By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Katie Stephens changed Clarkston High School history on her first trip to the MHSAA Division 1 Girls Singles Bowling State Championship at Thunderbowl Lanes, March 4.
Stephens, a sophomore, finished the round with a 411 against Flushing’s Hannah Reid’s 307 to win Clarkston’s first girls bowling state championship.
“It feels really good,” said Stephens about winning. “Last year I didn’t even qualify for states so it feels pretty good I could qualify this year and win it. I couldn’t even believe it the first day.”
She bowled a 187 in the first game of the championship but it was the second game she thought she was going to win it before finishing with a 224.
“My coach was reassuring me if I just stay clean with my shots I will win,” she said. “Once I started doing that I knew I was already the winner.”
Stephens finished the qualifying block in third place with 1,199 after six games, which included a 266 game.
For the first round in the finals, she bowled games of 204 and 200 for a 404. Stephens scored 235 and 205 games in the quarterfinals for a 440. Then, in the semifinals she had a 151 and 198 for 349 to beat Traverse City West’s Taylor Phillips who had a 326 series.
“It awesome watching her,” shared her mom, Tricia. “At one point she had eight strikes in a row. She was bowling some really good games. She was hoping to make the cut – she made the cut. She loves bowling. I am glad she was able to win for Clarkston.”
Katie’s sister, Abby, also qualified for the state finals and finished with 891 in the qualifying block.
“It’s incredible,” Katie shared about being at state finals with her sister. “I didn’t even think I would make it and making it with my sister is amazing.”
She shared her sophomore year went the best it could go.
“I feel like I did really good in tournaments this year,” Katie said, adding she had personal highlights with the highest average in the OAA league along with the highest game and the second highest series.
Katie began bowling when she was five-years-old and her success is helped by the people around her.
“My coaches and definitely my parents,” she said. “My dad really helps me through a lot of my games. My sister being on the team really helps. She is really good, and I love her being on my team.”
“Her dad (Ted) has definitely coached her and gave her pointers,” Tricia said.
Katie shared winning the championship helps her as she goes into her junior and senior years.
“It reassures me that I’ve got it,” she said. “I know what I can do, and I can continue doing what I do.”
As Katie prepares to continue bowling during the off season, she shared she is grateful for her family, coaches and the Clarkston community.
“Thank you for always supporting me,” she said.