By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — The day after clinching at least a share of its sixth straight division championship, the Troy girls bowling team wrapped up its fourth outright title and second in a row.
The Trojan boys, meanwhile, made sure they stayed within striking distance of the current Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division leader, sitting one game back with three matches remaining.
All while honoring the team’s seniors.
Despite the cold temperatures and sudden snow Friday, the Troy bowling teams were still able to host their Senior Day festivities Friday at Troy Bowl in a GWOC American North matchup against Greenville, with the girls cruising to a 2,245-1,842 win and the boys posting a 2,425-2,118 victory over the Green Wave.
Before the match, the team’s seniors were honored: Cassidy McMullen, Alyssa Shilt and Stephanie Crider for the girls and Preston Gambrell and Preston Jackson for the boys.
The win was the sixth straight for Troy’s girls, who improved to 12-1 overall and 12-0 in the GWOC American North, allowing them to maintain a four-game lead over second-place Butler in the standings with only three matches left on the schedule and clinching the outright title — and with that major goal out of the way, it allows the team to focus on its ultimate goal of getting back to state.
It was the fourth straight title for all three of Troy’s senior girls — even Crider, who transferred to Troy from Butler her junior year. As a freshman and a sophomore, Crider’s Aviators shared the division title with the Trojans, and Troy has won the outright title in her junior and senior years.
“It makes it extra special,” Troy girls coach Rob Dever said. “These seniors we have, especially the two that have been with us all four years, they were a special class, and they accomplished a lot. Stephanie came her junior year last year, and she just fit right in.”
McMullen and Shilt are also the final two seniors remaining from the Trojans’ state championship team, as they were part of the varsity team that won the title in the 2015-16 season. They’ve placed at the state tournament all three seasons so far, and, with the division race out of the way, Dever hopes that they can continue that postseason tradition this year.
“We had them bring their rings out for the one last time we get to celebrate together,” Dever said. “They have the talent (to get back to state), but it’s really tough. With their experience, they know what it takes.
“We hit a point this season where we kind of plateaued, so we had a little talk about how we’re not quite on the path to get to state. Now they’re starting to work extra, and it’s starting to show. Their scores have been pretty good the last couple of weeks, so hopefully we’re going to be peaking at the right time.”
And there were more high scores on Friday.
Cassidy McMullen led the way with 263-213—476, and freshman Kayleigh McMullen — who narrowly missed a perfect game on Thursday against Sidney — was right behind with 238-223—461. Shilt rolled 187-181—368, Crider rolled 183-160—343, Morgan Shilt added a 116 game and Kylie Schiml had a 111 as the Trojans led 982-778 after the first game, 1,875-1,523 after regular bowling and rolled 177-193 in the baker games to close it out.
Kayleigh McMullen, Morgan Shilt and Schiml are all freshmen.
“I told the seniors that they’ve gotten the chance to experience state all three years. And we’ve got some freshmen on this team that have never been to state,” Dever said. “I tried to challenge them a little bit to help get these freshmen some experience of what state’s all about, then next year it’ll be up to the freshmen to keep it going from there.
“Once you get there, you see what it’s about and how cool it is, it just gives you extra incentive in the offseason to get better so you can do it again. We’re just trying to get on that upwards ramp that will lead us there right now.”
The young Troy boys team, meanwhile, improved to 12-2 overall and 10-2 in the GWOC American North, remaining one game back of 11-1 Butler — which the Trojans face on the road on Monday. The last time the Trojans won a division title was the 2012-13 season. The current Troy seniors have finished third in the North each of their three seasons to this point.
“All of them are important,” Troy boys coach Doug Stone said. “We’ve got Butler coming up Monday, so that’ll be one we have to push for, doing all the correct things, picking up our spares, things like that. If we can conquer them, we may be able to take the division, which would be nice for the boys. In their careers, they haven’t come this close.”
And it’s been a team mentality that has carried the Trojan boys to this point.
“They’ve done really well this year. If one guy struggles, the other guys pick them up,” Stone said.
Jordan Fisher led the Trojans Friday, rolling 246-238—484, followed by Gambrell, who rolled 221-203—424. Carson Rogers rolled 197-183—370, Preston Jackson rolled 180-174—354, Brayden Ganger added a 194 game and Drew Snurr rolled a 173.
Troy led 1,017-884 after one game and 2,009-1,772 at the close of regular bowling, then the Trojans rolled 213-203 in the baker games to finish off the win.
“That was a good one for Senior Day,” Stone said. “Preston Gambrell shot 424, which is good for him. And Preston Jackson struggled a little bit but still did well.”
The Trojans will play a pair of matches on the road next week, including the big one at Butler Monday. Troy then travels to Tippecanoe Feb. 8 before closing out the regular season with one final home match against Piqua on Feb. 14.
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.