The boys placed first and the girls placed ninth at bowling regionals in Emporia on Thursday, Feb. 25..
Despite the girls team being ranked ninth before the meet, senior Merrick Vinke was still hopeful going into regionals.
“Everybody was really pumped, hoping that we’d go to state,” Vinke said. “Even though we were ranked bad, we were hoping that we would beat the odds and still go.”
Vinke’s confidence came from improvements made during the season.
“I think some people really improved. Some girls were on JV but they got moved up, and the varsity team stayed pretty solid at the end,” Vinke said.
However, the girls team ended ninth out of 12 teams total.
“I think we were just pretty nervous because we weren’t ranked very well,” Vinke said. “I think I bowled one of my worst games at regionals. The first game wasn’t very good, my second game was alright and my third game was a little better, but it’s not the best I’ve done.”
As for the boys team, ranked fifth going into the regional meet, it pulled out the championship and will go on to compete at state.
“I think it was one of the first times we came together as a team,” senior Mitch Cowan said. “We all put up the scores that we needed to. We all came out and showed up that day.”
The success, Cowan said, came from the team’s ability to rebound from mistakes.
“We stayed focused,” Cowan said. “Even if we got an open frame, we came back with a spare or a strike and we really encouraged each other.”
He also contributes the win to coach Rick Pollard and assistant coach TJ O’Neill.
“Both Pollard and O’Neill did a good job inspiring us through the whole meet and pushing us,” Cowan said. “During the second game, they knew we were in first place, but they didn’t tell us. They just told us to do the best that we could and to keep pushing.”
Although the boys placed first at regionals, Cowan doesn’t want the win to go to their heads before state.
“I think we all know that we have the ability to come out with a win, but we all want to do the best we can,” Cowan said. “I feel pretty confident, since this was the toughest regional going into state, but I also don’t want to feel too overconfident.”
As regionals was Vinke’s last meet as senior, she says she’s sad but also glad that the season is over.
“I’ll just miss everybody. It’s an interesting group of people,” Vinke said. “We’ve got people on the football team, people on journalism, people on cheer, like everybody is from something different and it all comes together in a fun sport.”
Cowan’s last bowling meet for the school approaches.as well with state on the horizon.
“It just feels really good. I want to end on a high note, and I think everybody on the team does too,” Cowan said. “I just want to end strong.”
State bowling will take place at Northrock Lanes in Emporia on Sunday, March 6.