With only six bowlers, Legacy Christian Academy made the most of the 2013 season with new co-head coaches and brothers Malakai and Michael Letterman.
The Lions were one tournament short of qualifying for the state tournament, but reaching the Minnesota qualifying tournament was a big accomplishment for the squad.
Monica Letterman had served as the head coach for the better part of the last dozen seasons before her death from cancer just before the season started in August.
Sons Malakai and Michael took over coaching duties, but didn’t expect much from the relatively small and inexperienced group which included Jayden Johnson, Kenn McLeod, Jonathon Krasky, Alex Podvin, Josiah Hurney and Ben Darling.
“We had no idea if we had a team or not so it came together at the last minute,” Malikai said about the team based out of Andover Lanes. “It was definitely rough in the beginning but we made it work.”
Developing confidence and a belief in themselves was an early goal for the team set by Malakai and Michael.
Among the line-up was first-time bowler Hurney, who was the epitome of the season, going from never bowling in his life to one of the highest and most consistent scorers of the group. Specifically, Hurney learned where to aim a new ball and, in turn, picked up more spares and strikes to fill out the frames. “We definitely relied on him,” said Malakai, a member of Legacy’s graduating class of 2013.
The transition from teammate to assistant coach to co-head coach was tough for Malakai, given the circumstances around taking over the team with his brother. “We were going to help her out at the end, but it wasn’t as tough for [the bowlers] because they knew us anyway,” Malakai said about the all-junior team.
Legacy Christian Academy qualified for the Minnesota High School Bowling 2013 Minnesota qualifying tournament, one step before the state tournament by finishing second in the Metro North Central Conference.
According to Malakai, the biggest win of the season came in an upset of rival Andover and proved to be a turning point in the season.
“We were up and down a lot,” he said about season. “They saw teams just blowing them out but after they beat Andover they said, ‘Oh wow. We’re actually good. We can do something.’”
Legacy’s varsity team averaged a 147.1 score through 10 games of pool play in the qualifying tournament to fall 416 pins shy of qualifying for the bracket or head-to-head portion of the varsity tournament.
The team finished sixth out of six teams in Pool A, 203 pins behind Irondale for fifth place.
The top four teams from each pool moved on in the tournament.
St. Francis averaged 174.2 pins through 10 games, but earned two match points to place secure the fourth and final qualifying place in Pool B play.
As a result, St. Francis received the No. 15 seed out of 16 teams and lost to No. 2 Hopkins in the first round of bracket play. It came up short in the consolation bracket against No. 10 Rosemount to end its run at state.
Blaine’s Dakota Krech earned a place on the five-bowler second team all-state list.
Blaine was well represented at the JV state tournament held at AMF Southtown Lanes in Bloomington Nov. 24. Blaine White and Blaine Blue placed fifth and sixth in Pool B, respectively. The top two teams from each pool automatically qualified for the bracket portion of the tournament. Both Blaine teams squared off in a wild card match to see who wound face Faribault Green in the ninth-place match. Blaine White topped Blue but Faribault Green won the ninth-place match.
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