Greenfield-Central bowlers prepare for semistate

GREENFIELD — Greenfield-Central’s bowling teams couldn’t make a push past sectional, but the Cougars did send four boys to the New Castle Regional at Rose City Bowl on Saturday.

Clayton Spegal, Jonathan Harnish, Will Blagburn and Zachary Knopp advanced past the team’s sectional, but after a competitive day in New Castle, Spegal and Harnish are the only remaining Cougars who live to bowl another day.

Spegal, who led the boys’ team to an undefeated record in the Southern Conference this season, finished in third place (625) at the regional this past weekend to advance to the Anderson Semistate this Saturday at Championship Lanes.

Harnish’s path wasn’t as easy, according to the program’s new head coach Charlton Cavette, 28, who has coached and bowled competitively at Ball State University. Harnish finished 12th overall in the singles portion of the meet with a final score of 569. Chris Carter of New Castle won the individual title with a 710.

“(Clayton and John) had a nice turnout. John definitely has the game and skill to get (to the state finals),” Cavette said. “We have been working on the mental part of the game and his finishing. He has great form and is a very energetic bowler.”

Cavette takes over Greenfield-Central’s bowling teams in place of former coach Brian Petrey, who is now the Southern Conference Coordinator. Born near Detroit, Cavette decided to stay near his alma mater after graduation and is active in three leagues at Strike Force Lanes in town. During the day, he works as a fifth-grade teacher at Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter Schools. He also finds other ways to stay busy.

“I am a national staff member of Creating the Difference, which specializes in bowling products to help your game,” Cavette said. “(It) educates bowlers on what to look out for in bowling that will help them become better every day, just like I do with the high school team. I run a ‘Boys 2 Men’ club there that helps boys learn proper respect and etiquette as a growing young male in today’s society.”

The girls’ team, however, with low numbers, failed to advance past the sectional this season. But Cavette said he believes their future is bright.

“We kind of had an up and down season (on the girls’ side),” Cavette said. “We started off with six girls. Basically, I wound up recruiting girls. Next year, we are projected to have a full freshman class fill our girls team, and the future is looking very bright for them”

At semistate this weekend, Spegal, a lefty, should have an advantage when trying to make his second consecutive trip to the final meet of the year. As a junior, Spegal won the singles portion of the semistate meet and was the first-ever individual representative from Greenfield-Central at the state finals. He would eventually finish fifth overall with a score of 577.

“Clayton has a very good mental game,” Cavette said. “He has an advantage being a left-handed bowler, too. He has the entire lane to himself and can kind of play his own game.

“At least 90 percent of bowlers are right-handed. The more and more you throw the ball (on the oil of the lanes), you are creating friction and burning up the oil. The oil on the left side is not being touched by the right-handers.”

Spegal, along with Harnish and Blagburn, was named all-conference this season.

Twelve teams and 26 individuals from around the state will make the state finals next weekend (Feb. 18) at Mike Aulby’s Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette. The singles portion of the event will begin at 9 a.m. with the team event to follow at 1 p.m.

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Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or kmills@greenfieldreporter.com.