by Ken Brown
BARRE – After four runner-up finishes this season, the Craftsbury Academy (CA) bowling team finally cracked the code over the weekend, defeating top-seeded Central Division rival Randolph to claim their first varsity title in their final regular season match at Twin City Lanes.
Freshman Jacob Marquis threw three straight strikes in the tenth frame of the championship match and Randolph could not answer as the Chargers took home their first title in school history on Saturday afternoon. CA started the individual portion on the day seeded second, behind Marquis’ (198, 181), a 198 from Joe Wilcox, and a 170 from senior Will Patnoe. The Chargers swept tournament host Twinfield-Cabot in the opening round 189-100, 160-70. Next up was Randolph, who is ranked fourth in the state and has had the Chargers number this season. CA set the tone early in the opening game, running away 180-52 and setting up Marquis’ heroics to sweep the Galloping Ghosts 158-147 to capture their first ever title.
“Craftsbury bowling finally got over the hump,” said head coach Connor Bean. “We did a good job of sweeping Twinfield-Cabot and setting up a rematch against a very good Randolph team and this time the result was different. Jacob forced Randolph’s Blake Bliss to equal his three strikes in the tenth and when he left the 10 pin in the first frame we knew we had our first title in Craftsbury Academy Bowling history. The win also moved us ahead of South Burlington in the standings and we’ll be the only team in the state to bring our entire starting five to the state tournament. We have the week off to recharge and get ready for Rutland,” added Bean.
The win moved CA past S. Burlington by one point to take over the sixth spot in the state rankings out of 12 teams. Randolph will go into the state tournament ranked fourth behind top-seeded Brattleboro. The top 32 bowlers in the state will compete at Rutland in the State Individual Tournament on Saturday. Will Patnoe is currently ranked sixth in the state with an 182 average, Jacob Marquis 16th (163 avg.), Matt Wilcox 26th (156 avg.), Jason Brown 31st (151 avg.), and Joe Wilcox 32nd with a 150 average. The team state championship tournament will be held at Twin City Lanes on March 4.