January 25, 2012 - Oxford's varsity bowling team was one frame away from walking away with an Oakland County bowling title Jan. 22.
Already defeating Waterford Mott 225-200 in game one of the county finals, Oxford sophomore Brandon Hurlburt threw a strike and a spare in the 10th frame, forcing Mott's anchor R.J. Woods to throw at least two strikes to win the match.
Woods came through, throwing two strikes and knocking down nine pins to give Mott a come-from-behind 415-409 victory over the Wildcats.
"What an effort by this group of young men," varsity coach JR Lafnear said. "They competed against some real great teams and held their own. They were just determined not to lose and they were strong all day."
The boys were seeded seventh after the qualifying rounds. They would first defeat Ferndale 371-351 in the round of 16, South Lyon East 427-299 in the quarterfinals before facing Walled Lake Western in the semifinals.
They defeated Western 398-349 to advance to the Oakland County Finals for the first time ever.
The Wildcats were led by sophomore Sean McKinney, who shot a 671 and Hurlburt's 666. Both McKinney and Hurlburt posted top ten scores on the day.
Junior Shawn Donaldson shot a 566, and senior Mitch Guzanek came off the bench to roll a 179.
Oxford's varsity girls team didn't fare quite as well as the boys.
After qualifying third, the Wildcats quickly dispatched Novi 354-277 in the round of 16, but ran into trouble against Clarkston in the round of eight. The Wildcats lost game one 206-189, and game two 166-146.
Clarkston would go on to lose to Lake Orion in the County Tournament finals.
The girls were led by senior Colleen Walters, who bowled games of 221,223 and 205. Junior Caitlyn Wroblewski also chipped in with games of 246, 186 and 212.
Both Walters and Wroblewski made the all tournament team, and Wroblewski's 246 was one of the top 10 tournament games.
Senior Heather Lafnear rolled games of 178, 182 and 185 and fellow senior Alex Logan contributed games of 156 and 190. Freshmen Elisa Atyeo came off the bench to roll a 185 in her first varsity tournament.
"We did some things we have never done," Lafnear said. "All three regular games were all over 900 (and) we got two girls in the top 10. However, we left a lot of pins on the deck and we can do better. We have some real big challenges coming in the second half of the season and I think we can get much more out of this team."
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.