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Karen Ledford and Lucas Ward emerged on top of Dix-E-Town Lanes’ new top-hat oil pattern Monday during the second Hardin County Tournament of Champions.
The John Hardin seniors were the big winners on the afternoon, with Ledford winning a day-high three events and Ward picking up a boys’ high two wins on the same surface which will be used for this coming weekend’s 2nd Region Bowling Tournament.
Ledford won the three-game girls’ individual series with a 558.
Ledford (153) teamed with sophomore Hannah Caudill (189), junior Morgan Parsons (168), Danea Graves (159), Sarah Wolfe (154), senior Stephanie Allen (125), Sonia Smallwood (99) and Caitlin Scott (93) to win the eight-player team title with a 1,140.
And after opening the final of the two-game coed baker series in third place behind Central Hardin’s Chris Bates and Mercedes Cote and North Hardin siblings Andrew and Jillian Shufelt, Ledford and Ward edged Bates and Cote, 378-365 for the series. The Shufelts were third with a 327.
Ledford credits the hook she has been using with her 14-pound ball. When she joined the team last year, she was a straight roller.
“I was the only one on the team last year who couldn’t curve the ball,” Ledford said. “Now a few other girls (Caudill, Parsons) have it and our scores have changed. It was rough at first, but I think we’ve got it down.”
Ledford rolled a 214 in the middle game of the three-game individual series (557), 14 pins off her season best.
“She’s very self-disciplined and is by far the most invested person on our team in knowing that this is a competitive sport and you’ll play the way you practice,” John Hardin coach Jenny Brown said. “Plus, her father (Rick) has done a lot to encourage her performance.”
While basketball players can be called gym rats, Ledford admits Dix-E-Town has become a second home.
“We’ve been practicing every single day, so I’ve been getting in at least 2 hours a day,” she said, “and yes, that includes Saturday and Sunday.”
Behind Ledford’s solid play, the Lady Bulldogs won 3-of-4 divisions. North Hardin’s five-player baker champion team (473) of Ariana Martinez, Brittanie Mahanna, Ally Eastman, Allie Dennis and Shufelt kept John Hardin from the clean sweep.
The Lady Bulldogs were still second in baker (423) and went 1-2-3 in individual with Caudill (502) finishing second and Parsons (493) taking third. Parsons was last year’s champion. Central Hardin (394) was third in girls’ baker.
“That’s awesome,” Brown said of her team’s performance. “I knew all along that had the potential, so I’m glad they all came together at the same time. So now they know they can do it.”
Ward was surprised when he won the boys’ individual title last season, but he felt good about his chances at defending. He did that with a three-game series of 601 (170, 196, season-high 235).
“I thought I could win it again and I was pretty confident,” said Ward, noting the 235 could be the boost he needs heading into the region tournament. “I think it was just about getting over that hump, so I think I’ll be all right now. There’s not as much pressure.”
The high game of the day came from North Hardin senior Kawika Glover, who rolled a season-high 266 to help the Trojans when the four-player team portion.
Glover, the only returning area player who competed in the individual portion of last year’s state tournament, said it helps the region tournament will be played on the same oil conditions.
“That’s real big because I feel real comfortable on it now although I was shaky earlier in the day,” Glover said.
Glover (266) was joined by Aaron Davis (225), Kevin Ho (193), Tristan Krausman (180), Braden Price (166), Kahala Glover (148), Brooks Bennett (136) and Alec Johnson (124) as the Trojans won the boys’ team portion with an eight-player total of 1,438. John Hardin (1,288) was second and Central Hardin (1,172) was third.
Central Hardin’s fivesome of Bates, Alec Burgess, Zach Epperson, Seth Oberdorf and Andrew Schmit won the three-game baker series with a 594. John Hardin (552) was the runner-up and North Hardin (545) was third.
John Hardin was able to have its success without area average leader Alex Humes, who was flying back to Nashville after attending Sunday’s AFC championship game in Foxborough, Mass.
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org