In Anita Carlson’s five years of coaching the Free State High bowling team, she had never swept Lawrence High at the city dual.
The five-year slump is over.
Free State’s boys topped Lawrence High, 2,611 to 2,529; the FSHS girls completed the sweep with a 2,052 to 2,013 triumph on Tuesday at Royal Crest Lanes.
“It’s just a different competition than the rest of our competitions, because it’s Lawrence High,” Carlson said. “And it’s Free State. It makes it more exciting. It’s always been my goal to come in at our city dual and take both girls and boys. We finally made it.”
Robert Wagner had the high series of all bowlers with a 700, typical for the consistent FSHS senior. The surprise series came from FSHS senior Adam Miltner, who rolled a 653, the highest mark of his career. Miltner had the crowd buzzing with seven strikes in a row from the third to 10th frame in Game 2.
“When it strikes and everyone cheers, it’s pretty cool,” Miltner said. “Unlike practice, when I strike and my dad’s like, ‘Good job.’ I appreciate my dad’s support, but it’s just really cool to have people cheering for you.”
Miltner recovered well after a 161 in Game 1, with a 268 in Game 2 and a 224 in Game 3.
“My first game, that was really bad,” Miltner said. “I just knew I really wanted to beat LHS. So I came back and just started throwing really good shots. I knew I didn’t have to switch bowling balls or anything. I knew I didn’t have to do anything different, but just throw good shots and focus on what I was doing. Obviously, it paid off.”
Connor Kring (646) and Nick Conrad (612) rounded out the FSHS boys scores.
For Lawrence High, junior Chad Boyd (694) and senior Ben Wyatt (666) posted the top two scores.
“I felt I actually stepped up for once,” Boyd said. “I’ve been on a little bit of a struggle during the season, but I came out here and stayed strong.”
Boyd’s numbers (234-222-238) were the steadiest of any Lion.
“There was a point in the 222 (second game) where he could have gotten frustrated,” LHS coach Tom Birt said. “Instead of letting it get to him and getting mad, he let it go and he stayed focused, which is really good practice for regionals.”
Added Boyd: “I’d like to break 7(00) out there. That’s my goal (at regionals).”
Free State girls 2,052, Lawrence 2,013
FSHS senior Christina Picicci led the Firebirds to victory with a 524 series.
However, Lawrence High’s Rebecca McNemee turned some heads with the high girls series of 533. McNemee’s only a freshman.
“That’s my highest series ever,” she said. “It surprised me, but I’m really happy about it. I’ve been trying a new bowling ball. Before I was bowling with a lighter ball (10-11 pounds). I got a new one (12 pounds), and it’s been rolling really well for me.”
Free State’s depth was too much for Lawrence to overcome. The Firebirds had all four bowlers top the 500 mark. The Lions had only two.
LHS and Free State will compete in regionals on Saturday at the Zuckey Bowl in Manhattan.