Free State High’s boys bowling team wasn’t sure exactly how its Tuesday home quad would go without one of its top rollers.
Not too bad, it turns out.
Without Tyler Roste, FSHS bowlers Nate Fiester, Chase Taylor, Briggs Fish, Jordan Jump, Kyle Hall and Eric Glogau led the Firebirds to a second-place finish at Royal Crest Lanes.
Their coach, Anita Carlson, whose girls team took third place (led by senior Olivia Marshall’s three-game series score of 561), said the Free State boys had been practicing on their release points and delivery, and it showed.
“We were out of first place by 61 pins (Olathe South won with 2,431), but we had two great series,” she said, referring to Fiester’s 627 and Taylor’s 620.
Fiester had one of the most consistent outings on the team, rolling 211, 211 and 205. He made a point to concentrate on his mark and could feel that helping him all afternoon.
“The first ball,” the FSHS senior said, “I just knew it was going to be a good day.”
With Roste out sick, Fiester admitted he thought Free State could struggle. But that wasn’t the case. Carlson remarked that the boys showed a tremendous amount of improvement.
It usually takes a while for the bowlers to get warmed up, but Fiester said by the sixth frame of the first game, they hit their zone. The Firebirds were smashing down pins most of the afternoon, which is always a welcome sign at the Firebirds’ home alley.
“You like to hear the claps,” Fiester said of the home fans.
Plenty of cheers were directed at Marshall and the FSHS girls, too. Marshall, a senior, scored a new single-game record with 222, and her personal-best series score jumped up more than 20 points, as well
“I feel like we’ve been growing over the last few meets and today I personally hit my top,” she said afterward.
Marshall said the difference for her was just feeling confident as she focused on each step of her approach.
“You know what you’ve got to do, so you’ve got to concentrate,” the senior said.
Free State’s girls finished behind winner Olathe Northwest and runner-up KC Sumner Academy. Senior Meredith Baker scored 482 with her series and senior Haley Hanson finished with 477.
According to Carlson, the Firebirds showed improvement and are still in the process of putting everything — backswing, release, delivery — together.
The coach liked that some of the girls bounced back after low-scoring games with much better efforts in the next 10 frames.
“They showed improvement. That’s all we can ask,” Carlson said. “Well, we didn’t win, but we improved from the last time out.”
Next up for Free State is a Thursday afternoon meet hosted by Olathe South.