Eastwood girls bowling coach Jay Young knew his team could do better after watching the Eagles place third behind Sandusky and Marion Harding at the sectional tournament in Fostoria.
"We were very disappointed," Young said. "I saw a lot of nervousness and saw the girls melt down a little bit."
Young asked a good friend, sports trauma doctor Ed Wojciechowski, to come in and give his troops a pep talk.
"He talked about pressure and the grind during our practice for the districts," Young said. "The girls had a completely different mental outlook at the districts. I think he was instrumental in helping us out mentally."
Whatever the doctor talked about, it worked for Eastwood on Feb. 28 at the district tournament in Lima. The Eagles earned a second-place finish behind Napoleon to advance to Friday's 16-team state tournament in Lancaster. Only the top two teams advanced.
Eastwood's five bowlers rolled 3,762 pins, which consisted of three regular games and two Baker games (alternating bowlers). Napoleon had 3,826 pins.
"It was an excellent performance," Young said. "We shot 920 the first game, 950 the second game and 771 our third game, which was crushing. We just stayed mentally tough in the Baker games and came back and made it.
"We were in first or second place after the first two games and then fell to fourth after the fourth game. But, we fought back like we have all year and ended up qualifying."
A trip to the state tournament caps an amazing season for the Eagles, who won the Sandusky Bay Area Bowling Conference with a 13-0 record and finished 17-0 overall.
Sophomore Mikayla Young, the coach's daughter, and senior Carrie Lorenzen both earned first-team all-conference honors. Young, who placed sixth at districts with a 585 series, also has the highest game in the state for a high school girl. She rolled a 299 game at Varsity Lanes, which Jay Young owns, against Rossford on Feb. 19.
"I was very happy for her," the coach said. "We wanted to see her shoot (her first) 300."
Lorenzen led Eastwood with a 193 average this season, while Young had a 185 average. The rest of the team consists of sophomore Brandi Roller (161 average), junior Mallory Fritz (159), senior Emily Walston (154), junior Jessica Heestand (124) and sophomores Kelsey Waynick (134) and Peyton Himburg (134).
Eastwood was a district qualifier last season and took fifth. Walston, Lorenzen, Young and Fritz were all starters on that team.
"Last year we had freshmen and sophomores, with one or two juniors," coach Young said. "I knew we'd be pretty good this year. Our goals were to go undefeated, win the conference, win the conference tournament and go to state. We've met four of the goals and now we've set a new goal."
The state tournament will be held at Tikki Lanes in Lancaster. The format calls for each team to bowl three regular games and three Baker games. The top eight teams advance to the elimination round using the Baker format.
"We've got as good a shot as anybody else," coach Young said. "We have to get through to the top eight, and anything can happen. We've been confident all year. We just have to maintain our confidence. The girls believe in themselves."