BY TATE RUSSELL
SUN SPORTS WRITER
SMYRNA - Caleb Nunn advanced to the finals of the TSSAA Division I bowling individual championships at the Smyrna Bowling Center, and ended up finishing sixth in the state Friday morning.
Though that was two places lower than his fourth-place showing from a year ago, the Greeneville High School senior wasn't displeased with his effort this week.
"It was pretty nerve racking qualifying, but that was pretty much my goal, to make the finals," Nunn said. "I would have liked to have finished third because last year I finished fourth, but just making the finals is a big accomplishment."
Nunn entered the finals in sixth place and was unable to play catch-up. He finished the two-day tournament with a total pinfall of 2,657. Brentwood freshman Kamron Doyle won the state championship with a 3,293 total.
Greeneville senior Tyler Longenbach also finished strong in the individual tournament, bringing home a 26th-place finish. He missed out on advancing past the first round of the tournament by a total of 14 pins during Thursday's four-game opening series.
"It's an honor to get to be able to bowl at the state tournament as an individual and I'm proud I had the opportunity," Longenbach said.
Nunn and Longenbach were the highest finishing bowlers from East Tennessee, along with Austin Arwood of Heritage who tied with Longenbach.
Nunn got off to a rough start in Thursday's quarterfinal round, rolling a 184 in game one.
However, he finished strong and cruised into Thursday evening's semifinal portion.
Nunn ended the opening session with games of 245, 246 and 258 to move into sixth place and advance to the round of 24.
In the semifinals, the oil pattern changed and scoring averages dropped by approximately 50 points across the board.
The more difficult lanes made it hard for Nunn to play catch up as he stayed in the six spot and edged his way into the finals, five points ahead of seventh place. Only the top six advanced to Friday's round.
Nunn is the only four-year member of this season's Greene Devil squad. That experience has given him time to hone is unusual two handed delivery that has helped him become one of the state's best bowlers.
Greeneville coach Johnny Painter said, "Caleb came in as a freshman and never had really bowled before. At Christmas time right before our regional tournament his freshman year he began toying around with bowling two handed. He came and told me about it, and that was a scary thought right before the region tournament. Once I saw him practice it I told him don't change a thing, and you can see where that has brought him."
Painter is very proud of what Logenbach and Nunn have accomplished and where they rank among their peers in East Tennessee.
"For both of them to come down and Caleb to make the top six and Tyler to only miss the round of 24 cut by 14 pins is very good," Painter said."I was proud of both them, to number one qualify, and number two finish the way they did. They were the top two finishers from our area."
Nunn and Logenbach as well as senior John Seaton Pilkington have led the squad to the state tournament and Painter is proud of what they have been able to accomplish as Green Devils.
The Greeneville boys competed in Friday afternoon's team portion of the state tournament, and though theyturned in their highest-scoring game of the season, they were still soundly defeated by Columbia 21-6.
"I think Caleb and Tyler are guys that a lot of the squad look up to because they've been there before. John is a two year bowler who has improved quite a bit. He brings us some good skills as a leader and some good skills as a bowler," Painter said., "But what I look at most is that all three of those are good kids. We take in pride in the fact we have good kids they go out and they do the things they are supposed to do. I always want our kids to be our best representation of our community, and those kids are."