If Lawrence High bowler Ben Wyatt had his way, the Lions would go back to the old days of the sport when scores were kept with pencils on faded white and yellow sheets of paper.
Instead, Wyatt rolls in the modern era, where 27-inch screens mounted above each lane keep a constant tally of a bowler’s score and strikes and spares are followed by celebratory graphics.
“It’s pretty tempting to look up there,” Wyatt said. “But I really try to look as little as possible.”
Monday afternoon at Royal Crest Lanes, Wyatt was greeted with good news at every stolen glance as the LHS boys won the three-team meet and Wyatt walked away with the high series.
His 690 was not a season best (697), nor was it a career high (733). But it felt like it thanks to the 277 he rolled in Game 3.
After starting with a 187 and improving to 226 in Game 2, Wyatt saved his best for last. What’s funny about the progression, however, is that he probably looked up at his score the least during his best game.
“I really try to avoid it when I’ve got a run of strikes going,” Wyatt said.
That meant little looking during his final 10 frames. Wyatt opened Game 3 with four straight strikes, picked up a spare in the fifth frame and followed that up with six more strikes before falling one pin short with his final ball.
The result was good enough to pace the LHS boys to victory, as Wyatt joined Tanner Kilmer (621), Matt Weber (599) and Chad Boyd (593) and led the Lions to a team total of 2,503 while knocking off Shawnee Heights (2,376) and Kansas City Washington (2,297).
Josh Russell (585) and Tyler Bailey (495) also rolled with the varsity squad Monday, but their scores did not crack the four-man team total.
In girls action, the Lions were a little less consistent but just as competitive. They rode a career day from Delaney Dieker and typical strong showings from Alexah Gudenkauf and Danielle Husted to a second-place finish, coming in just behind Shawnee Heights.
After scoring near her average in the opening game (146), Dieker exploded in Game 2, finishing with a career-best 213 en route to a 507 series. Not only was the 213 a new career high for Dieker, it also marked the first time in her life that she cracked 200.
Although Dieker said she enjoyed bowling in a zone, she admitted that the intensity increased with each frame during her career game.
“It brought more pressure,” she said. “But the excitement kept me going and pulled me through.”
Dieker said she did not do anything differently during her stellar second game. Instead, she just tried to hone in on each frame and each ball.
“I just stayed more focused than I normally do,” she said.
Gudenkauf led the LHS girls with a 559 series, while Husted (439) and Darinka Delatorre (381) filled out the varsity scorecard.
Lousa Hussein (366) and Stephanie Reed (356) also rolled with the varsity girls.
On the junior varsity lanes, the LHS boys finished first with 2,094 pins, and the girls finished second with 1,506.
Whit Gehrke led the JV boys with a 558. Spencer Scott (525), Quillan Houser (506), Riley Gentry (505), Jesse Pacheco (418) and Owen Blackwood (415) rounded out the card.
For the girls, Kirstyn Heine led the Lions with a 456, while Raquel Rodriguez (361), Vilai Khanya (353), Makayla White (336) and Jamie Jarrett (330) also competed.
Next up for the Lions is Wednesday’s city showdown, a 3:30 p.m. dual against Free State High at Royal Crest Lanes.
“We’re all kind of friends,” said Wyatt of the rivalry between LHS and FSHS. “But we still have that sense of competition, and we all want to win.”