Eisenhower girls participate in state finals

Eagles make first-ever appearance at states

By: Thomas Franz | Shelby - Utica News | Published March 3, 2014

 Eisenhower’s Haley Zynda bowls during the MHSAA Division 1 team state finals at Sunnybrook Lanes on Feb. 28.

Eisenhower’s Haley Zynda bowls during the MHSAA Division 1 team state finals at Sunnybrook Lanes on Feb. 28.

Photo by Donna Agusti

STERLING HEIGHTS — In their first-ever trip to the state finals, the Utica Eisenhower girls bowling team took 11th place out of 18 teams, playing at Sunnybrook Lanes on Feb. 28.

The Eagles fell 66 pins short of making the cut for quarterfinals by collecting 3,321 total pins in the eight baker, two individual game format. The Eagles’ performance was highlighted by the team’s 211 in the fourth baker game. Haley Zynda’s 255 in the first round of individual games helped put the Eagles in contention.

“We were up and down in the bakers — weren’t throwing the ball really well — but we finished the bakers strong and put ourselves within about 70 pins of the qualifying cut after the baker games,” Eisenhower coach Mike Pollack said. “Unfortunately, we had a couple bad breaks and lapses in concentration.”

Despite not qualifying for the knockout rounds of the state tournament, the Eagles experienced much success this season, which was capped off with their trip to states.

“We started out the year with our goal being to make it to states. We knew we could win some tournaments here or there. We knew we had a fairly strong team, but we never made it over the hurdle of regionals,” Pollack said. “It was a good experience for the girls, and it’s the first time a lot of them have been in competition at that level. For the first time being up there, they did a really good job.”

Elizabeth Ireland was the lone senior on the team, and Pollack said that she has been a very important part of getting Eisenhower to states.

“She’s (Ireland) probably the strongest bowler we have, when it comes to pressure situations. If she’s got to make a good shot, nine times out of 10, she’s going to make a good shot. She may get a bad break here or there, but she’s going to be close. If I had anybody right now to throw a strike to win something, I’d have her throwing the ball,” Pollack said.

Ireland got another chance to show off her talent at the individual state tournament, which was held the next day. She placed fifth out of 60 bowlers in the six-game qualifying block by collecting 1,308 total pins. Ireland fell in her round of 16 match against Emily Dietz, of Westland John Glenn, by a score of 418-409.

The other members of the Eisenhower team this year were Mackenzie Janssen, Madison Mcnamara, Nicole Yakimovich and Carly Schiner.

Individual boys have strong showing
Utica senior Andrew Venturini and Eisenhower freshman Chris Ireland each made it to the knockout rounds of the boys’ state individual tournament.

Venturini led all bowlers in the 60-person field with a cumulative score of 1,450 pins after the six game qualifying block. Ireland was second to Venturini with 1,437 total pins.

In the round of 16, Venturini defeated Jake Herndel, of Howell, by a score of 419-371 while Ireland fell to Eric Wagner, of Clarkston, by a score of 480-400. The scores in the knockout rounds are determined by a cumulative total of two individual games. Venturini lost in his quarterfinal matchup against Justin Taylor, of Macomb Dakota, by a score of 446-353.