The Washington Lady Lion bowling team has made school history by becoming the first bowling team from Washington High School to qualify to the State tournament.
After placing second in the Frontier Athletic Conference, Washington won the Sectional title and were one of four teams that qualified to the District tournament.
At the District, Washington won with a team score of 3,391.
Fairfield (Leesburg) was second with a 3,108, followed by New Lexington with a 2,838 and Lynchburg-Clay with a 2,728.
Out of 26 bowlers competing at the District tournament, Washington placed three in the top five and four in the top 10 in scoring.
Senior Lindsey Buckner bowled a 153, a 202 and a 164 for a third-place series score of 519.
Senior Maitlyn Cave bowled a 504 series (116, 199 and 189), placing fourth.
Junior Hanna Yoho bowled games of 169, 148 and 178 for a 495 series, taking fifth.
Junior Brooklyn Foose was 10th overall with a 467 series (173, 154 and 140).
Junior Jessika Young bowled a 441 series (147, 151, 143).
Washington will compete in the Division II State tournament at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, located at 3224 S. High Street in Columbus. The qualifying rounds begin Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and are scheduled to last until 2:30 p.m. The championship round starts at 3:45 p.m.
“Every single season, one of the things you want to do is win your league,” Washington head coach Anthony Amore said. “You want to do the best you can in the league. That’s the main goal throughout the season. We ended up second (in the Frontier Athletic Conference). Hillsboro was out front. They have a very good team and a very good program. They are always difficult to beat.
“At the Sectionals, we bowled against 21 teams,” Amore said. “We ended up winning that. We were 103 pins in first. That allowed us to come back the next week (for the District tournament) and we bowled against three other teams and we won that. We actually increased our lead.” Washington finished 283 pins ahead of Fairfield at the District tournament.
“At the beginning of the season, one of the things I had my girls do was write down some goals for themselves and some goals for the team. Two of my seniors actually had it on their radar that they wanted to go to State. I told the girls, this is something to consider. ‘If you guys are going to go to State, this is the year to do it. You guys have an opportunity to qualify for State this year. We have the experience to do it.’
“At that point, some of the girls kind of dismissed what I said,” Amore said. “At some point it would click with them and they would realize that what I was saying made sense. What I was asking them to do started making them do better. After Sectionals, I think they realized, we might have a chance to do this.
“At Sectionals, we did not bowl our best,” Amore said. “We did not even bowl close to our best.”
There will be 16 teams at the Division II State tournament (as well as 16 individuals not on those qualifying teams). The format will be three regular games and three baker games. Then, the top eight teams are placed on a bracket and it’s all baker games at that point. And it’s best three out of five baker games to advance.
“My goal for the girls is to qualify to the finals,” Amore said. “If we can do that, I’m happy. Getting there is great. I understand there’s going to be a lot of nerves, a lot of excitement. We’re going up Thursday to practice. That’s the only practice session there is. Hopefully we’ll get a little more comfortable so that when we get up there Saturday, we have an idea of what’s going to happen. We can try and shake the nerves as early as we can.
“In any tournament, the first couple of frames usually aren’t very good for anybody,” Amore said. “You’ve got those nerves going and you just need to relax a little bit. At the Districts, I told the girls, in the first three frames, don’t let that determine how you’re going to bowl the rest of the day. The sooner you can calm down and start throwing your shots and do what you need to do, the better you are going to do.
“So, the first three frames weren’t that great,” Amore said. “Then they started to bowl well, they started to hit their marks and their scores started to go up. I try to prepare the girls for what’s going to happen ahead of time so when things start to happen, they don’t start getting upset about it and frustrated.
“These girls, when they focus, they are very capable of doing very well,” Amore said. “If we can get past the qualifying and get to the finals, I think that’s going to be a success. There are some really, really good teams that have been to State every year for the last couple of years. There is a girls team that is averaging a 196. That’s going to be the team to beat.”
“I think going into Sectionals, we definitely wanted to qualify for Districts,” senior Ali Reeves said. “We knew that was one of the things we wanted to happen. We were super-stoked for Districts. We went into Districts with big expectations, because last year we got really, really close to going to State.
“When we got first at Districts, we were all really, really excited,” Reeves said. “Now that we’re at State, we kind of just want to go in and experience it and have fun. A State championship would obviously be really cool, but, we just want to have fun.”
“As a team, I feel like we have really grown,” senior Lindsey Buckner said. “We did have a lot of issues at the beginning of the year, with, like, bonding, the inter-action part. I feel as though we have all grown individually and growing individually has allowed us to grow as a team.
“Everyone is watching you,” Buckner said. “The anxiety is definitely high. If you get five strikes, six strikes, seven strikes; they watch you and the nerves build. I’ve been bowling since I was in the first grade. I joined the team my freshman year. I wanted to go to State as a freshman, but we weren’t able to make it. Every year, that’s been my goal, so, I would try to be the best that I could be for the team.
“I’ve really pushed myself,” Buckner said. “At moments when I didn’t want to bowl well, I would remind myself that the reason I love bowling is because I want to succeed. Bowling is a mental game. If your mentality is not good, then your game is not going to be good at all. You have to go in with a clear mind. This game may not go the way I want it to go, but, it may be the best game of my life. There’s no guarantee with bowling; there’s no guessing about what’s going to happen. You can go in and hope for the best and try your best.
“There’s just this feeling I had, like, ‘oh, my gosh, we’re going to go to State this year,’” Buckner said. “I told the coach, ‘hey, we’re going to State.’ He was like, ‘you’re right, we might.’ The rest of the team was like, ‘no, you’re funny.’ And I said, ‘no guys, I really think we have a shot.’
“I personally feel as though, if we take a deep breath and we look at the entire situation and we realize that we are good bowlers,” Buckner said. “Our team struggles with confidence, even though we are going to State. If we have the confidence and we realize we are all good bowlers individually, we can come together as a team.”
“We had a lot of high expectations, being an older team,” senior Maitlyn Cave said. “We’ve grown into this team a lot. We put a lot into this. We set a goal at the beginning of the year that we wanted to win Sectionals and we wanted to win Districts. We didn’t expect ourselves to place so high, we just had high expectations for one another. We set a goal to at least make it to State and we did it. Now, we’re so excited to go.
“I think we can place at least somewhere on the brackets at State,” Cave said. “We’ve practiced a lot. We’ve put our hearts into this. I think we can give it our all and make a placement.”
The bowling team members are being acknowledged by their peers at school, Cave said.
“I walked through the hallways today and I would say at least 15 people recognized me and said congratulations, gave me a high five or fist-bump,” Cave said. “It was amazing. I’ve never seen so many people be so supportive of a team that they didn’t even know was actually part of the school. It was heart-warming, actually.”
“I think we started out with a great bond this year and it just keeps getting stronger,” junior Hanna Yoho said. “Once we won Sectionals, we got it in our heads that, hey, we can win Districts. Then we got to Districts and we won Districts. Now we’re all super-excited that we get to go to State. This feeling is super-cool. It’s going to be an adventure.
“I think I’m ready for it,” Yoho said. “The nervousness has started to kick in. Like, hey, this is less than a week away. We have to get it together and go out there and bowl.”
“We thought going into the FAC that we could win the league,” junior Brooklyn Foose said. “Then we came up with the goal of winning the Districts. When we saw the competition at the Districts, we knew we could do it, because, we have improved so much as a team. Considering this is only my second year, I can tell myself that I have improved. And the other girls felt the same way, that they have improved. It’s brought us closer and that’s how we focused on going to Districts. Then, when we won Districts, we were really surprised, because that was our goal.
“We’re really happy as a team right now,” Foose said. “I’ve always wanted to beat my personal best score (234). Knowing that I even got a 200 this year, is like, unbelievable. I was like a 130 last year. Then I (bowled) a 200 and it was like, oh, my gosh, I can do this. Our game against Trace was unbelievable to us. That was a series that we’ve never had. We had four girls above 200.
“We’ve had like, not good team chemistry,” Foose said. “But, when we got to know each other and know each other’s points of view, we’ve grown together as a team. We didn’t know we could get along as much as we are right now as a team. Right now, we’re really, really close.
“We’re going to be nervous when we to State,” Foose said. “But, if we play like we did against Miami Trace, we’ll have no problems.”
“I’m very proud of my team,” junior Jessika Young said. “I’m very proud of each and every one of them. I’m glad that we did win (the District). I’m just proud to be able to go (to State). I’m just going to go with the flow. I’m not going to get really mad about anything, because that just messes with your head in bowling. It’s very mental.
“I had a really good feeling that we were going far this year,” Young said. “This year, it gave me (a lot of) hope, because we’ve gotten so much stronger, together. We’ve also bowled, very well. During, I think, the middle of the season, I knew we were going to get pretty far. We’re just a family. I would say that my goal is to be first. I think we have a high chance of getting first. But, if we don’t, I’m just going to say that we had a really good year.”