Shaw, Denham Springs, Dutchtown crowned LHSAA Bowling State Champs

by Mike Strom // Contributor

To borrow from the words of Shaw coach Denise Vedros, the undefeated Eagles bowling team did not disappoint.

Top-seeded Shaw won the Division II boys state tournament championship in runaway fashion this past week, first downing No. 4 Patrick Taylor, 22-5, in the semifinals before besting No. 2 South Terrebonne, 19-8, in the finals at Premier Lanes in Gonzales on Thursday.

Shaw, 16-0, won four consecutive playoff matches following a 12-0 regular season to capture the Marrero, La., all-boys Catholic school’s second state crown in bowling and first since winning the Division I championship in 2009.

Senior Zachary Richoux was named Division II MVP after average 238 pins in the finals, 50 above his season average of 188, while totaling a match-high 716 series.

 “The boys did not disappoint,’’ said Vedros, Shaw’s coach for all 20 of its years as a LHSAA bowling program. “They went out there and they bowled with passion and excitement like they have all year long. They were just determined that they were not going to let anybody beat them.’’

Shaw was the lone New Orleans-area squad to bring home a state championship trophy after Brother Martin had a streak of winning five consecutive state titles broken by Denham Springs in the Division I boys finals and Chapelle finished as Division I girls state runner-up following a 19-8 loss to reigning state champion Dutchtown in the finals.

“It was really exciting,’’ Vedros said of Shaw’s triumphs. “We had to wait 15 years to make another run at it. But it was worth it.’’

Brother Martin and St. Amant produced the singles champions on Friday at All Star Lanes in Baton Rouge with Sam Vollenweider of the Crusaders rolling a perfect game en route to winning the boys championship and Cadence Cagnolatti of the Lady Gators capturing a second career girls singles championship.

Top-seeded Cagnolatti established a LHSAA first for girls in winning a second singles championship. The St. Amant senior won her first championship two years ago in 2022 as a sophomore.

Cagnolatti rallied late, closing with consecutive strikes to top No. 3 seed Jordan Wingerter of St. Joseph’s Academy, 237-226, in the final. Wingerter had advanced to the finals by rolling a 239 game to eliminate Olivia Bares of Chapelle and Caroline Engeron of Albany in a headline semifinals pairing three of the five girls who averaged 200 pins this season.

Vollenweider rolled the first perfect game since the singles championship became a standalone event while winning the fourth singles title in program history at the New Orleans-area, all-boys Catholic School. The Crusaders junior defeated top-seeded Cameron Lackey of Slidell, 234-178, in the boys finals for Brother Martin’s first boys single title in five years.

Vollenweider’s 300 came in the second game of qualifying as part of a 741 series. Vollenweider shot 268 in the semifinals to best Aidan Franks of Hammond and Hayden Ugas of Terrebonne and move into the championship final versus Lackey.

In the boys team competition, No. 5 seed Denham Springs’ 16-11 victory against No. 6 Brother Martin in the finals deprived the Crusaders program of an eighth state championship. The victorious Yellow Jackets defeated No. 16 Slidell, 17-10, in the semifinals while the Crusaders downed No. 7 Rummel, 19-5-7.5, in the other semis.

Denham Springs, 15-1, stormed back from a 7-1 loss to Brother Martin, 14-2, in game one of the finals to win its first state bowling championship while totaling 3,542 pins to the Crusaders’ 3,519 for a differential of just 23 pins in the finals. Brother Martin had defeated Denham Springs, 14-13, in last year’s state quarterfinals.

Grant Pendergraft recorded an average of 211 in the finals, nearly 60 pins above his average to lead the Yellow Jackets, who entered the finals with no bowler averaging 200 compared to four for Brother Martin. Chosen as Division I boys MVP, Pendergraft had a 635 series with a high of 255 in game two while Brady Null had a team-leading 651 series for the Jackets.

“To be part of this has truly been an honor and a blessing,’’ Denham Springs coach Adam White said. “We earned the right to be here with these storied programs. To see these young men go through the trials they have been through and see the work they put in end with this is awesome.’’

Vollenweider and senior Jacob Vangilder paced Brother Martin with series of 656 and 630 respectively. Vangilder had a high game of of 249 and Vollenweider a 235.

Denham Springs defeated No. 16 Slidell in their semifinals behind Cooper Bush’s 649 series and high game of 244. Teammates Tyler Davis and Null had high games of 255 and 246 respectively.

Hunter Mullen’s 665 series paced Slidell with high games of 236 and 230 while teammate Elyjah White had a team-leading high game of 247. Slidell finished 10-4.

Blake Hebert’s 638 series with games of 237, 225 and 225 paced Brother Martin in its semifinals win against the Raiders. Rummel, 12-3, was led by Justin Smith’s 638 series and high games of 246, 234 and 226 respectively by Anthony Linker, Smith and Devin Shirah. Brother Martin had defeated Rummel, 15-12, in the regular season.

Shaw defeated No. 4 Patrick Taylor in one Division II boys semifinals behind Riley Elwood’s 757 series that included games of 269 and 267. Joshua Collins and Richoux had games of 257 and 244 respectively.

“Zachary was phenomenal,’’ Shaw’s Vedros said. “He was just on fire. He had a phenomenal day in the semifinals. He averaged over 200. And then in the finals he just went off. He had strike after strike after strike.’’

Patrick Taylor, 11-2, was paced by Jaden Ho’s 268 series that included games of 232 and 225. The Tigers’ Jadon Lieu and Beckham Lieu rolled games of 225 and 224 respectively.

South Terrebonne, which finished 15-1, defeated No. 11 Albany, 26-1, in the other Division II boys semifinals with Tony Bella compiling a 696 series with two games of 247 each. Gators teammate Trenton Authement had a 213 game.

Albany, 11-4, was led by Carson Campise’s 616 series that featured games of 223 and 211. The Hornets’ Hunter Hernandez had a 209 game.

Second-seeded Dutchtown, 15-0, became the third girls program to win consecutive LHSAA state titles by outscoring previously undefeated Chapelle, 3,173-3,020, in total pins in the finals. Addison Legendre, Sydney Lee and Jayda Allday-Longue paced the Lady Griffins with high games of 254, 206 and 205 respectively against Chapelle, which led by 40 pins entering the third and final game in which Dutchtown outscored the Chipmunks by 193 pins.

Named the girls tournament MVP, Lee had a high series of 614 followed by Legendre at 582 versus Chapelle.

“Adrenaline forces you to make some errors because you are all hyped up,’’ Dutchtown coach Karen Beam said of her team’s 40-pin deficit through two games. “I told (the players) we are going to stay calm and focused.’’

Dutchtown defeated No. 3 Albany, 23-4, in the semifinals while posting the state’s best score of the season with 3,290 total pins. Albany finished 14-1.

A 2019 state champion, Chapelle finished 15-1 despite getting a team-leading 577 series and high game of 256 from Olivia Bares in the finals. The Chipmunks’ Elizabeth Hoffman had a 564 series in the finals after Chapelle easily defeated No. 9 Patrick Taylor, 23-4, in the semifinals. Chapelle had defeated Patrick Taylor, 25-2, in its third match of the regular season.    

“We have a very strong team and a very young team,’’ Chapelle coach Dorothy Himbert said. “I just feel like (Dutchtown is) a little more experienced. And we also lost a little bit of momentum there at the end.’’

Shaw returns four starters in 2025 and had three bowlers, Collins (217), Jonathan Arena (217) and Elwood (212), average over 200 pins per game this season. Collins and Arena are juniors who will lead Shaw’s attempt at a repeat along with junior Zachary Tran (195 average) and freshman Brady Barrilleaux (189).

“I don’t want to speak too early,’’ Vedros said. “But I think we are going to be strong. Our goal obviously will be to try to repeat and I hope that happens. We have to see what we face with the other competition. I think we’ll have some opponents who might give us a run and hopefully we’ll be the stronger team and we’ll end up defending the title. But we don’t know what’s going to happen.’’