Washington High School student-athletes Jordan Pottle and Owen Mullins competed at the State bowling tournament Feb. 27 at Wayne Webb’s bowling center in Columbus.
To get to the State, Pottle placed third at the District tournament at Shawnee Lanes in Chillicothe on Feb. 22 with a three-game series of 626. He rolled games of 245, 186 and 195.
Mullins placed fourth at the District with a 620 series (games of 203, 245 and 172).
The top six percent of boy bowlers competed for the state title. Over 1,600 boy bowlers started the competition to get to state and only 104 made the cut.
Mullins, a senior and Pottle, a sophomore, walked in with the attitude to win and a huge smile on their faces, Washington head coach Buckie Caulley said.
After introductions, practice started and then the competition was on.
“(The) boys had to be nervous, as this was the first time ever bowling in an event like this,” Caulley said. “Prior to starting I told them to look down at all the competition throughout the bowling center and I told them that they all were as nervous as you were. Let’s have some fun and enjoy the moment.
“(In) only my second year as the boys’ coach I’m at the State competition with not one, but two bowlers, I couldn’t be more proud of them both.
“After the competition was over we all got to sit and reflect on the day and wait on the results to post,” Caulley said. “Jordan finished 31st (with a 564 series, games of 215, 185 and 164), finishing in the top two percent of all Division II state bowlers.
“Owen (placed) 68th, finishing in the top four percent of all Division II state bowlers,” Caulley said. “Did the boys bowl as well as they wanted and their ability; no, but they enjoyed it, as we all did.
“Thank you to Coach Anthony Amore for taking the time to come up and help me with coaching Owen and Jordan in the State competition,” Caulley said. “Once again, I’m so proud of these two for making it to State and giving it their all. Congratulations to them both. This will be a lifetime memory and something that not a lot of other bowlers get to say they accomplished.”
“I was surprised to have made it to the State bowling tournament at all, having switched from a one-handed to a two-handed (approach) just six months ago,” Owen Mullins said. “Nevertheless, I had been excited all week after learning that I had made it to the tournament for the first time. It was sort of a proud moment for me, the culmination of eight years of youth and high school bowling.
“At the same time, it was a little bittersweet, not having my whole team with me and knowing that, as a senior, the tournament would signify the end of my high school bowling career,” Mullins said.
“Coach Caulley made sure that Jordan and I had ample practice time ahead of the tournament. I felt like we had some solid practice during the week at Le Ella Lanes and at Wayne Webb’s on Thursday evening and so I had a lot of confidence going into the tournament on Saturday morning.
“The format of play was a bit unusual as we were paired with full high school teams as if we were the sixth man on their team,” Mullins explained. “Bowling teams seem to have their own personalities and support system, so it was a bit awkward being the odd man out. On top of that, we hadn’t played in a large tournament like this all year. All 48 lanes were in play and there were hundreds of spectators on hand as well and so I think that I may have started out a bit nervous.
“My first game left a lot to be desired but I became a bit more consistent over the last two games,” Mullins said. “Although not my finest series by far, I did finish 68th out of 104 bowlers.
“I do want to congratulate Jordan for a great series. He stayed calm, cool and collected and finished 31st,” Mullins said. “As a sophomore, Jordan has a couple of years left with the Blue Lions and will no doubt have a great high school bowling career.
“I want to thank all of the coaches who have helped me improve as a bowler over the years,” Mullins said. “Specifically, I want to thank Coach Caulley for believing in me and keeping me motivated. I want to thank my teammates for supporting me and fighting the good fight this year, Greg Phipps (the school’s athletic director) for his support for the bowling team, the Washington City School District and the Washington Court House community for their support and encouragement.
“I would like to thank Ron Amore and everyone at Le Ella Lanes for their support and making the bowling alley my home away from home. I also want to thank Shane Ison for working with me over the past summer and last but not least, I want to thank my parents and my brother for inciting my interest in bowling and for their countless hours spent in dark, crowed bowling alleys supporting my passion.”