The Northern Ontario senior girls team of Valerie Quackenbush and Chantal Tourigny from Garson Bowl were the best in Canada this year, and they weren't afraid to prove it on a couple of different levels.
Competing at the YBC (Youth Bowl Canada) Nationals in Regina earlier this month, the local duo topped the double round robin standings, posting a record of 10-4. The pair got rolling early, winning seven of their first eight matches and finishing one game clear of Québec (Cloee Riendeau/Maude Rondeau) at 9-5 and two up on Newfoundland (Brooke King/Courtney Lucas) at 8-6.
Seeded first in the step-ladder playoff format, Quackenbush and Tourigny watched as Newfoundland bested Québec in the semi finals (603-491), with the Maritime crew bowling another outstanding game in their first playoff match-up with Northern Ontario, picking up a 608-486 win.
Thankfully, the Garson Bowl girls had earned the benefit of a double elimination process by virtue of their first place finish, and they would take full advantage, taking the Canadian championship 566-480 in game two.
Among the many highlights for the duo was a 14-game 237.5 pin fall average for Quackenbush in the preliminary round, a total that was fourth best among all 16 competitors. The single game high score for the girls came courtesy of Tourigny, her 326 game four mark bettered by only three competitors.
The girls were not nearly as hot in the mixed event, combining with Kyle Beaulieu and Jospeh Phillips of Whitewater Lanes - Azilda to register a five game total pinfall of 4357, eighth in their grouping.
Like their female counterparts, the Beaulieu/Phillips tandem proved to be much more successful outside of the mixed event, capturing bronze in the senior boys bracket at nationals. The local lads racked up eight wins versus six losses in double round robin play, winning four of their last five encounters to sneak into the playoffs behind Manitoba (Tyler Vandale/Sam Gelardi) and British Columbia (Zachary Skipworth/Noah Erickson), both at 9-5.
Unfortunately, things did not come together for the Azilda pairing in the semi-finals, falling 456-388 to British Columbia, with Manitoba eventually claiming gold. Both Beaulieu and Phillips racked up some impressive numbers, with averages of 241.29 and 248.71 respectively, and single game highs of 309 and 312.
A 3-1 start to their 14-game schedule was not enough to propel the Garson junior girls team of Danika St Jacques and Isabelle Perreault into a top three placement, as the locals finished the week at .500 (7-7).
Tied with Québec, the team needed two more wins to challenge the trio of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Southern Ontario, all at 9-5, for a spot in the semi-final battle. St Jacques recorded a pair of memorable games in Regina, posting scores of 315 and 314 along the way.
In the bantam boys bracket, Jonah Solomon (Chico's Bowl & Sports Lounge) found himself right in the middle of things in the boys singles competition. With a record of 6-5, Solomon was deadlocked with both Charles-Antoine Gosselin (Québec) and Matthew Lazurko (Saskatchewan) in a three-way tie for fifth place, with an even dozen entries making their way to nationals.
Meanwhile, his bantam girls teammates from Chico's came heart-breakingly close to also working their way into the playoff round. Chloé Mallette and Alyssa Lagrue picked up five wins against an even number of losses in a bracket of well-matched bowlers, good enough for a third place tie with Alberta (Hailey Zacharuk/Arwin Jenkins).
The latter, however, would garner a spot in the semi-final thanks to their 322-308 triumph over the Hanmer duo. The gold medal by Quackenbush and Tourigny marked the first ever for Garson Bowl.