Brother Martin’s Schaffer, Chapelle’s Rubi win LHSAA bowling singles titles
BATON ROUGE – Students and family members of New Orleans-area bowling instructor Betty Chien gathered after the final ball of the LHSAA bowling championship was thrown Friday at All Star Lanes to celebrate her birthday.
A present like no other had come just minutes earlier, when Brother Martin senior Cody Schaffer and Archbishop Chapelle sophomore Sarah Rubi – two of Chien’s pupils – claimed the boys and girls singles titles, respectively, to cap off the two-day championship event. But there were more successes: seven of the top 20 boys finishers and six of the top 25 girls finishers are under Chien’s wing.
“It’s the best birthday present I’ve ever had,” said Chien. “The only thing I can do is cry happy tears. I’m so proud of these two. They’ve worked so hard.”
Schaffer, who led the Crusaders to a second consecutive team title on Thursday, capped his prep career with the singles title, posting a four-game total of 926 on games of 211, 257, 213 and 245.
Jesuit’s Jake Stiegler earned the silver medal with a 901 total, while Austin Cortez of H.L. Bourgeois was third at 894.
Rubi took the lead in the second game with a 230 and never relinquished it. Her four-game total of 875 included games of 212, 230, 225 and 208.
H.L. Bourgeois’ Kelsi Stegall, who came in with the top average in the event, was second with an 867 series, while Jaya Jensen of Cabrini finished third at 854.
Schaffer never took the lead until the very end. He was tied for 20th after the first game and fifth after the second and third games, but fired 10 strikes in the final game, including the final five, to vault to the top.
“It’s so difficult,” Schaffer said of the four-game format. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in (first or) 20th because the scores are so tight.
“I knew I needed the first strike in the 10th frame to win, and I had the stone 7-9 up there for a minute, and the (head) pin came across and knocked them both down.
“This is the best way to end my senior year,” Schaffer said of the championship double.
For Schaffer, it was his third individual tournament title in the last nine months at All Star. He won the Louisiana Scratch Match Games in July and the Capital City Strike Out in September.
All six Crusader starters qualified for the singles event, and all finished in the top 20. Brennan Brouilette was fifth at 883 after closing with a 277 game; Hunter Dunn, the event’s leader after two games, finished ninth at 858; Drew Gardner was 12th at 839; Brandon Bonvillion finished 15th with an 827 total and Will Oertling was 20th at 816.
The only other local top 20 finisher was Jesuit’s Ben Hunn, who was 17th at 821.
In the girls division, Rubi took a 20-pin lead over Stegall into the final game. She struck out in the 10th frame for a 208 final game, but Stegall, who had started strongly in the final game but was about a frame behind, still had a chance to overtake Rubi with a mark and good count in the 10th frame.
Stegall left the 4-9 split in the 10th and could not convert to finish with a 220.
Even with that drama unfolding, Rubi didn’t know for sure she had won until the final scores were announced during the awards ceremony.
“It was a very exciting feeling,” said Rubi. “I knew I had bowled great the entire day, but I just didn’t know what my opponents shot. It’s just a great feeling.”
Rubi, Stegall and Jensen all fired four 200 games on the afternoon.
The next highest New Orleans-area finisher was Alahna DeGruy of Bonnabel, who finished 12th at 722.
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…