Highland Lanes in Hillsboro will host a bowling tournament Saturday involving 40 varsity boys and girls teams from 20 high schools around Southern Ohio.
Dubbed the IronClad, the tournament will take place in two shifts with the first beginning at 9 a.m. and the second starting at about 2:30 p.m. Doors open at 8 a.m. and spectators are welcome to view the games for a $5 entrance fee.
This is the second year of the tournament.
“It’s kind of hard to describe what it’s like when you dream up these things and then it sells out the second year,” said Highland Lanes owner Jeffrey Griffith. “We had to take a couple of teams that tried to get in this year and tell them we don’t have any room.” He credited Highland Lanes Manager Roxie Brunk with coming up with the idea for the tournament and mentioned Highland Lanes employee James Scott and Hillsboro High School bowling coach Shane Ison for their contributions to its success.
Each team will bowl eight Baker [a team scoring system] games, and the games will take place across 10 lanes before scores are totaled. “The top four teams in varsity boys and varsity girls will them bowl eliminators,” said Griffith. “They’ll have a semifinal match and then a final match with three games deciding each of those.”
Griffith said last year’s event drew about 30 varsity teams. “It’s nothing even close to this year as far as what we are going to see as far as fan turnout, parents and just the overall participation of the schools,” he said.
Although the performance of the teams in the tournament will factor into their rankings, they are primarily competing for bragging rights, a large trophy and medals. “The tournament absolutely counts as part of the high school season, but the games are not counted as victories and losses due to the fact that there are so many schools there,” said Griffith. “That would be an atrocious thing to have to have the school that places tenth take nine losses on the year.”
Griffith said he is looking forward to the event and passing out the awards. “The thing that is probably best for this tournament for the adults is we’ve got kids, and we see some great things,” he said. “For the youngsters it’s probably just seeing all the parents excited to be there, and it’s always great to hand out a piece of hardware. It’s a great thing when you know that thing is going to go in the school (trophy) case for the duration of the school.”
According to Griffith, there are several other local tournaments around Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati, but he saw the need for one here. “We’ve got a beautiful place down here,” he said. “We’ve got one of the nicest bowling alleys in Ohio, and I thought it was kind of a waste for us not to have this very large Baker tournament.”
Griffith said coaches from some of the areas colleges come to the tournament to recruit bowlers.
He said the Miami Trace Panthers are a team to watch in the first half of the tournament. “Those kids are phenomenal, and I can tell you those kids know how to use the bowling balls and perfect a craft.” He also mentioned East Clinton as a team to watch.
For the second half of the tournament, he singled out Centerville, Clinton-Massie and Hillsboro as strong contenders.
This year proceeds from the tournament will go to the Lynchburg-Clay High School athletic department.
“I’d like to thank all the parents,” said Griffith. “They are the reason this event has been such a success over the last two years and this year especially.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.