There were more than a few unknowns for Garden City High School during Saturday’s season-opening bowling tournament at West Acres Bowling Center in Wichita.
First and foremost was how would the three freshmen — two boys and one girls — handle their first varsity competition?
The answer was a resounding “very well.”
Competing in the prestigious Bishop Carroll Invitational, the Buffaloes had their best combined placings in head coach Kip Nichols’ tenure — the girls finished second and the boys third.
The effort was highlighted by the two freshmen available on the boys’ team — Ty Weilert and Dionicio Resendiz — Nichols said.
“I was optimistic about what I thought I would see, but I wasn’t sure because this is the first high school experience they’ve had,” Nichols said. “But I was pleasantly surprised to see what I got.”
The tournament was comprised of 24 teams, split into four pools of six teams. Each team would compete in a round robin of two baker format games vs. each of the other teams in the pool. Baker format means all five bowlers on a team would bowl two non-consecutive frames.
Each time a team won a game, the team was awarded 15 bonus pins — or 10 for tying a game.
Then, teams would be matched up for the sixth and final head-to-head game, and then finally ranked by total pin fall, including bonuses.
The GCHS boys team had Caiden Orozco, Brayden Bicket, Ethan Newberry, Weilert and Resendiz. The girls were comprised of returners Karly Larson, Faith Whited, Angelina Leeper, Alexis Leon and freshman Holly Bridges.
The brother-sister combo of Kaden and Ryleigh Whitehurst were not available due to a death in the family, Nichols said.
The boys went 8-3-1 overall in their games, finishing with 2,519 total pins — Wichita Heights won the division with 2.679 pins and Great Bend was second with 2,552.
Because the games were baker format, no individual scores were officially record, but Nichols said Weilert and Resendiz had the best individual days.
“When they come out and lead their team, in that kind of pressure situation, says a lot,” Nichols said.
On the girls’ side, the freshman Bridges also had a good day, Nichols said, carrying the weight of being the anchor.
The girls finished with a total pin fall of 2,329, with a game record of 9-3, good enough for second place behind Wichita Northwest’s 2,357. Though, the Buffs nearly won the division, going into their final two games — vs. Northwest — with a 37-pin lead, before losing both games against the Grizzlies and dropping to second.
The Buffs’ next action comes Tuesday at Liberal.