Before heading to regionals in a week, the McPherson bowling team will play at The Alley in Wichita at the AVCTL championship.
As the boys remain undefeated, Bullpups head coach Herb Halinski is confident in his team in claiming the league title.
Other teams that will be participating are Buhler High School, Andale High School, Augusta High School, Mulvane High School, Wichita Collegiate School, Circle High School and El Dorado High School.
“I expect the boys to bowl really well. We’ve been practicing all week. It’s for the league championship, we’ve beaten everybody in our division already. So hopefully we continue beating them,” Halinski said.
While focusing on the league championship, the Bullpups have been practicing as if they were preparing for regionals.
Senior bowler Clayton Ouellette, who has been a bowler since he was four-years-old, believes that the chemistry between teammates could lead to them winning it all.
“I’m looking forward to seeing if the guys can all work together and see if we can win the league championship. We really have the potential to win it all this year,” Ouellette said.
The last match the Bullpups played, Matthew Stiggins bowled a perfect game. There might be a slim chance of that happening again from either the boys or girls, but Halinski knows that any of his boys are capable of repeating that moment.
“Anybody could. Four or five could do it easily. There’s a lot of luck involved and obviously, skills. But you need a little bit of luck from the bowling gods as well,” Halinski laughed.
The girls team has six on the roster, with half of them starting bowling this season with no prior experience.
Senior Bowler Cheyenne Williams, who has been on the team since last year, said it took her a while to get better at the sport.
Now, as one of the leading veterans, she steps up as a leader and helps her teammates improve their skills.
“Probably all of last season it finally clicked. One of the main things is to keep them relaxed and make sure that they stay calm. If you have a bad frame, just move on to the next one,” Williams said.
Halinski has been impressed by the progress the girls have made throughout the season. He also expects his leaders on the team to help coach up others in every practice.
“The girls have improved 110 percent since the beginning of the season. We also have three others that played for a couple years and helped the younger girls out — they led the team and improved,” Hallinski said.
Going into Friday’s tournament, one of the things Hallinski wants his bowlers to improve on is hitting spares. Often in practice, the team would work on hitting spares on each set when there are only a few pins left, after an attempt to hit all 10.
“We just take 20-30 minutes of practice and that’s all we do. We just take the 10 pins and see if we can hit the 7 pins and just go down the line. We just got to stay focused. There’s a lot of good teams this year, so we definitely got to do our best at this tournament,” Ouellette said.
With momentum on their side, the Bullpups are expecting the league championship to be a tough matchup for them, knowing that they have already battled their divisional opponents already.
However, as heavy favorites to win it all, the Bullpups are taking the opportunity to improve their skills while preparing for regionals coming up.
“There’s a lot of good teams out there. It all just depends who will show up and wants it more. Everyone is able to go and win it. If we could look forward to regionals, I think we could all get prepared a little bit better just by taking the week to get prepared,” Ouellette said.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_