Page High School had just six bowlers last season.
When Brian Magochy and Eric Barnes took over the bowling program this year as coaches, they put the word out and had 10 times that show up the first day.
On Thursday at Franklin Lanes, the Page bowling turnaround continued as the Lady Patriots defeated Franklin 17-10 to win the school's first Division I, Region 5 championship and advance one away from qualifying for the upcoming state tournament next week. In the boys’ final, Brentwood edged Franklin, 14-13, as the region championships featured an all-Williamson County finals for the first time.
“None of us had ever bowled before and we jus started this year because we love our coaches,” Page’s Harper Nason said after her team earned the right to host Saturday’s sectional match. “This is huge for Page and it’s so fun to be a part of.
“We all came out for fun and now we are region champs.”
“It’s just insane,” Lady Patriot Elli Pace added. “State wasn’t even in our minds at all and now we’re here,” one win away. Page will host Creek Wood Saturday at 9 a.m. at Franklin Lanes, while Franklin travels to face White House in a sectional matchup.
Nason, who also plays tennis with Pace, won all three of her games Thursday, including bowling a Game 2 high 178 in her win over Franklin’s Maddie Ludwig.
The Lady Rebels claimed the District 9 title over Page, but the Lady Patriots built an early 12-4 lead and stayed in front Thursday.
Daphne Pruitt had the high game for the region final for Page, bowling a 219 in the third game.
Region bowling finals at Franklin Lanes are all-Williamson County matchups ... Page girls vs. Franklin; Brentwood boys vs. Franklin. pic.twitter.com/5W3598vsGo— Charles Pulliam (@cspulliam) January 16, 2020
The Lady Patriots continued to give credit to full-time Page teachers Magochy, who is also an assistant football coach, and Barnes, who is also the tennis coach at the school.
“They brought in players from other sports and just made it fun,” Nason said.
In the boys’ match, Brentwood has become accustomed to prevailing in some tight battles and Thursday was no different. They recently held off Franklin in the District 9 championship, winning by just two pins.
Thursday wasn’t that close in a rivalry rematch, but it was another battle in the lanes against the Rebels.
“This is the fourth time we have played Franklin this season and every single match comes right down to the wire,” Brentwood coach Brian Popovich said. “We’re just two really, really evenly matched teams.
“We came out today a little flat, but battled in front in the second game and that third game was just back-and-forth.”
Seniors Drake Austin, who bowled a 279 in the region semifinal win against Overton, and Coleman Bryant led the Bruins by winning all three of their games. Bryant, who has qualified for the individual state tournament at the Smyrna Bowling Center Jan. 23-25, bowled a team-high 222 in his Game 2 win over Franklin’s Sam Walsh.
“We went down by like 19 pins in the first match, but we didn’t let that affect us and just kept rolling,” Bryant said. “It’s a big win. Franklin has always been the team we have fought hard against and we pulled through.”
Bryant said the two schools have become close, but during the match, it’s all a battle.
“I mean, you say hi prior and shake your friends’ hands, but during the match, it’s almost like they’re the enemy,” Bryant said. "It makes it fun for sure."
“You have to get into your zone and stay in it,” Austin added.
The two seniors said Thursday’s atmosphere at Franklin Lanes added to the fun. Both schools and the girls final brought out a large group of parents and fans that stayed rowdy throughout the finals.
“When everyone starts cheering when you get a streak going or something and you have the whole alley watching you, it gets pretty fun,” Austin said.
“You feel that energy and fuels you to just be better and bowl better,” Austin said. “Now we will just keep the same momentum we built and try to push through.”
The Brentwood boys will face Lebanon Monday morning at 9 a.m. at Franklin Lanes, while the Rebels travel to Cookeville to face Upperman with the winners advancing to the team state tournament.
Other individual state qualifiers from the county include Franklin’s Ludwig, Centennial junior Frankie Negron and Brentwood junior Molly Austin.
Next week state bowling begins with the individual quarterfinals and semifinals on Thursday and the championships to follow Friday morning before team play begins Friday afternoon with championships Saturday.
2020 Region 5 Bowling Championships Thursday, Jan. 16 at Franklin Lanes
Page girls (2,691 total pins) def. Franklin (2,613), 17-10
GIRLS Game 1
Page (924) def. Franklin (851), 6-2
Rachel Johnson, FHS, def. Elli Pace 136-120; Riley Garretson, FHS, def. Jennifer Lowe, 135-131; Sammi Bugter, PHS, def. Andi Nigro, 178-145; Daphne Pruitt, PHS, def. Leia Miller, 166-155; Sarah Garrett, PHS, def. Aubrianna Hurt, 151-136; Harper Nason, PHS, def. Maddie Ludwig, 178-144.
GIRLS Game 2
Page (861) def. Franklin (824), 6-2
Johnson, FHS, def. Pace, 179-150; Lowe, PHS, def. Garretson, 160-144; Nigro, FHS, def. Bugter, 144-142; Pruitt, PHS, def. Miller, 144-124; Garett, PHS, def. Hurt (Haven sub in 6th frame), 141-113; Nason PHS, def. Ludwig, 124-120.
GIRLS Game 3
Franklin (938) def. Page (906), 6-2
Johnson, FHS, def. Pace, 166-158; Garretson, FHS, def. Lowe, 189-130; Nigro, FHS, def. Bugter, 137-108; Pruitt, PHS, def. Miller, 219-147; Haven, FHS, def. Garett, 150-130; Nason, PHS, def. Ludwig, 161-149.
Brentwood boys (3,201) def. Franklin (3,167), 14-13
BOYS Game 1
Franklin (1,095) 3, Brentwood (1076) 3
Drake Austin, BHS, def. Harrison Miller-Hill, 199-162; Brian Keener, FHS, def. Harrison Sampietro, 190-168; Coleman Bryant, BHS, def. Sam Walsh, 200-170; Drew Whelan, FHS, def. Camden Bryant (Trent McNeilly sub in 6th frame), 224-152; Will Hamilton, BHS, def. Reid Kuefler, 168-139; Will Wiggins, FHS, def. Andrew McCullough, 210-189.
BOYS Game 2
Brentwood (1,146) def. Franklin (1,067), 4-2
Austin, BHS, def. Miller-Hill, 193-172; Sampietro, FHS, def. Keener, 171-153; Co. Bryant, BHS, def. Walsh, 222-200; Whelan, FHS, def. McNeilly, 200-180; Joshua Chambers (sub), FHS, Hamilton, 180-174; McCullough, BHS, def. Wiggins, 206-162.
BOYS Game 3
Franklin (1,005) def. Brentwood (979), 4-2
Austin, BHS, def. Miller-Hill, 205-153; Keener, FHS, def. Sampietro, 157-155; Co. Bryant, BHS, def. Walsh, 170-162; Whelan, FHS, def. McNeilly, 189-145; Chambers (sub Jacob Weatherford in 5th), FHS, def. Hamilton, 166-145; Wiggins, FHS, def. McCullough, 178-157.