For the second time in a week, the Manhattan High bowling teams hosted a meet at Little Apple Lanes.
This time around, Manhattan’s performance dipped a little as the competition got tougher. The boys’ team took second and the girls’ finished third out of four teams.
“We didn’t quite perform as well as last week, but to get beat by nine pins out of 2,500, is pretty close,” Manhattan head coach Chris George said of his boys’ team. “It’s still just all about picking up those spares. If it’s not an unlucky split or something, a person ought to be able to get a good share of them, if you want to be competitive.”
While the Indians swept the meet last week, Washburn Rural made things tough for the home teams this time around, taking first in both competitions with a 2,598 team score ahead of the Manhattan boys’ 2,589. The MHS girls’ team came in third with a score of 2,071, behind the Junior Blues (2,458) and Emporia (2,287).
Washburn Rural won the girls’ match with ease as Whitney Prokish rolled a 730 series, as well as the high game of the day at 278. Emporia’s Jordan Kiser also had a series of more than 700, finishing with a 725.
“Having two girls over 700, that’s quite a day for them,” George said of the competition. “For us, we still just have a very young team on the girls’ side, so we just need to keep working with them.”
Miranda Dooley finished in sixth place with a 530 series, with Danielle Miller taking 11th overall with a 513, showing remarkable consistency by scoring a 171 in each of her three games. Andrea Miller was right behind with a 505 series. Meghan Dooley finished with a 470, while Kat Eimer had a 429.
“I’m not sure if Danielle (Miller) has been over 500 yet this year, but she was today. So that’s an improvement,” George said. “And Miranda (Dooley) finally came around. She’s capable of even better than that, but she did well today.”
George said in order for the girls’ team to get higher in the team standings, they’ll need more consistency across the board.
“To be competitive, we need to have girls averaging a consistent 180 and not have games dipping into the 130s and 140s,” he said. “It’s still all about spares. We’ve left a lot of single-pin spares, and they aren’t necessarily the 10 pin either. It’s all a matter of hitting our mark — it just takes focus and concentration.”
Individually, the boys’ team did well, with Alex Murph taking first with a 694 series, just one pin ahead of teammate Shon Eakes. Alex Huerta finished with a 626, with Gerad Vanhoosier (548), Tucker Reffitt (531) and Eric Prokish (457) rounding out the scoring.
Not surprisingly, the Indians are most comfortable bowling at home, and will get the chance to do so at regionals, as Manhattan will host on Thursday, Feb. 21.
While it might seem like bowling is bowling, no matter where you are, George says playing at home is an advantage just like any sport.
“It’s a big advantage,” George said. “You don’t have to ride the bus, you go to your locker to get your stuff, you’re familiar with everything. I think mentally, it’s like shooting baskets in your driveway compared to somebody else’s. It shouldn’t be. A good bowler should just focus — it’s all 15 feet in front of you with those arrows. That’s all you’re looking at.”
Oil on the lanes can change depending on which bowling center you’re playing at, but George says those adjustments are supposed to be made in warm-ups and are announced ahead of time to help bowlers prepare.
“After warm-ups, you should still have a good idea within an inch or two of where you should be,” George said. “Then it’s all about focusing literally 15-feet in front of you, not 60-feet down the lane.”
George said the regional competition will be stiff, as usual.
“We’ll have our work cut out for us, because Washburn Rural will be there, Lawrence Free State will be there, and some Wichita schools,” he said. “But we bowl our best here, so hopefully we’ll have things figured out by then.”