Less than a week away from the start of the bowling season, Lawrence High coach Paula Bastemeyer is confident there won’t be any problems finding motivation throughout the year.
Lawrence’s girls bowling team took fourth at the Class 6A state meet last season, one spot away from earning a plaque. The LHS boys fell short of qualifying for state. With a long list of returners on both squads, there’s plenty of reasons they are looking to improve.
For the girls, the Lions will be led by seniors Holly Evans and Diamonique Vann. Evans was 16th at the state meet and Vann won a Sunflower League title.
“I don’t have seniors who are here just because they have just always done it,” Bastemeyer said. “I have them because they are passionate about it, especially the girls.”
Along with Evans and Vann, the Lions bring back several of the top members of the junior varsity lineup: Ashley Dykes, Lana Chieu, Jojo Blackwood, Emilie Rodman and Skyler Scrivner.
The Lions were one of the state’s top teams in the Baker format last season, which Bastemeyer said showcased their competitiveness.
“Diamonique and Holly are good role models for the kids,” Bastemeyer said. “They are working with the girls even when I’m not down there.”
Lawrence’s boys team features five seniors: Isaac Cox, Ethan Huslig, Hunter Krom, Javier Lemmons and Adonis Stanwix. Lemmons and Stanwix both had a 190 average in their games last season.
Plus, the Lions hope to receive a boost from freshmen who went through the youth bowling program.
“I think we’ve got kids who know their equipment, know their form and I think that’s going to make a difference,” Bastemeyer said. “They understand the game and they understand what needs to happen. In fact, I heard a couple of them already talking about they need to stay more focused.”
Under first-year coach Chuck Law, there’s some optimism that Free State’s girls bowling team can quickly pick up where it left off at the end of last season.
The Firebirds didn’t qualify for the state tournament, but returned four members of their varsity squad: Sapphie Knight, Sydney Jordan, Nikki Miele and Lexie Lockwood. Miele earned a spot at state as an individual, placing 52nd.
“They’ve done really well so far in practice,” Law said. “They should expect some good things out of themselves this year."
Free State’s boys bowling team graduated a large group of seniors, which leaves junior Bayn Schrader as the only varsity returner. There are no seniors on this season’s squad.
Law said the Firebirds are hopeful for strong seasons from sophomores John Hamer and Porter Neidow.
“We’re looking to Bayn to provide a lot of the leadership as an experienced returner,” Law said. “Definitely a work in progress and a rebuild, but they’ve done great so far and they are invested and they really want to get better.”
Both schools will compete in the Free State Invitational at Royal Crest Lanes this week. The girls will bowl at 8 a.m. Thursday and the boys will follow Friday morning.