It marks the first state team title in any sport for the Skippers since boys track and field repeated as Class A state champions in 1964 and 1965.
On a jubilant ride back, Fairport bowlers and Coach Jerry Rich basked in a milestone moment for the program and community.
“And I know the community has been super supportive, especially this year with our program and all of the success that we’ve had. I know the families, we’ve all just gotten so close in the past four years that this just really feels like a family thing more than anything at this point.”
Fairport was sixth out of the qualifying round with a total score of 3,020, then defeated St. Mary’s Memorial and Bryan to advance to the state final against top seed Coldwater.
“I think we all just kept our heads up,” Coll said. “We went into (the qualifying round) confidently, knowing that we have the potential to make it through each round and to win. So our attitudes really helped a lot. We made sure that we acted as a team and helped raise each other’s self-esteem if we threw a bad shot. It was really just a lot of teamwork that helped us to get through it.”
In the final, the Skippers lost Game 1, 168-147, before charging back to capture the last three games and the match, 187-155, 190-169 and 201-166.
“As you get to those higher rounds, you really just get excited and start moving a little faster — throwing the ball a little harder,” Coll said. “So it’s just reminding each other to slow it down, breathe — that’s what really helped us come back those last three games and just beat them.
“It’s super awesome, and we’re all very excited about it that we have been able to have such a successful program and to finally be able to bring home a state title to the school and our community.”
Individually, seniors Sierra Sadler was 17th overall with a 541 series, and Coll was 30th with a 514. Junior Emily Eldridge tied for 33rd with a 509.
For a community with generational roots so firmly entrenched — Rich included with his family’s Rich Lanes in Fairport Harbor — the chance to put their small but mightily proud village further on the map in the Buckeye State was a day to hold dear.
“We have been knocking on the door a little bit the past nine years with the bowling program,” Rich said. “We’re so happy to get it done.
“We are definitely tied in. Everybody is still there — I’m in Painesville, but we’ve got the bowling alley. We are very tied in. I definitely feel like we’re part of the fabric of the community. It’s a community win for sure. Bowling alleys are a place where a lot of people can hang out and enjoy themselves — it’s a community win for sure.”