By Ben Murphy
Winning one Division 4 bowling state championship? That’s pretty special. Winning back-to-back championships? That’s something on another level entirely. That is exactly what Gobles junior Morgan Brunner did on Saturday however, when she rolled her way to her second straight individual title, at M-66 Bowl in Battle Creek.
“Considering at the start of the program my freshman year, one of my goals was to win a state title so it is crazy that I have won two,” she said. “I also won regionals this year, so that was another one of my goals. I have completed two of my biggest goals of high school bowling, which is really cool because I am just in my junior year.”
Her mother Karrie Brunner doubles as her coach. She felt the accomplishment was extra sweet for her daughter, considering she played a vital role in even getting the team started.
“When she was a freshman the school didn’t have a bowling team so she said, ‘hey mom, if we have a bowling team will you coach?’ and I said ‘absolutely,’” Karrie Brunner said. “We got the players together to bowl, went to the athletic director and she made it happen.”
Morgan has certainly made it happen at the state finals. The three time qualifier and two-time champion, finished fourth with a six game series of 1084 in the qualifying block. In the first round of bracket action, bowling two game series, she topped Destiny Ranquist of Bad Axe 365-286. In the quarterfinals, against Bronson’s Morgan McCon she out-rolled her 386-320 and in the semi-finals it was a 406-364 win over Brooke Vanous of Pittsford.
She went up against Idalia Hernandez of Bronson in the finals, and trailed 220-198 after the first series. She regrouped to out-bowl Hernandez 210-160 in the second game, giving her the 408 to 380 victory.
“I was happy with the qualifying block, considering I didn’t think I shot that well, I still stayed in fourth,” Morgan Brunner said. “In the finals she led after the first game so I was a little bit nervous she was going to keep striking and score higher than me to win, but I dug deep and threw the best shots I could to come out with the win.”
Her parent-coach really didn’t have to say much to keep her on track either.
“With Morgan, we never really have to tell her much, we just encouraged her and told her to stay focused,” Karrie Brunner said. “She is very self-sufficient on the lanes. Her father (Scott Brunner) and I love watching her succeed, and growing into a leader. We are just very proud of her and her accomplishments so far and we can’t wait to see what she does in her senior year.”
Morgan Brunner added she fell in love with the sport thanks to her parents, who put her introduced her to bowling at an early age.
“They grew up in bowling and got me into it too,” she said.
And as for next winter?
“I want to try to be one of the first people to win three in a row,” Morgan Brunner said.