Antietam's Ayden Davis wins state championship in high school boys bowling

Mar. 17—Antietam's Ayden Davis finished his high school bowling career with a resounding victory and a perfect tribute.

Davis defeated Middletown's Cameron Wegert 278-192 in the final match of the Pennsylvania State High School Bowling Championships Friday at Eastway Lanes in Erie.

The senior won his first state title less than two months after his father, Eric, passed away from septic shock at the age of 48.

"That was a big part of bowling today," Davis said via phone. "It's been tough. But it's good to come away with the win.

"My whole life revolves around him. He was the one that got me into bowling since I was 3. He's been my coach, my mentor. Not having him be there, it's been tough the past month, month-and-a-half, but I was just happy that I was able to get the win today for him."

Davis earned the No. 2 seed after six games of qualifying with a total of 1,266. He rolled games of 210, 223, 257, 174, 192 and 210, with his 257 tying for high game of the day.

Daniel Boone's Evan Miller was ninth after qualifying at 1,172 (197, 223, 144, 153, 241 and 214). In girls, Gov. Mifflin's Lily Watts was 22nd after qualifying at 1,007 (157, 129, 202, 141, 199 and 179).

Miller and Watts will compete Saturday as the Boone boys and Mifflin girls have qualified for the team portion of the state tournament.

Friday, the top five of the 24 competitors each in boys and girls advanced to the stepladder finals. Davis earned a bye into the semifinals, where he faced Truman's Colin Parembo, the fifth seed, and came away with a 235-222 win.

Davis went first in the 10th frame and went 9, spare, 9. Parembo would have won the match with a 9, spare, strike, but couldn't convert after leaving the 6, 7 and 10 pins on his first ball.

"I was lucky on that one," Davis said.

He needed no luck in the final against Wegert, who won the District 3 title last month.

"I was locked in," he said.

The victory closed a high school career during which Davis — who will bowl in college at Lawrence Tech University in Southfield, Michigan — was a four-time All-Berks selection.

This season, he won his first Berks title, finished fourth in districts and lost in the semifinals of the Eastern PA Regionals. He also won a district title in 2020 and was the runner-up in 2021.

This was his third straight trip to states — the 2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID — and taking home state gold was one thing he had yet to accomplish. He finished 11th in 2021 and third last year.

"It means everything," Davis said of the win. "It's definitely been a dream of mine. It was a goal of mine, especially this year. That was the whole thing about it. I just went in with a positive mindset and I stuck with it and I didn't get down on myself and came away with the win. Definitely super excited."

And he said he thought that his father was with him Friday for "every single shot."

"It was definitely a memorable moment for sure today," Davis said.