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LOUISVILLE— Kawika Glover’s bowling career at North Hardin didn’t end the way he envisioned it would Thursday morning at Executive Strike & Spare, but he saw a silver lining.
At least he was there.
The only area individual of either gender with two individual trips to the Ebonite/KHSAA Bowling State Championships, the senior and 2nd Region Tournament champion finished 22nd in the 32-player event.
“It was just as nerve racking and definitely not the finish that I wanted to have or that I had in mind,” Glover said.
Glover had games of 194, 199 and 186 to finish with a 579, missing the cut for the eight-player quarterfinals by 49 pins. But it was an improvement from his State debut last year, when he had a lower placing (23rd), lower pin total (569) and missed the cut by more pins (77).
“It was still a good day considering I got to bowl here and had the opportunity,” Glover said. “It was still a lot better than last year, there’s just a few little things that I’ve got to fix.”
Glover set his poor arm positioning was a factor in his lower-than-average scores.
“I have to keep my elbow in,” he said. “I have a bad habit of pulling it out, almost like a chicken wing.”
Glover had the best finish of the three area players at State. Central Hardin senior Seth Oberdorf finished 28th on the boys’ side with a three-game total of 556 (209, 170, 177), while John Hardin senior Karen Ledford was 28th on the girls’ side with a three-game series of 484 (191, 146, 147).
Oberdorf said his opening score was little more than fools’ gold.
“Honestly I was having trouble that first game finding my spot. And the other two games were the same thing basically,” he said. “It wasn’t really nerves. It was more about finding my spot and I just couldn’t find it at all.”
Oberdorf added that it was a great experience, but “I wish I could have gone further and met my goal.”
A bum, cut-up and swollen thumb kept Ledford from advancing. She was on pace to finish in the top half after the first game before the constant swelling and pain forced her to make unusual adjustments – a concern since she’ll be back on the lanes today as the anchor of the John Hardin girls’ baker team.
Ledford is the only member of the three area qualifiers to compete in both of the individual and team events at State.
“My thumb would not come out of the thumb hole. It was terrible,” Ledford said. “At regionals and State, the two most important dates, it was an issue.”
Ledford said the finish didn’t detract from the experience.
“I would have loved to have been able to do it again,” said Ledford, who met with a Northern Kentucky University coach after competing. “It was a great time competing against good competition.”
Ledford said she stayed pretty even keel throughout her series.
“I was really relaxed, but I was more frustrated that I couldn’t bowl to my potential because of my hand,” she said.
It was a rough day for the other 2nd Region qualifiers – who were all from Taylor County.
On the girls’ side, Shelby Barnett was fifth with a five-game total of 1,019, missing the four-player stepladder by just six pins.
Megan Hedgespeth, this year’s region champion and last year’s State runner-up, was ninth with a three-game total of 597 – missing the eight-player quarterfinals by just two pins.
Candace Gibson was 16th with a three-game series of 563.
On the boys’ side, the Cardinals’ Winston Cook was 12th with a three-game total of 620, while McKinley Knopp was 23rd with a three-game series of 570. Cook missed the quarterfinals by eight pins.
It was an all-Louisville final four for the boys, with top-seeded Kiefer Hillerich of DuPont Manual beating second-seeded teammate Kyle Abell for the title, 222-210. That was after Abell edged third-seeded Anthony Alvey two frames of overtime, 40-39, after both rolled 226s. Alvey advanced to the semifinal with a 268-212 win over fourth-seeded Michael McCubbins of Male.
All four boys’ qualifiers from the 4th Region (Hillerich, Abell, McCubbins, and Louisville Trinity’s Conor Minogue) finished in the top seven.
On the girls’ side, it was Bluegrass vs. Northern Kentucky dukeout with top-seeded Crystal Land of Lexington Bryan Station topping second-seeded Sarah Doyle of Scott County for the crown, 233-195.
Doyle advanced to the final with a 190-175 win over third-seeded Katlyn Hoeh of Newport in the semifinal. Hoeh earned her semifinal berth with a 229-217 win over fourth-seeded Megan Kindoll of Covington Scott in the quarterfinal.
Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at (270) 505-1758 or email@example.com.