Before the Eisenhower girls bowling team took part in the Class 5-1A tournament at Northrock Lanes on Friday, the running joke on the team was that it would join pinkies – not hands – when the team scores were announced.
Given what they had just done in the previous hour, this turned out to be a bad idea.
“It felt like our pinkies were breaking because we were squeezing so hard,” Eisenhower senior Shannon Kane said.
That’s what happens when your team strings together back-to-back 800 scores to complete an improbable comeback and win a state championship.
But the girls kept their promise, crushing each other’s fingers in anticipation of hearing the announcement of Eisenhower’s first girls state championship.
Then it came: Eisenhower, with 2,341 pins, had won the title by 16 pins over Great Bend.
“It’s priceless,” said Eisenhower coach Brian Adelgren. “But it’s not a surprise. We expected this from this day last year when we lost by 43 pins. We prepared and planned and focused on this.”
Beforehand, Eisenhower winning would not have come as a surprise. But after a disconnected start that left the Tigers seventh in the standings and more than 100 pins behind leader St. James Academy, chances for a title were diminished.
The decision that played a crucial role in Eisenhower’s resurgence came near the end of the first game when Maddi Douglass, dissatisfied with a 169 score, switched balls on the advice of Adelgren.
“That ball she was throwing perfectly matched the lane reaction,” Adelgren said. “It just looked good and she couldn’t miss after that.”
Douglass, a junior, immediately established a groove that she carried through the rest of the tournament. She finished with a second-game score of 259, then finished with a game of 234 for a 662 series that placed her third overall.
When Douglass caught fire, the chatter on the team picked up and suddenly all of the Tigers were bowling their best.
“We do better when we’re talking and interacting with each other, it seems like,” Douglass said.
Eisenhower didn’t know where it stood until midway through its third game when it discovered it was a handful of pins away from the leader. By that time, Douglass and Kane were in the midst of dueling strikes that sent the Eisenhower fans into a frenzy.
Kane finished with a 201 third game, then Riley Wedel closed her 10th frame with two straight strikes to put the final touches on a 201 score. Throw in a 192 by Sydney Stanhope and Eisenhower had come through with an 828 score at the most crucial time.
“It’s the way we train them,” Adelgren said. “It’s one shot at a time. I’m just so proud of the girls.”
After avoiding any broken pinky fingers and posing around the trophy for pictures, Kane took a moment to reflect on a four-year career that had ended in victory.
“It means so much to us and I’m just so glad I had these girls for my senior year,” Kane said. “They made my senior year.”
Area girls medal – El Dorado senior Destiny Bowlin took fourth overall in her last state tournament with a series of 645, while Mulvane senior Maddison Osenbaugh was fifth at 634.
Other area medalists included Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Ashley Ensign (608, eighth), Augusta’s Rylee Drouillard (597, 10th), Bishop Carroll’s Anneke Bouska (589, 12th), McPherson’s Bailey Holton (574, 16th), and Maize’s Jaden Light (566, 18th).
Heights boys take third – Behind top-10 performances from Korey Bice and Nathan Sevier, the Heights boys finished in third place with a team score of 2,718.
It the second straight team trophy at the state tournament for the Falcons, who finished second last season.
Bice improved his season-best series score by 92 pins, piecing together games of 214, 248, and 246 for a 706 series that was good enough to finish fourth overall. Sevier, a freshman, finished in eighth with a series of 695.
“It was a pretty good day overall,” Bice said. “I didn’t think I would make it that high, but I just listened to my coaches and I ended up bowling pretty well.”
Other area medalists included Maize South’s Cade Delperdang, who shot a season-high series of 697 to place seventh, Augusta’s Chase Hallmark, who was second after the second game and finished 13th overall, and Goddard’s Griffin Bryant, who rolled his season-best series of 673 to take 16th.
Emporia’s Schuler goes 300 – After the 10th straight strike to open his state bowling tournament, Emporia senior Braden Schuler noticed the swelling crowd, felt the mounting pressure.
“You try to block it out, but it’s impossible to block it all out,” Schuler said. “It was after that 10th strike when I really started shaking.”
Schuler was able to steady himself and replicate 12 perfect throws for the first 300 game in his life in the first game at state. Then he threw six more strikes to begin his second game, an 18-strike sequence that was more than enough to win Schuler the Class 5-1A championship with his series of 768 for the fourth-best tournament performance of all-time.
Emporia, which had four seniors, won the team title with a team score of 2,798, which was 42 pins more than runner-up Topeka Seaman and the best team score in tournament history.
“It was just unreal,” Schuler said. “I didn’t even know what to do. I just fist-pumped because that’s the only thing I could think about doing. I think it was breath-taking for all of us. We wanted to go out on top and that’s exactly what we did.”
Team scores–1. Emporia 2,798; 2. Topeka Seaman 2,756; 3. Wichita Heights (Bice 709, Sevier 695, George 664, G. Marcum 626, C. Marcum 591, Limes 538) 2,718; 4. Salina South 2,668; 5. Mill Valley 2,655; 6. Kansas City Piper 2,637; 7. Bishop Carroll (Goebel 639, Malone 622, Schmidt 610, Brashers 584, Farley 541, Tippin 540) 2,585; 8. Maize South (Delperdang 697, Doyle 659, Bartsch 601, Krueger 583, Davis 506, Geisler 497) 2,563; 9. Kansas City Turner 2,551; 10. Goddard (Bryant 673, Collins 636, Freeman 572, Reed 550, Humphrey 550, Dryden 545) 2,498; 11. Leavenworth 2,475; 12. Newton (Brockman 592, Owens 584, Ashcraft 574, Pauls 539, Medina 531, Lindenmeyer 495) 2,379.
Medalists–1. Braden Schuler, Emporia, 300-267-201–768; 2. Connor Hill, Kansas City Turner, 236-231-256–723; 3. Ryan Franzen, Salina Sacred Heart, 216-258-243–717; 4. Korey Bice, Wichita Heights, 215-248-246–709; 5. Caleb Demel, Salina South, 193-275-234–702; 6. Kyle Miller, Salina South, 190-255-256–701; 7. Cade Delperdang, Maize South, 217-235-245–697; 8. Nathan Sevier, Wichita Heights, 255-195-245–695; 9. Mitchell Cowan, Mill Valley, 201-239-253–693; 10. Cole Griggs, Mill Valley, 237-236-216–689; 11. John Baeten, Topeka Seaman, 208-225-253–686; 12. Zach Simmons, Emporia, 246-222-216–684; 13. Chase Hallmark, Augusta, 246-235-202–683; 14. Caleb Boyle, Kansas City Piper, 211-258-212–681; 15. Noah Belt, Topeka Seaman, 225-238-216–679; 16. Griffin Bryant, Goddard, 236-224-213–673; 17. Cody Mzhickteno, Topeka Seaman, 215-219-238–672; 18. Hunter Guion, Emporia, 201-223-247–671; 19. Satchel Sill, Emporia, 206-257-205–668; 20. Jordan Laluk, Mill Valley, 222-222-222–666.
Team scores–1. Goddard Eisenhower (Douglass 662, Kane 564, Stanhope 550, J. Wedel 524, R. Wedel 512, Tucker 446) 2,341; 2. Great Bend 2,325; 3. St. James Academy 2,312; 4. Salina South 2,296; 5. Augusta (Drouillard 597, Flower 560, Emmitt 544, Carter 526, Stewart 477, Spyres 455) 2,248; 6. Emporia 2,241; 7. Bishop Carroll (Bouska 589, C. Morgan 549, Honas 518, Maddox 489, Bohr 463, A. Morgan 454) 2,177; 8. Lansing 2,099; 9. Maize (Light 566, Rozner 490, McDaniel 481, Radford 415, Harris 362, Stamper 344) 1,976; 10. Kansas City Sumner Academy 1,882; 11. Buhler (Nisly 472, Bartel 454, Kennedy 433, Arpin 433, Jackson 414, Graham 400) 1,836; 12. Leavenworth 1,692.
Medalists–1. Alanna Dierking, St. James Academy, 244-246-222–712; 2. Allayna Kishno Bell, Topeka Seaman, 270-214-215–699; 3. Madison Douglass, Goddard Eisenhower, 169-259-234–662; 4. Destiny Bowlin, El Dorado, 235-186-224–645; 5. Maddison Osenbaugh, Mulvane, 212-213-209–634; 6. Jordan Vsetecka, Great Bend, 181-204-234–619; 7. Renee Howland, Topeka West, 186-211-215–612; 8. Ashley Ensign, Kapaun Mount Carmel, 204-223-181–608; 9. Allison Brodrick, Great Bend, 182-181-243–606; 10. Rylee Drouillard, Augusta, 166-198-233–597; 11. Maria Salinas, Salina South, 207-217-167–591; 12. Anneke Bouska, Bishop Carroll, 193-187-209–589; 13. Valerie Kunkel, Emporia, 190-160-232–582; 14. Cayla Bortz, Shawnee Heights, 151-228-202–581; 15. Andrea Howard, Ell-Saline, 191-192-196–579; 16. Bailey Holton, McPherson, 151-197-226–574; 17. Sierra Sill, Emporia, 181-179-213–573; 18. Jaden Light, Maize, 173-193-200–566; 19. Shannon Kane, Goddard Eisenhower, 170-193-201–564; 20. Amber Ketchum, Lansing, 169-172-221–562.