2021: A season of ups and downs for FHC bowling


When losses start to pile up and things don’t go according to plan, it’s easy to wave the white flag in the air and call it quits. 

“Both teams [boys and girls] did a great job of consistently showing up to practice after difficult losses,” head coach Terry Metzner said. “Even though there were times when things hit the fan, the boys and girls still impressed me by never laying out excuses when games were on the line.” 

Throughout the season’s grueling gauntlet of “never laying out excuses when games were on the line,” the FHC strikesmen finished their season with a 1-13 overall record, while the girls finished their season with a 0-14 overall record. It certainly wasn’t always pretty, but the boys and girls still were able to cherish one of the more “normal” high school sports seasons in West Michigan this year. Unlike other high school contact sports in Michigan, the FHC boys and girls bowling teams have not fallen victim to any Covid-19 postponements or cancellations. Their season, for what it’s worth, was surprisingly concrete: start on January 25th and end on March 15th. 

“Because bowling is a contactless sport, we were able to at least bowl two matches a week without any hassle of dealing with rescheduling postponed matches,” coach Metzner stressed. “So for that, I’m definitely grateful.”

Without any Covid-related speed bumps along the way to throw them off of their groove, most people probably thought that everything would smoothly fall into place. However, it took 13 games for the boys to pop open the victory bottle with a Red Arrow. A thriller inside Hillcrest Lanes, that contest had almost every quintessential aspect for a sporting event lined up in perfect order. It was against the defending Regional champs in Lowell. It was the second to last regular game of the season. And, it temporarily formed a formidable quadruple of senior Tommie Payne, senior Joshua Allen, senior David Whittaker, and sophomore Peyton Price. Their individual game triumphs solidified the strikesmen of FHC’s inaugural win of the season, beating Lowell by a score of 17-14. 

“All three of us played our best games of the season in the second game versus Lowell,” Peyton explained, “so it collectively increased the team’s chances at winning because all we needed that night was for a few people to step up.”

For the girls squad, the score sheet never revealed a win in favor of them. With that being said, though, their most complete game this past season was their March 3rd conquest against East Grand Rapids in which they put up a solid fight down by 22 points. With two 123’s to go around the table, freshman Skyler Tierney and Mary Kate Dean took charge and led their team to the most points scored all year. The 26-4 loss was clouded by baker game mishaps, so they could have potentially stolen the game if their baker game performances were in harmony with their individual game production. 

“This season was my first time bowling competitively,” Skyler said. “All I was expecting was to have fun and play with some close friends.”

Although next season seems miles away right now, coach Metzner and next year’s seniors have high ambitions to revamp the program’s culture into a competitive atmosphere. One way they plan to make next season “the season” is by hitting the gas with full-force this offseason. 

“It would be awesome to see the boys grind during the offseason, but I think the girls would benefit the most out of a summer filled with bowling because they have so much potential,” coach Metzner said. “It would be a shame for all of their hard work and vital experience this season to go to waste.”

Between the summer offseason training system and the number of returning bowlers, the 2021-2022 FHC bowling season should include more ups than downs. Players like sophomore Peyton Price, junior Zach Guikema, junior Joey Spaletto, and freshman Skyler Tierney look to be integral pieces of next year’s run towards a brighter future. 

“I am so proud of all the players who came out this year and persevere through the losses,” coach Metzner concluded. “All of the losses this year proved to be difficult at the time, but those losses will create more motivation for a much more experienced team next year.”