Bob Fortuna, Plain Dealer Reporter, May 07, 2013 6:20 p.m.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Anna Brigham suffers from stage fright every time she competes in singing contests throughout the year.
However, it's not a problem when the Garrettsville Garfield junior right-hander is laying down her 15-pound, blue Taboo bowling ball from the second arrow.
After bowling a 568 series at the district tournament to nail the fifth and final state qualifying spot, Brigham rolled a 544 series the following weekend at state at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl to finish 20th and earn The Plain Dealer's Girls Bowler of the Year honor.
"I was very nervous at first because I never bowled in front of that many people," said Brigham, who turned in the area's best individual effort during her state-tournament debut. "I was all right though after throwing a couple warm-up balls and watching some of the other bowlers."
Brigham was consistent all season long, and bowled that way in Columbus with games of 181, 186 and 177.
"The oil patterns were tough to figure out," said Brigham. "The lanes were heavily oiled and it took some time to get used to but I felt pretty good the way I finished."
Brigham's ability to find her comfort zone was made easier considering her uncle, Joe Brigham, is Garfield's coach and her dad, Kenny Brigham, serves as assistant coach.
"They're pretty tough on me when we're bowling by ourselves, but they've always been supportive and very cool when I'm with my teammates," said Anna, 17.
Her goal next year is to return to Columbus with a few additions.
"We had four juniors and four sophomores on this year's team, so we'll have everyone coming back," she said. "I'm really hoping we can get [to state] as a team."
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
School, year: Garrettsville Garfield, junior.
Notable: The right-hander used her blue Taboo bowling ball to roll high games of 243, 224 and 220 en route to posting a 170 season average. Rolled a two-game high series of 410 and a three-game high series of 620. Helped lead her team to a runner-up finish at sectional and fourth place at district. Placed 20th as an individual at her first state tournament.
School, year: Stow, junior.
Notable: Right-hander used her orange and purple Roto Grip Berserk bowling ball and medium hook to average 180 on the year. Was runner-up at the G-Men Classic, third as an individual qualifier at sectional, third at district and 68th in her state-tournament debut. High games included 254, 231 and 223, while her high series for two games was 471 and 611 for three games.
School, year: Garrettsville Garfield, junior.
Notable: Right-hander threw a medium hook with her dark blue and gray Columbia 300 Benchmark bowling ball to average 179 on the season. Helped lead her team to a runner-up finish at the sectional and fourth place at the district. Finished 71st at the state tournament. Team MVP had high games of 257, 247 and 238, a high two-game series of 435, along with a high three-game series of 625.
School, year: Wickliffe, junior.
Notable: Right-hander and team MVP averaged 181 pins with a medium hook while rolling her red pearl Doom bowling ball. Her high game was 258. Posted a two-game high series of 452 and had a best three-game series of 674 in winning the Nordonia Knights Classic. Placed 12th at the sectional and ninth at the district (19th overall), falling a mere 19 pins short of qualifying for the state tournament.
School, year: Springfield, sophomore.
Notable: Right-hander used four different balls during the year to post a 186 average. Earned Portage Trail Conference Metro Division and team MVP honors. Had a high game of 266, high two-game series of 450, high three-game series of 715 and placed 26th at state. Was pivotal in helping lead the team to second place at the sectional, fifth place at the district and 14th place at state.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Notable: The third-year coach, history teacher and Mogadore resident guided the Spartans to an 18-2 record and a second consecutive Portage Trail Conference Metro Division title with a 10-0 league mark. Team placed second at the sectional tournament and fifth at the district with a squad consisting of two seniors and three sophomores. The program earned its first state appearance, where it finished 14th after totaling 2,387 pins in the three-game regulation format and 2,857 in the three-game Baker format. Had three players named to the all-conference team. Each of his five bowlers finished among the top 66 at state.
Special Mention: Courtney Hegedus, Midpark; Katey Hull, North Olmsted; Amber Jones, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin; Madison Summers, Green; Kristen Trowbridge, Green.
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: email@example.com; 216-999-4665
On Twitter: @BobFortuna