COLUMBUS — The District champion Washington Lady Lion bowling team made its debut at the Division II State tournament Saturday, Feb. 29.
Washington was one of 16 teams that qualified to the event, held at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
After each team bowled three regular games and three baker games, the top eight teams were placed on a bracket for the final rounds, which were all baker games.
Washington placed 10th and missed qualifying to the final eight by just 29 pins.
The team from Bryan High School won the State, beating Springfield Greenon and Coldwater.
After the initial six games, Washington had a pin total of 2,809.
Mechanicsburg placed ninth with 2,834 pins, just four away from eighth place Urbana (2,838).
Senior Lindsey Bucker placed 14th out of 104 total competitors with a 542 series (games of 182, 180 and 180).
Junior Brooklyn Foose was 45th with a series of 485 (games of 179, 149 and 157).
Senior Maitlyn Cave tied for 47th place overall with a 482 series (game scores of 142, 161 and 179).
Junior Hanna Yoho tied for 64th place with a 441 (scores of 136, 178 and 127).
Senior Ali Reeves bowled one game of 126 and Jessika Young bowled a 113 game.
The Record-Herald was able to speak with three of the team members just as school was letting out Tuesday.
“We practiced at the facility and then we knew our adjustments going in,” Brooklyn Foose said. “We didn’t know how the lanes would break down throughout (with) the other teams actually being there.
“It was nerve-wracking and a surprise going up to State, but we were excited to do so,” Foose said. “I think we adjusted pretty well. I’m pretty happy we finished 10th out of the whole state.”
“I was nervous,” Hanna Yoho said. “It was tense. We overcame it and we came together as a team. We just got stronger and grew that bond.
“I think it was very memorable,” Yoho said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing to do, take your team to State.”
“As the whole dynamic for the team, I think we did very well,” Lindsey Buckner said. “We went in, we had that confidence. We knew we were good bowlers. I was worried about how we would handle everything, how we would handle the nerves.
“I was very focused,” Buckner said. “I’ve gone to a lot of competitions, ever since I was young. It was different and it was exciting. It was, I suppose, to cause nerves. Just because I’ve been in so many other competitions, I don’t really feel like it affected me in that way.
“I had the will and the power to do so well at State this year,” Buckner said. “I was like, ‘you know, I’m going to go somewhere this year. I’m going to make it somewhere.’ I would say I put pressure on myself, but I didn’t have any nerves.
“It’s definitely something I’m going to look back on and reminisce,” Buckner said. “I’m going to miss everything this team has offered me and everything that the sport has offered me. Bowling has been a part of my life since first grade.”
Buckner has been a member of the team for four years.
“Bowling means a lot to me and it’s always going to mean a lot to me, even if it isn’t what I do in the future,” Buckner said.
“This is the first time this team’s ever gotten there,” Washington head coach Anthony Amore said. “It was a good experience to just get there.
“Going into (the tournament), we knew we had to pick up easy spares,” Amore said. “When you have a single pin up there, you have to be able to pick that up. If you miss it, that’s a missed opportunity.
“Did everybody bowl as well as they wanted to up there, no,” Amore said. “There were a lot of nerves at the State meet. Being in a big center, being there with the best in the state. It’s packed. At some point, they say, ‘no more people in there.’
“I told the girls, you have to get calmed down and start hitting your shots,” Amore said. “The first couple of frames weren’t going to be good. It was the same at Districts and the same at Sectionals.
“Our first couple of frames weren’t real good,” Amore said. “Then, we started getting in the swing of things. Going into the second game, the standings came out and we were ninth, right on the bubble of making the cut. As the other teams started to loosen up, they were bowling better.”
At some point, according to Amore, the team seemed to loose focus.
“We did a little better during the third game,” Amore said. “What really killed us is, we missed some easy spares we should have picked up. I can’t point to one girl…everybody missed spares that we should have picked up. If two kids had picked up a spare, we would have been there. Twenty-nine pins is not hard to make up at all.
“In our third game, we missed multiple spares,” Amore said. “In the ninth and tenth frames, it was not good. It was one of those things where, if we would have had one girl do what they were supposed to in the ninth and tenth frame there, that makes up the points.
“We moved across the house for our baker games,” Amore said. “Our first baker game (134) was one of the lowest they bowled the entire year. Those 29 pins could have easily been made up in that first baker game.
“In the second baker game, we bowled a 152,” Amore said. “That is probably a little bit lower than their average for baker games. Before the last game, I took the ladies aside and I said, ‘I don’t know where we’re at right now.’ I said, ‘the only chance we have to make it (to the final eight) at this point is to bowl the best baker game that we have the entire year.’ I reminded them their season and in some cases, their careers, were almost at an end.
“Our first girl went up there and had an open frame,” Amore said. “That’s okay. One open frame at the beginning doesn’t hurt you that much. From there, the next bowler struck. We had seven strikes in a row in that last baker game. Everybody bowled a strike that game.” Washington’s 231 score in the third baker game was the highest out of the 48 baker games bowled that day.
“That line-up was Jessika Young, Brooklyn Foose, Hanna Yoho, Maitlyn Cave and Lindsey Buckner,” Amore said. “So, all five of those girls struck at some point during that game. We ended up open in the ninth frame. There again, if we would have closed that first frame and that ninth frame, there’s 29 pins. We did that in the last game. It was great that we did that.
“It was almost disappointing because, it’s like, that’s the potential that we have,” Amore said. “That’s what got us to that tournament. My girls were able to do their very best there in that third baker game. Basically, the last time they bowled together as a team, they did their very best.
“Once you got to the final eight, the rest was all baker games,” Amore said. “If we could have been No. 8 and knocked off No. 1; any one of those eight teams could have won it. There were some teams there after we left, I’m sure, that were thinking ‘I’m glad they didn’t make it.’ Our momentum was there.
“What it comes down to is, we made it to State,” Amore said. “We did something that has never been done before (from Washington High School). The girls coming back know what it’s going to take. We’re losing three of our seniors (Buckner, Cave and Reeves).
“Brooklyn, Hanna and Jessika all know it’s going to get harder,” Amore said. “They understand how to play the game and it’s (about) getting better at playing the game now.”