Both Portland’s Aubree Martin and Belding’s Trenton Altman made the leap to state this season on the lanes.


Martin made the most of her senior season, making it to state in her final year as a Red Raider. Altman took the big step as a sophomore, parlaying an excellent season into a state berth as a senior.


In addition to big seasons and state trips, Martin and Altman are the Ionia Sentinel-Standard girls and boys Bowlers of the Year.


Belding coach Jason Willmore said his sophomore is constantly studying, including watching tape of pro bowlers, looking for ways to get better. Martin took what she could from her coaches to take the next step, making sure to avoid the open frame when she could.


“Some of the things she really worked on was making her spares,” said Portland head coach William Armour III. “Being comfortable enough to make those. I give her an awful lot of credit, she’s been a really good bowler.


“It’s very important to have a plan and make sure you can drive toward it. We actually saw Aubree put in a lot more practice this year. It was very exciting to see her shine by following a lot of the advice her coaches were giving her.”


Altman stepped forward as a leader of a Belding boys team that made the state tournament as a team, averaging 221 pins a game. The Black Knights finished 12th at that stage, but Altman wasn’t done.


He qualified for the state tournament, then went on to the knockout stage by finishing 13th in qualifiers with a six-game score of 1,182 pins. He lost to Jonesville’s Brandon Teddy 439-385.


“When you get to state, you’re going against the best. He’d have a bad game, and it didn’t affect him as much as it did last year,” Willmore said. “If he would have got by him, he probably would have finished in the top four. The game that he lost to, he beat most of the kids during the first round. He just bowled against the wrong kid.”


Martin finished 16th in the qualifying state, grabbing the last spot in the knockout rounds with a score of 1,074. She tied with Belding’s Christina Douglas, but moved on with a tiebreaker roll-off win, 188-151. She lost to top-seed Karissa Manifold of Hillsdale 372-307.


It sealed what Armour knew about Martin’s game, after a strong season with a 167.5 pin average and a strong career to match.


“The tricky part with regionals and states, it’s one day,” Armour said. “There’s a lot of times there’s 25 kids within 15 pins in a six-game block. I think she was truly good enough as a sophomore to make it.


“Aubree has a passion for bowling, she’s very competitive. She’s done her work and her due diligence to become the best she could be this season, and it showed.”


The Black Knights had a state-worthy season with a number of “really good bowlers”, Willmore said, but despite being an underclassman, Altman was able to serve as a team leader. It could bode well for both him and Belding going forward.


“He’s very knowledgeable for being young. He continues to be better and better and better. He listens, he tries new things,” Willmore said. “He’s one of the better bowlers on the team. At the end of last year, I was really looking forward to him being one of the leaders on the team. He’s a good kid. Kids look up to him already as a sophomore already.”


All-County Bowling Team (State qualifiers)


Trenton Altman


SCHOOL >> Belding


GRADE >> 10


Luke Dalman


SCHOOL >> Portland


GRADE >> 12


Aubree Martin


SCHOOL >> Portland


GRADE >> 12


Christina Douglas


SCHOOL >> Belding


GRADE >> 12


Katie Gasper


SCHOOL >> Belding


GRADE >> 12


Jessie Whitford


SCHOOL >> Portland


GRADE >> 10


Marian Pearson


SCHOOL >> Portland St. Patrick


GRADE >> 11