Smyrna bowling team finishes runner-up at state

Smyrna's bowling team finished runner-up in the TSSAA state tournament on Friday. CASEY GOWER

SMYRNA -- The Smyrna bowling team came up short in their quest for another state bowling title as they lost to Hardin County 20-7 Friday.

The Bulldogs beat Sevier County and Bartlett to reach the championship. They defeated the Smoky Bears 21-6, led by Elizabeth Coutta who rolled a 201 and 207 the first two games.

Nick Clayton also had a 223 against Sevier County as well. Against Bartlett, the team won 17-10.

Clayton bowled a 217 against Bartlett in game one. In game two, Alex Elrod rolled a 233, and in the final game freshman Josh Morgan rolled a 236.

Against Hardin County, the team was going up against a state power, has now been in the title round five years in a row and won the last three state titles.

The opening game did not start off well for Smyrna. Open frames hurt the Bulldogs they had eight open frames out of 30 bowled. Hardin County only had three. For the match, in the first five frames Smyrna had 19 open frames while Hardin County only had 13.

Hardin County also had eight bowlers bowl a 200 or better in the match while Smyrna only had three, led by Morgan with a 243 in game one.

"It was very exciting and nerve wracking," Morgan said. "The one thing we need to improve on for next season is to pick up the spares. It is a mental thing."

"They were a little nervous in the first game," Smyrna coach Kelly Marlin said. "Hardin County was the better team and they earned it. We have a bright future ahead and some talented bowlers. We will be back next year."

Stewarts Creek also competed on the girls' side and got to the semifinals. The Red Hawks defeated William Blount 19.5-7.5. They were knocked out by eventual champ Hardin County 20-7. The girls of Hardin County won their eighth straight title and 12th overall and have been in the title match 15 straight years.