For McPherson High’s girls to defend their state bowling title, they must get there first.
On Friday, the Bullpups head to Great Bend for the Class 5-1A regional tournament. The action has a 10 a.m. start.
And, as usual, MHS coach Herb Halinski says it all comes down to one facet of the game — making spares.
“Great Bend has always been a challenging place for us to bowl,” Halinski said. “The lane conditions are typically a little tougher there and it is a grind-out tournament where spare-making is a premium. I like to compare it to a U.S. Open or Masters type of golf tournament where good shot-makers will fare the best.”
Both MHS teams are coming off somewhat disappointing performances last weekend in the league meet, where they finished second to El Dorado.
“Last week was a struggle to make spares at the league meet,” Halinski said. “I attribute it to lack of concentration and focus as it was a very easy condition to get to the pocket. We have been practicing different spares all week and will continue to do so.”
There will be no shortage of challengers since the girls are the defending state champions and the boys took third at state.
“The teams to beat will be Great Bend on the girls’ side and probably Maize South,” Halinski said. “The boys’ side will be tougher as Sacred Heart has a good team. Great Bend will play a factor as will Salina South. I like our chances, but the kids have to make spares as it will be a tough grind-out type of tournament.”
Four Bullpup girls were in the league Top 10 last week — Makenzie Benson, Jasmine Wann, Rhianna Smith and Ashley LaSalle. For the boys, Carl Frazier, Jeff Reed and Clayton Ouellette made the elite group.
The top three teams in the four regionals advance to state, which will be held March 5 in Wichita. The top six highest individuals scores that are not members of a qualifying team will qualify as well.
At state, girls bowl in the morning (9:30) and boys in the afternoon (2 p.m.)