Mahlie, Haughn are true champions

Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist

When I was young I read a book entitled “Champions in Sports and Spirit.” What I remember most about the book that featured among others, Bob Cousy, Yogi Berra and Gil Hodges. It focused on the character of the individuals as much as it did the on their sports accomplishments.

Who knows maybe one day, somebody in our area will do something similar and if they do perhaps the names Chris Mahlie and Trent Haughn will appear in the narrative.

Clearly they are champions in life with their most recent sporting accomplishment being crowned champions of the Lima City Singles Classic this past Sunday at 20th Century Lanes.

The character of the champions flowed as we spoke.

Mahlie warmed me up some as we spoke with near generic bowling speak – “it felt good … I was not expecting it I just went out and did what I could do.” and then she warmed to the challenge of how did it really feel and the character that I have seen in her since birth began to shine.

Mahlie who defeated Donna Childs in the finale 195-194 continued, “It was not the way any of us want to win a tournament, especially a tournament as big as this one.”

With clear emotion for being the one that collected the spoils of this war, she stated, “Lanes 11 and 12 were playing real tight and we simply could not afford to miss our mark. When Donna left the seven pin and then missed making the spare – I was devastated – i had my championship last year – this should have been her title – it was her turn.”

Chris could not have been any clearer. The class that many of us have always seen in Chris roared to the top.

“I had a guardian angel looking over me,’ as she referenced her maternal grandmother Treva Eversole who passed away within the last month or so. Grandma Eversole, much like Chris was a humble warrior who lived well beyond her 100th year.

Chris is also blessed to have two great parents, Mike and Cathy Hughes, as well as a coach husband Jason, another ace in the bowling world. They were the main cogs along with their son Brent in the Delphos bowling family who walked the championship journey with her.

She also wanted me to make sure that I gave praise to Derek Dukes and Brandon Falk for the work they do on her bowling arsenal.

Family and character also set the tone for the men’s champion, Trent Haughn as he became the fourth member of the Schroeder family tree to win the coveted crystal pin.

Uncles Randy and Joe and cousin Jordy are all former champions.

“I picked Jordy up on Saturday and as we drove to the lanes I told him how cool it would be if I had the chance to win the tournament before his brother, Jake. I did not think it would happen but now that it has (we will keep between us the playful dig at Jake) but it had something to do with drinking from a paper cup why the other four drink holiday brew from the crystal pin whenever they gather.

It is important to note that Trent was clear in his desire for Jake who has more final eight finishes over the last 12 years or so than the other four champions combined.

“It was really exciting, coming from the family that I do. It is very humbling in effect!”

He is the son of Gary and Nancy Schroeder Haughn and the nephew of Randy, Joe and Scott and for all intents and purposes, the mayor Dean Meyer, also the winner of the crystal pin. Eash Oush ouch I hope that did not make it any harder on Jake.

“My parents are also great at the game and have been very helpful!” He pointed out that his mother actually bowled in the tournament out of college. “She bowled in it before she married dad but the guys of the family really were more into the tournament so she has always stayed home and taken care of the lanes, Highland Lanes in Ottawa. I am really happy that she and dad were there for this. It meant a lot to all of us.”

From my side of it, I would like to see mom in the tournament next season, just think it could be an aunt and nephew Jake thing.

Trent beat Brandon Kennard in the final match 209-191 and much like Mahlie he pointed the elephant in the room, bowling luck.

“I knew that if I could get an opportunity that I could have a chance for the win. He opened in the ninth and that gave me a window that I needed to win the match.”

Haughn was the first high school bowler to roll a perfect game in the West Ohio High School Bowling Conference and of course he is a member of a legendry bowling family. We have chronicled the City Singles accomplishments of the clan but his grandpa Schroeder actually held the ABC standard for highest triplicate ever 279 – 837 many decades ago when people simply never shot 300 games.

That said where does this accomplishment rank for you? “It’s got to be No. 1. I mean a tournament with this history especially when you take into consideration what it means to the people of this area, this is number one.”

It certainly helped me to understand what he meant by humbling in effect!

What I remember about the book the most is that it focused on the humble nature of those that it profiled. The case of Mahlie and Haughn was not any different on this day.

The youth in our area have once again been putting up some amazing numbers and that will be our entire focus next week. I really do need to give a shout out today to the one, the only, the incredible Olivia Miller. The 13 year old dynamo in league play on Saturday rolled games of 243, 245 and 245 for a 733 set She will be a champion one day as well – yet another great bloodline there – the Ambrozas.

Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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