
FOUR-PLAYER STEPLADDER PLAYOFFS
Ledford def. Gibson, 182-169
Barnett def. Ledford, 186-158
Hedgespeth def. Barnett, 218-179