By Andrew Johnson

FRUITPORT – While he is a coach’s son, Fruitport senior Cameron Weaver admits he hasn’t always taken bowling as seriously as he could have.

But after winning the boys individual championship at last year’s Greater Muskegon Athletic Association Bowling Tournament, and coming within four pins of qualifying for the individual state finals, Weaver has a new determination to do as well as he possibly can in his senior season.

“Attitude is a big factor,” Weaver said. “This year has been more focused and about getting at it.”

Using his old approach, Weaver was still very good, but not quite good enough to maximize his potential. His father, Fruitport bowling Coach Mike Weaver, remembers how painful it was to watch him fall just short of qualifying for the state finals last year.

Weaver finished with a score of 1,152 at regionals. The last state qualifier had a score of 1,156.

“That was terrible,” said Mike Weaver, who has been mainly focused on coaching the Fruitport girls this year, while Coach Nick Osinski has been working with the boys. “His last game was probably the best that he threw that day. But within the game, he just missed a few pins. That’s just how important spares are, and that’s something we’re focusing on this year.”

Coach Mike Weaver and his son, defending GMAA bowling champion Cameron Weaver. Photo/Tim Reilly

Weaver’s new, more serious approach to the sport has been very evident so far this season. He currently leads all bowlers in the 0-K Blue Conference with an average of 211.5 per game.

“I’m leading right now,” Weaver said. “I plan on increasing it throughout this year. I’d say my goal is now seeing what I can really do. I’d like to see upwards of 220.”

Despite not always being the most focused of bowlers, Weaver still took home the GMAA Tournament crown last year with a score of 413. He finished 20 pins ahead of Josh Felcoski of Oakridge.

“It was pretty enjoyable,” said Weaver. “I wouldn’t say I was the most dedicated bowler ever, so to win something like that was pretty cool.”

This year, Weaver is hopeful that a second straight GMAA title may be within his grasp. He’ll get the chance to pull off a repeat on Wednesday at the 2021 tournament at Northway Lanes, but he’s not overconfident about his chances.

“I don’t know what will happen,” he said. “Every day is different, and you can always have a bad day. So we’ll see what happens.”

While Weaver does enjoy the individual success he’s currently having, he’s much more focused on team goals, including winning a second straight boys team GMAA title on Wednesday.

The Trojans beat Mona Shores in the semifinals last season, then downed Ravenna 387-351 in the finals.

“I’d say as a team we’ve talked about not losing,” Weaver said. “The team as a whole is better than last year, and we have bigger expectations this year.”

Several other Trojan bowlers have also been excelling this season, helping the team win multiple invitational tournaments. Brandon Krohn and Evan Simonis are currently All-Conference honorable mention. Krohn has an average of 181.67 while Simonis averages 181.5.

Weaver makes a throw on lane No. 50 at at Northway Lanes. Photo/Tim Reilly

Like Weaver as an individual, the Fruitport team is also playing to overcome the disappointment of last season, when they were 44 balls short of qualifying for the team state finals.

“I guess it’s been a whole new kind of mindset,” said Weaver, when asked about what has helped the team excel this year. “We’re not worrying so much about strikes as much as we’re staying clean (picking up spares). Attitude has been a big factor and we’re more focused and getting at it.”

While Mike Weaver may be focused on coaching the Fruitport girls this year, he’s still very interested in the boy’s team, and how Cameron does during his senior season.

He says bowling is a major link between himself and his son.

“I think it holds us together pretty good,” Mike Weaver said. “He’s just as competitive as I am. It’s easy for us to talk about usually, and it’s really enjoyable. We do a lot of bowling together and it’s a big part of our lives for these three months.”

If Cameron and his teammates maintain their more focused approach, they could accomplish a lot, Coach Weaver said.

“We always want to be the best in the city,” he said about the GMAA Tournament. “We have some great bowlers in the city, but our expectation is to be repeat champs for sure.”