ZANESVILLE — The Miami Trace Panthers boys bowling team placed second at the Division I District tournament held Feb. 26 at the Sunrise Bowling Center in Zanesville.
Team member, junior Connor Collins, won the District championship with a three-game series score of 662. He will compete at the State tournament Saturday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl on South High Street.
Collins had game scores of 231, 174 and 257, the latter being the highest single game total by an individual at the tournament.
Freshman Jake Manbevers placed ninth with a 550 series (198, 162, 190) and junior Jayden Brown placed 10th with a 544 series (141, 180, 223).
After the first game, the Panthers were in second place with an 875 score, 33 pins behind the leaders, Sheridan.
After two games, Miami Trace was in third place with a 1,665 total, 133 pins behind Sheridan.
In the third game, the Panthers had the highest team total of the tournament, 1,005, to take the lead by 27 pins.
After two baker games, the Panthers fell back to third place, 31 pins behind the leaders.
After four baker games, the Panthers moved back into second place, 64 pins out of first.
The last two baker games were better, but not enough to retake the lead.
“The team had a very good season in a year that had many distractions with the COVID and the quarantines,” Miami Trace head coach Ron Amore Sr. said.
Miami Trace junior Chris Evans placed 20th with a 499 series (158, 146, 195) and sophomore Brendan Major bowled a two-game total of 275 (147 and 128).
Freshman Bryce Stuckey bowled one game with a total of 140.
“I felt like I bowled good that day,” Collins said of the District tournament. “I just acted like I was bowling on any other day. Everything carried and hooked up right.
“It all ended up that we needed to make a few more spares,” Collins said. “We have a pretty good group of kids who are all going to be back next year. We’ll have the same team next year. We’ll all grow and mature and spend the off-season trying to get better.”
As for his goal for his first time at State, Collins said: “I’m pretty sure everybody would like to win. My goal is to place pretty high. Bowling is pretty much all I do and I put in a lot of work. If I can figure everything out and everything starts hooking up right, I feel I can do pretty good.”
Collins spoke about the influence head coach Ron Amore Sr. has had on his outlook and his game.
“I came in as a freshman, kind of intimidated and all that,” Collins said. “They were all really good bowlers. He kind of shook me out of that. He’s taught me most of what I know today. I feel like he’s made me a better bowler.”
Amore Sr. has high expectations for his State-qualifier.
“I expect him to win,” Amore Sr. said. “We’re not going for second place. That doesn’t mean he will, but, that’s always the goal. That should always be your goal, to do the best you can do. I expect the team or the individuals to win every time they step out on the lane. Hopefully that’s the kind of attitude I can instill in them. That’s what I want to do whenever I bowl; I want to do the best I can do every time. I want each and every one of these boys to do the same.
“Connor works hard, he practices, he listens, he asks questions,” Amore Sr. said. “He’s a pretty good leader on the team.”
Collins, who began bowling at the age of 7 or 8, started in the junior leagues at LeElla Lanes.
He is the son of Bobbie and J.R. Collins and is also a member of the Miami Trace Marching Band, playing the drums.
Amore Sr. and Collins were to travel to Columbus Thursday for a practice session at Wayne Webb’s establishment prior to Saturday’s State tournament.