In the zone
Butler's Paul wins girls bowling title
EPHRATA — One pin.
That was enough to stoke the fire which led Megan Paul to the girls singles championship at the Pennsylvania High School Bowling Championships held Friday at Dutch 222 Lanes.
The Butler senior rolled a 1,337 through six games — a 221 average — to earn the No. 1 seed in the stepladder finals. She then defeated Alexis Neuer of Lewisburg 212-185 to win the title.
Paul won the Western Regional singles crown last year and placed sixth at the state tournament. She fell just one pin short of a top-five finish and berth in the stepladder finals last season.
“It's hard to find the words, that was so upsetting,” Paul said. “I remembered every spare I missed in that tournament.
“A missed 10-pin went through my mind for weeks. I had to find a way to let last year motivate me. It was all I had left to do.”
Through seven games Friday, Paul missed only four “makeable” spares, along with two splits.
“She was picking up everything,” Butler coach Bob Cupp said. “Her performance was solid throughout the day.
“The adjustments she had to make, she made them quickly. She was making right decisions all day.”
The state tournament format requires each bowler to slide down to the next pair of lanes after each game.
“The shot is the shot, but each lane is a little different,” Cupp said.
Paul's scores were 212, 267, 215, 225, 223 and 195. She beat out Neuer by 45 pins to grab the top seed for the stepladder portion of the tournament.
Brooke Lundy of Norwin (1,276), Kimmi D'Ottavio of Avonworth (1,258) and Jamie Kulaga of Hazleton (1,248) rounded out the top five.
“The shot I was comfortable with worked for me right away. From the first game, I knew it was going to be great,” Paul said.
Paul's 267-game and a 266 rolled by Golden Tornado teammate MiKayla White — this year's Western Regional champion — were the top two games rolled among the 24 female participants in the state singles Friday. Both received awards for that distinction.
“That should lead us into Saturday pretty well,” Paul said.
Butler's girls and boys are among the 12 squads in each division competing in the team portion of the state tournament Saturday.
By earning the top seed in the stepladder final, Paul had to wait for the other four finalists to determine her opponent in the one-game title match. Neuer rolled a 237 in her last stepladder game prior to facing Paul.
“It was a little unnerving having to watch that, knowing I'd be bowling against that,” Paul admitted.
She had to wait nearly two hours before taking on Neuer for the title. Paul rolled a few practice frames and cheered on friends of hers still bowling to pass the time.
“I was able to stay busy and not sit around over-thinking my game,” she said. “I got the lead early in the final game and never let go.”
The state title ended Paul's high school career in terms of singles competition. She is headed to Lindenwood (Mo.) on a bowling scholarship in the fall.
“This was a fitting end for her. She was focused and locked in all day,” Cupp said.
White was among the leaders after the first three games of qualifying — rolling a 158, 211 and the 266 — but had to settle for a 17th-place finish with a 1,097. Butler freshman Nicole Nebel rolled a 1,029 to finish 20th. Her high game was a 214.