Central bowlers clean up at state finals
It was a memorable and highly successful trip to the Front Range for Western Slope high school bowlers.
Six Mesa County teams competed in the state finals of the Colorado High School Bowling Foundation on Feb. 22-23, with two Central High School teams placing first and second, respectively. A Fruita Monument bowler took second in the singles competition.
Central qualified three teams for the finals, with one of the teams winning the state championship over a second Central team.
Larry Robbins and Misty Woods coached the first- and second-place Central teams.
Sidnee Akens, who captained the state championship Central team, said the tournament victory was a surprise.
“I didn’t actually think we’d win, so we were very excited,” said Akens, a junior. “It was a little overwhelming, I was excited and I was really proud of my players.”
The winning Central team was made up of Akens, Trever Finney, Wyatt Ruppe, Blaine Smith, Ryan Evers, Justin Fowler and Colbbie Fournier.
The second-place Central team consisted of Jake Campbell, Mary Wolff, Sean Lockwood, Kyle Baker and Colton Dubbel.
A total of 20 teams competed in the state finals in Littleton. Fruita Monument and two Palisade teams also competed in the state finals.
The team competition has teammates bowling and alternating different frames, usually with the strongest bowler taking the 10th frame.
Aken, who has been bowling for about four years and has a high score of 236, said the sport is challenging.
“I think there’s always room to grow, so that is very intriguing,” she said. “I like the team aspect of it, being more of a friendly competition and you enjoy it more.”
The sport is considered a club sport for high school but Robbins said he’s working to get it to be part of the Colorado High School Activities Association.
In the individual competition, Fruita Monument’s Jayden Miller placed second.
Miller, a sophomore, has been bowling since he was 5 years old. He was also a member the Wildcats’ team at state.
“He did an exceptional job of coaching and encouraging his teammates during the state competition,” said Fruita Monument coach Robin Sommerville.
For singles, each round consisted of an accumulative score of five games. Palisade’s Sam Shilling placed 13th and Central’s Jake Campbell finished in 20th. He rolled a high game of 285 in the first round. Central’s Sean Lockwood was 23rd and Colton Dubbel was 33rd.
Central’s Violet Bambino was the top Western Slope girl, placing 13th.
Robbins helped start a Central team in 2002 with only one team. This year, the school had 24 bowlers and four teams.
“It’s been nice to see how it’s grown,” he said.
All the local teams practice and have tournaments at Orchard Mesa Lanes, which donates the facility for the high school season.