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TK boys look to take Gold/Green lead into tourney

Thornapple Kellogg's Carly Snyder takes a turn during the Trojans' OK Gold/Green dual with visiting Unity Christian at Hastings Bowl Tuesday. (Photo by Brett Bremer)

Brett Bremer

Sports Editor

The Thornapple Kellogg varsity boys' bowling team added to its OK Gold/Green Conference lead with a 22.5-7.5 victory over Unity Christian at Hastings Bowl Tuesday afternoon.

The Trojans improved to 15-2 in conference match-ups with the win as they try to fend off Byron Center, Zeeland East and Unity Christian for the top spot as the conference season nears its conclusion. The TK teams were set to close out conference duals against Forest Hills Eastern at Northfield Lanes last night, and then the OK Green/Gold gets together for its conference tournament Saturday at Park Center Lanes.

The TK ladies are in fifth place in the ten-team OK Gold/Green Conference standings heading into this week's action, just a few points behind the third-place Wayland girls who are the only team from the OK Gold Conference in front of the Trojans to this point.

Unity Christian's girls came into the night trailing only league-leading Zeeland East in the Gold/Green standings, and scored a 19-11 win over the TK ladies.

The TK boys got a pair of match points each from Wyatt Jacobson, Michael Willshire and Trevor VanPolen in the two regular games, while while winning all ten team points in the two regular games. Willshire rolled games of 225 and 233, VanPolen scored a 216 and a 234, and Jacobson had games of 235 and 206. Nate Palmer earned half a team point for TK with his 191 in the second regular game. The two teams split the two Baker contests, with the Trojans rolling a 245 in the second to win the overall Baker pin count too.

“We've got seven really good guys, and then the other five that I have are really improving,” TK head coach Cheryl Cooper said. “Mostly they're freshmen, so we're working on bringing them along because we're losing the three seniors. They're improving a lot. I am really happy with how they are doing.”

The Trojan boys' team's three seniors this season are VanPolen, Colton Hicswa and Connor Wilson. Hicswa rolled a 187 in the first regular game Tuesday and Wilson tallied a 139 in the second. Cooper said she has four or five guys fighting for a top 15 finish in the Green/Gold standings.

VanPolen is setting up a signing day with the Davenport University Men's Bowling program as his senior season winds down. He rolled a 300-game at Spectrum Lanes in practice on Sunday. He has averaged right around 220 this season.

“It has been awesome. This is the best season we have ever had, or at least in my four years on the team. We're 15-2 after the win tonight,” VanPolen said.

He said his team just hasn't been at its very best against Zeeland in their two conference meetings, and Zeeland has rolled well. The TK boys lost to the Zeeland boys in the second dual of the season, and then really got things rolling. The talk of chasing a conference championship really heated up as the TK boys won eight straight duals following that first loss to Zeeland.

VanPolen said he feels like he has been more consistent in picking up spares and hitting his mark this winter, and has really seen big improvements from last year form Hicswa and Michael Willshire and good strides from freshmen Ethan Kriekaard and Wyatt Jacobson too.

The Unity Christian girls swept their two Baker games with TK Tuesday. The Trojan team won the first regular game 827 to 725, getting match points from Faith Foster, Dalace Jousma and Carly Snyder. Snyder rolled a 215 in that opening regular game, Jousma a 188 and Foster a 140. TK also got a 169 from Cayleigh Willard in that first regular game, and Willard upped her total to 193 to win a match point in the second regular game. Snyder took a second match point with a 159 in game two.

Scoring in the 700s in a game has been good for the TK ladies, and they've been in the low 700s or high 600s throughout much of the season, so coach Cooper was pretty pleased with that 827 from her girls.

“They have been doing better the last half of the season,” Cooper said. “They struggled a little bit the first half,” coach Cooper said. “I see the majority of them starting to throw better balls and get better pin counts. They need work on their spares a little more, but their coming along with all of that. They're doing great. They won the last four or five matches before this one. They've been doing awesome.”


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