The record-setting season by Northwest’s boys bowling ended with it breaking a previous record, but that wasn’t enough to cap its season with the state championship the team expected.
Garden City spoiled what could have been the perfect season by surging past Northwest in the third game and winning the Class 6A championship at Northrock Lanes with a team score of 2,868, 12 pins ahead of the Grizzlies. Both marks shattered the previous-best in tournament history.
Since winning the state championship in 2014, which came as a surprise, Northwest has finished runner-up the last two seasons by a combined 35 pins.
“This group had a fantastic season and they’ve had records over and over,” Northwest coach Jodi Floyd said. “It’s been so awesome, but I just wanted it to be at the big dance...and it wasn’t.”
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The dominant season continued the first game at state, as Northwest rolled a 1,027 to put distance between its top two competitors: Derby (47 pins) and Garden City (119).
Northwest followed with solid 900 scores, but never could regain the groove it found in the opening game. Meanwhile, Garden City had the opposite trajectory and made up a 55-pin difference in the third game by surging to a 983 score.
Northwest finished with four medalists in Zach Hall (783, second), Gabe Alvarez (707, sixth), Lane Stanberry (686, 11th), and Luke Ewertz (666, 18th).
“I thought they did good, but we decreased every game,” Floyd said. “When they’re coming to get you, you just can’t do that. It’s been a wonderful season, but it’s just a disappointing end.”
Garden City senior Tristan Funk, who spurred the rousing comeback with his 299 game in the third, also tied the Class 6A tournament record with his winning series of 803, while Hall’s runner-up performance of 783 was the fifth-best score all-time.
“Northwest is an amazing team and they’re so solid from top to bottom,” Garden City coach Kip Nichols said. “We knew it was going to take a state record to beat them and our boys were up to the task.”
Lost in the record finish by Garden City and Northwest was Derby’s third straight trophy finish at the state tournament. The Panthers finished third with a score of 2,774, more than 200 pins higher than fourth place.
Derby had four medalists in Matt Hedden (694, eighth), Justin Pechanec (685, 12th), Michael Klein (677, 13th), and Ryker Percival (674, 15th).
“We were hoping for a higher finish, but the other two teams posted honor scores that you can’t diminish,” Derby coach Allie Ijams said. “You can’t walk in expecting to average 220 and win. There has to be somebody on your team that’s going to shoot that honor score.”
Team scores – 1. Garden City 2,868; 2. Wichita Northwest (Hall 783, Alvarez 707, Stanberry 686, Ewertz 666, Kraus 579, Schmidt 555) 2,856; 3. Derby 2,774 (Hedden 694, Pechanec 685, Klein 677, Percival 674, Brooks 627, Swartz 528) 2,774; 4. Junction City 2,566; 5. Olathe North 2,543; 6. Washburn Rural 2,524; 7. Shawnee Mission Northwest 2,460; 8. Shawnee Mission East 2,325; 9. Wichita Southeast (Johnson 667, Bennett 562, Mendoza 504, Huynh 499, Torres 491, Kieu Le 463) 2,254.
Medalists – 1. Tristan Funk, Garden City, 803; 2. Zach Hall, W. Northwest, 783; 3. Tristan Musick, O. North, 733; 4. Javier Lemmons, Lawrence, 716; 5. Dustin Wichman, Manhattan,707; 6. Gabe Alvarez, W. Northwest, 707; 7. Karl Larson, Garden City, 696; 8. Matt Hedden, Derby, 694; 9. Brody Reichle, O. East, 694; 10. Triston Decker, Lawrence, 691; 11. Lane Stanberry, W. Northwest, 686; 12. Justin Pechanec, Derby, 685; 13. Michael Klein, Derby, 677; 14. Blake Massey, Washburn Rural, 675; 15. Ryker Percival, Derby, 674; 16. Ian Yeazell, Junction City, 672; 17. Caleb Johnson, W. Southeast, 667; 18. Luke Ewertz, W. Northwest, 666; 19. Caleb Harrison, SM West, 661; 20. Tyler Gromlovits, Junction City, 660.