The McPherson High bowling teams have taken turns at making a run at state gold.
Both have won a state title since the program started in 2008. The boys won state in their initial year, while the girls broke through in 2014.
The teams have been state staples, with both advancing last year. The girls wound up taking fourth and the boys seventh. Jasmine Wann was fourth individually in the girls’ tournament in her final season.
But this year it may be the boys who step to the front. MHS begins its season on Friday hosting Andale at Starlite Lanes, then goes to Wichita on Saturday for the 26-team Bishop Carroll Invitational, which incorporates the “Baker” format.
2014 Kansas Bowling Coach of the Year Herb Halinski has piloted the program since its inception and he has a really good feeling about his boys.
“The boys are going to be pretty deep,” said Halinksi, who has five returnees from last year’s state tournament team.
The leaders will be Carl Frazier, Jeff Reed and Clayton Ouellette, all of whom are capable of putting up monstrous numbers. KC Becker and Talin Goebel also were part of the state team, while freshman Matt Stiggins has emerged to complete the lineup.
Ouellette has a 300 game to his credit, while Frazier has a 298 and Reed a 286.
The girls were hit hard by graduation, with Alexis Kieffer, Ashley LaSalle and Bailey Holton to provide leadership in what could be somewhat of a rebuilding year. Anna Young, Maysan Groote and Brooke Miller complete the opening-day lineup.
LaSalle’s top game has been 257, while Kieffer has had a 232 and Holton a 223.
Following the Andale dual, MHS goes to Wichita as it’s a busy 24 hours for the teams.
“I am really looking forward to getting on the lanes as well as the kids,” Halinski said. “Everyone has been really working hard on the spare system we use and I have seen some improvement in that area so far this year, but only time will tell under competition.”
Saturday’s tournament is unique as it’s a format seldom used.
“All the kids having been talking about is the Bishop Carroll Invite on Saturday, which is a Baker format tournament,” Halinski said. “Baker is the true aspect of team bowling as each player bowls two of the 10 frames of each game. The team really supports each other as they know how important each frame is and don't want to let their teammates down.”
Friday’s home dual has a 3 p.m. start. On Saturday in Wichita at the West Acres, the girls bowl at 10 a.m., and the boys go at 1:30 p.m.