It took a little while for Dakota Fink to heat up in the Division I state girls bowling tournament, but the Briggs High School junior finished strong.

Competing as an individual, Fink finished fourth of 104 competitors with a 605 three-game series March 8 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. She rolled a 168 in the first game, a 191 in the second and a 246 in the third.

“I could’ve done better, but at least I progressed and finished strong,” said Fink, who won the state title as a freshman with a 677 but placed 47th last season with a 535. “It was a little stressful at first because I didn’t start strong, but I tried to stay positive.”

Fink finished behind Stow-Munroe Falls’ Jillian Martin (668), Massillon Jackson’s Kailey Bonniwell (664) and Huber Heights Wayne’s Keirsten Schooler (613).

“The first game she got no carry,” said Jim Martiny, who retired as Briggs coach after last season but filled in during the postseason because coach Patrick Collins had other obligations. “She hit the hole and wasn’t rewarded much and that was a little frustrating for her. But she bounced back in the second game and then hammered it in her last game. She finished fourth and she left 12 single-pins and you just wonder what happens if she had a few carry and turned some of those into strikes.”

Fink said her maturity is one of the reasons she bounced back to earn first-team all-state honors for the second time.

“I think I went in too confident last year after winning my freshman year,” she said. “I also came with my team as a freshman and that’s a whole lot less pressure than it was competing as an individual at state for the first time. I also understand now that you have good days and bad days, good games and bad games and good frames and bad frames. I’m a little more balanced emotionally than (I was) last year.”

Also representing the Central District as individuals were Delaware senior Kelsey Rohrer, who finished 45th with a 511, and DeSales sophomore Skyla Blumenscheid, who was 71st with a 448.

A year after Gahanna produced central Ohio’s first state team title, Westerville Central, Big Walnut and Westerville South were unable to advance to match play. The 16-team qualifying round consisted of three regulation games and three Baker games, with the top eight teams advancing to the championship round.

South finished 10th (2,927), Central placed 12th (2,860) and Big Walnut was 15th (2,686), as Massillon Perry (3,060) earned the eighth qualifying spot.

Centerville, which was seeded fifth entering match play, defeated seventh-seeded Beavercreek 3-2 in the best-of-5 Baker games to win the team title.

Leading South were seniors Emily Grise (tied for 32nd, 532) and Maggie Van Scyoc (tied for 35th, 528), Central was led by senior Sammy McLaughlin (tied for 26th, 538) and sophomore Jenna Owsiak (29th, 537) and Big Walnut’s top finishers were seniors Kaitlyn Morrison (31st, 534) and Autumn Leidtke (56th, 481).

“We were ninth after the first game and still ninth going into the Bakers, but we were slowly dropping behind and weren’t able to make up any ground because we didn’t bowl well in the Bakers,” South coach Jamie West said. “But we have a bunch of seniors and they were state qualifiers and I couldn’t be prouder of them for just making here this year.”

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