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Area bowlers team up to nab national crown

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Cody Brown now can add a new title to his name: national champion.

The Fort Frances resident was a member of the Northern Ontario 'B' team, comprised of fellow Sunset Country bowlers, that captured the gold medal at the 2018 Inter-Provincial National Championship on Saturday afternoon in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

The team, which also featured Kailee Ernewein of Dryden, Kyle Hamilton of Balmertown, and Jessica Scott of Kenora, along with coach Terry DeLaronde from Dryden, defeated Manitoba 'B' five points to two in the gold-medal final of the pins over average (P.O.A.) event.

In a tense showdown that came down to the 10th and final frame, Ernewein and Scott rolled games of 223 (+75) and 202 (+28), respectively, to take their individual points.

The team also took total (three points) by finishing with a 770 (+73 above their collective average) while Manitoba 'B,' the only team to beat them during the preliminary round, managed a 685 (+44)—a difference of just +29.

“I felt shocked and amazed,” Brown said via Facebook about the moment after the points were tallied and Northern Ontario was declared the winner.

“A tear came out of my eye and [I] was so happy we did it as a team.”

The team had advanced to the I-P Nationals after finishing in second place at the provincial roll-offs held in North Bay back in late February.

As Northern Ontario 'B,' the quartet took part in Pool 'B' during the eight-game preliminary round in P.E.I.

After a shaky start Friday, in which they took just one point of a possible seven against Manitoba 'B,' the squad cruised from there—winning their final seven matches to finish in first place with 46.5 points and a whopping +773 over their collective averages.

That included taking six points against Ontario 'A,' 6.5 points against Alberta 'B,' seven points against both Newfoundland/Labrador 'A' and P.E.I. 'B,' and then five points versus Northwest Territories 'B.'

After their bye Saturday morning, the team capped pool play by garnering seven points against both Saskatchewan 'B' and Nova Scotia 'B.'

So dominating was their run, in fact, that Northern Ontario already had clinched top spot before they faced Nova Scotia in their final round-robin match.

Manitoba 'B' was a distant second with 36 points.

Ernewein led the way in the preliminary round, finishing with a 1,505 total (188.13 average) over the eight games that was +321 above her 148 entry average.

Hamilton had a 1,714 total (214.25 average) that was +250 over his 183 entry average while Scott totalled 1,621 (202.63 average) that was +249 above her 174 entry average.

Brown, who had the highest entry average on the team at 193, totalled 1,489 (186.13 average) to finish at minus-47.

Their first-place finish in Pool 'B' put Northern Ontario against Manitoba 'A,' the second-place finisher in Pool 'A,' in the semi-finals later Saturday.

And it was a clean sweep as Hamilton (245), Ernewein (234), Brown (202), and Scott (198) all won their individual points en route to a 879 total (+182) versus a 677 total (minus-22) for Manitoba 'A.'

That set up a re-match with Manitoba 'B,' who had defeated Alberta 'A' five points to two in their semi-final showdown, with the gold medal on the line.

“My team meshed together strong," the 24-year-old Brown said. ”If we had a bad frame, [we] moved to the next frame.

"[Everyone] was very encouraging, cheering us on, and our coach always told us slow down and stay on [our] spot.

“I appreciate what my teammates did," he added. ”We stuck close and we won gold.

“I also wanna thank my coach for everything she has done.”

For its win, the team received gold medals, wrist watches, and a cheque for $2,900.

The team also received several honours, including Team High Single P.O.A. (+199), Team High Single Game Scratch (896), Team High Triple Game P.O.A. (+318), Team High 8 Games P.O.A. (+753), and Team High 8 Games Scratch (6,329).

As well, three of the four members garnered individual accolades.

Ernewein was first for High 8 Game P.O.A. (+321) while Scott was fifth (+229).

Hamilton was first for Individual High Triple Game P.O.A. (+137) and finished second overall for the men (+250).

“Everyone bowled just awesome,” said Times' editor Mike Behan, who is president of both the Fort Frances Bowling Club and the Sunset Country zone.

"On behalf of our zone, it want to extend my heartiest congratulations to Cody, Kailee, Jessica, Kyle, and Terry for winning the national championship.

“I'm so happy for them,” added Behan, who was glued to his computer screen Saturday afternoon to watch a live-stream of the final.

"Having bowled both with and against all of them at various competitions over the years, it could not have happened to a more deserving group of people.

“And it was especially cool that the team was made up of bowlers from each of the four clubs in our zone.”

The victory also is what makes bowling so special for Behan.

“Here we had four people from small clubs across Northwestern Ontario, sporting averages of 148 to 193, coming home with a national crown,” he remarked.

“It just goes to show you what opportunities bowling can offer to anyone regardless of your skill level.”

Brown, meanwhile, said it was amazing to compete at a national tournament.

“Everything was organized perfectly, the food excellent and the view amazing, and so many nice people there,” he enthused, adding his goals going in were to have fun and meet new bowlers from across Canada.

“I have been bowling since I was six years old,” Brown noted.

“This is something I've wanted to do when I was a kid and I accomplished it, and now I would love to go back to nationals again.”

Northern Ontario 'A,' which featured bowlers from the Gateway zone (North Bay), wound up finishing last in the nine-team Pool 'A' with 18.5 points.

Alberta 'A' topped that pool with 39 points, followed by Manitoba 'A' at 37.

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