After one game in Tuesday’s triangular at Royal Crest Lanes, Lawrence High senior standout bowler Josh Russell found himself in unfamiliar territory: Toiling in the middle-of-the-pack.
“The last couple of days I’ve been bowling pretty well,” said Russell, who rolled a disappointing 172 in the first of three games. “But today, that first game wasn’t too great.”
His slide down the leaderboard, however, proved to be short-lived, as Russell posted the day’s two highest scores — a 238 and a 256 — in his next two games to finish with a three-game score of 666 and nudge teammates Tanner Kilmer (second with a score of 649) and Ryan Miller (third, 640) for first place overall.
The performance helped Lawrence High to a first-place team finish while also reinforcing a message LHS coaches have spent the past few weeks attempting to instill: Don’t let the disappointment of a rough start linger.
“What we’ve been (emphasizing) in practice is really just getting them to understand that it’s a three-game series, not just one game,” said Lions assistant coach Tyler Demaline. “They’re starting to get it in their heads that if they have one bad game, they can still come back with two good games and really help the team.”
That was certainly the case Tuesday, a day Lawrence High struggled out of the gates.
Three of Lawrence High’s six boys varsity bowlers opened with their worst game of the day — including Russell and seventh-place finisher Ben Wyatt — but rebounded enough to help the Lions to a final score of 2,553, nearly 300 points more than runner-up Olathe South.
“I’m pretty confident about our team this year,” Russell said. “We’ve got five or six really high-quality bowlers, so we’ve got a good chance of making it to state and potentially winning it.”
Alexah Gudenkauf overcame a slow start of her own on the girls side, meanwhile, turning in a series score of 576 to finish second overall as the girls team placed first with 1,964 points. She was joined in the top-five by teammates Danielle Husted (third, 490) and Morgan Boyd (fifth, 470).
“I started slowing down what I was doing and doing some different things,” said Boyd, who pulled off a third-game 196 after a combined 274 in her first two games. “So I’m kind of happy about that.