One year after claiming the Class 6A state girls bowling team championship with a dramatic final game rally over Haysville-Campus, the Garden City Buffaloes could only watch as their top rival had built a big enough lead to hold off the Buffs to claim the 2018 title.
The runner-up finish by the GCHS girls came on a tough day of bowling as scores were remarkably low on what coach Kip Nichols called one of the toughest shots the bowlers had seen all year.
Campus had taken the early lead following the three-game series portion of the competition with a 2,169 total while Wichita Northwest was second at the time at 2,122. The Buffs were sitting a 2,055 on games of 709-666-680.
In the four-game Baker format (5 bowlers roll 2 frames each, non-consecutive order), the Buffs totaled 719, which was the highest of any team competing. But it wasn’t enough as Campus rolled a 698 to finish on top with a 2,867 total to Garden’s 2,774, a 93-pin differential. Northwest was third at 2,725.
“It was the kind of shot you see at the next (college) level,” Nichols said. “It was very difficult for everybody and it was a tough one to adjust and make changes and to get comfortable with. We really never did get that comfortable with the type of shot we needed.”
Karly Larson was the top individual for the Buffs’ girls with a 542 series on games of 161-193-188, putting her in seventh place individually.
Campus’ Piper Reams won the individual gold medal with a 600 series (160-244-196). Also finishing ahead of Larson were Madison Hadl of Olathe North (573), Addison Herzberg of Wichita East (569), Kaylie Nelson of Wichita Northwest (547), Sydney Miller of Olathe East and Abigail Kennedy of Wichita Nortwhest (both at 543).
Faith Whited was the only other Buffs’ bowler to finish among the top 20 medalists with a 512 series on games of 170-173-169.
No other Buffs’ bowler broke the 500-pin series total as Ryleigh Whitehurst, last year’s state runner-up finished at 4879 (189-149-151), Angelina Leeper at 485 (189-146-150), Alexis Leon at 462 (139-151-172) and Emilee Giger at 438 (159-145-134).
“The shot was very, very heavy on oil and was concentrated in the middle 26 boards and may have been 40 to 42 feet long,” Nichols said of the shot pattern. “It was just difficult to score and a pattern where you had to be extremely accurate and spot on with every shot.”
Nichols said he was pleased with the scrappiness of the girls, as they battled throughout the Baker format to move from third to second, but just couldn’t quite catch Campus despite a second-game 221 after an opening 156.
All six of the GCHS girls will return for the 2019 season, all looks bright for the immediate future of the program.
“We had our day last year, Campus had their day today,” Nichols said. “We’ll be back and be looking to get back on top next year.”
It was the only loss for the girls team all season after having swept the Bishop Carroll and Great Plains Invitational events in Wichita and going unbeaten in the Western Athletic Conference.
The two individual boys who competed also struggled as freshman Caidan Orozco placed 41st with a 471 series (167-146-158) while junior Brayden Bickett was 53rd at 443 (157=161-125).
“Just not a very good showing for us, but the boys were trying, but couldn’t find their shot,” Nichols said.
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