SMNW girls sixth at state bowling tournament, one boy places
With nine senior bowlers on the roster, and a fourth-place finish at last year’s state tournament, the Shawnee Mission Northwest girls envisioned this would be the season to grab a spot on the podium.
However, the Cougars ran into some of the highest scoring performances in state tournament history Thursday at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, and finished in the sixth place with a team total of 2,251 pins.
“The girls competed, but we ran out of gas at the end,” SM Northwest coach Britt Haney said.
Maize ended up squeaking past Olathe North and claiming the 6A team title by only six pins by the score of 2,562 to 2,556.
Even though SM Northwest struggled to get over the hump as a unit, some individual placers made the best out of the day.
Senior Liz Nelson finished six pins off her career high when she posted a total score of 596, which was good enough for 17th place.
Haney said Nelson’s tendency is to throw some bad shots once the adrenaline of the beginning of the series wears off. But on Thursday she kept it together and might have bowled her three best games of her career.
Cassie Queral also performed well for the Cougars. She ended up in 23rd with 594 pins, but for most of the day, Queral battled illness.
In fact, Haney said that Queral struggled to throw the ball down the lane by the third game as she continued to battle through poor health. She just missed medaling for the second consecutive year by one pin.
“Just a great fighter to want to compete and do the best she could,” Haney said. “She put in a max effort.”
Claire Gordon also came on strong for SM Northwest. Two weeks ago, Gordon mainly rolled the ball on junior varsity. But when called upon she put together a 541 series and placed 32nd.
Gordon and Queral will be the cornerstones for next year’s team as they are two of the six returning girls bowlers.
Still, the SM Northwest bowling team has enjoyed the last two seasons of success, and although it could not bring home the state hardware, Haney is proud of the effort.
“These girls just love being around each other and love hanging out and love to compete and represent Shawnee Mission Northwest,” Haney said.
Millard top 15 at state
On the boys’ side of the draw, the Cougars had Davis Millard representing the team.
After needing four straight strikes at the regional tournament just to get into state, Millard took advantage of the opportunity by bowling a 664 series, which put him at 15th place.
Millard actually had a minor shoe problem during his rotation, but fixed it and returned to better form by the end of the tournament.
“I thought it was going either one of two things,” Haney said. “It was either going to work or we were going to finish with a 120 or 130, and I tell you what, he locked it in.”
SM North also had two bowlers finish in the top 30. Claire Swanson finished in 26th place with a 577 series on girls side and Ty Marah placed 27th with 640 pins for the boys.