String of strikes lifts Lions’ Erickson at regional

It didn’t matter that spots for the state bowling tournament were on the line. Lawrence High senior Ashlee Erickson felt no pressure on Thursday afternoon at Royal Crest Lanes.

Erickson rolled 10 straight strikes in her opening game to record her highest single-game total of the season, a 280. She followed with a 201 in her second game, and she helped lift the Lions’ girls bowling team to third place at regionals, qualifying the squad for the state meet next week. It’s the second straight year the team has qualified for state.

Free State High’s boys bowling team followed up its Sunflower League championship by taking second place, also qualifying for state.

“First game, for me, I felt no pressure,” said Erickson, who took fourth overall with a 641 three-game series. “It was just another day bowling for me.”

Junior Miranda Krom added a 569 series, bowling a 214 in her last game, to finish 17th overall. Diamonique Vann and Morgan Daniels also bowled series above 500. But it was Erickson’s first game that set the tone.

“You see that and I think that inspires them, they all want to go out and do the same thing,” LHS coach Paula Bastemeyer said of Erickson’s 280. “She is just in a league of her own.”

Erickson, who signed to bowl at Midland University next year, credited Morgan Sisson from the LHS boys’ team with keeping her mind off of the streak of strikes.

“I look at (the score) but I don’t want to calculate, ‘Oh I need another strike to get this much,'” Erickson said. “You just have to let the ball flow off of your fingers and do what it does.”

Free State’s girls bowling team took fifth place, led by senior Sarah Pesce, who qualified for state after rolling a season-best series of 617. She rolled a 218 in her second game and finished with a 233.

“I just kind of took it zen mode,” Pesce said. “I just blocked everything out. It’s home lanes so it was a lot easier to just focus and just be like, ‘I’ve got this. This is my senior year, this is it.’ I’m ready to have fun next week in Wichita.”

The Firebird boys were led by sophomore Alex Jimenez, who finished third overall with a 676 series. He opened his first game with a 254.

In the second game, the Firebirds fed off energy from each other. Jimenez, junior Matthew Eagle, senior Eric Glogau, junior Avery Allen and junior Matt Meseke all bowled scores above 200.

“Once you hear the strikes and you hear the clapping, and you get into it, you just go with the flow,” Jimenez said. “With all of the strings of strikes, it kind of helps.”

The LHS boys took seventh place, and freshman Javier Lemmons qualified for state with a 675 series, which placed him fifth individually.

“Javier is just like a rock,” Bastemeyer said. “He’s a freshman, and yet, he will throw a ball and just be on and know what needs to happen. He’ll adjust. He’s just an inspiration to everybody. Things don’t rattle him.”

All of the state qualifiers will compete at the Class 6A state bowling championships, starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Northrock Lanes in Wichita.

Class 6A regional bowling championship

Thursday at Royal Crest Lanes

Girls three-game series

Varsity team scores: Derby 2573, Topeka 2386, Lawrence 2305, Junction City 2272, Free State 2225, Washburn Rural 2211, Manhattan 2202, Wichita Southeast 2110, Blue Valley Northwest 1902, Gardner 1839.

Lawrence High girls varsity

  1. Ashlee Erickson, 280-201-160 — 641; 17. Miranda Krom 167-188-214 — 569; Diamonique Vann, 190-139-199 — 528; Morgan Daniels, 168-165-170 — 503; Izzy Schmidtberger, 166-145-170 — 481; Kaitlyn Applegate, 124-193-147 — 464.

Free State girls varsity

  1. Sarah Pesce, 166-218-233 — 617; 16. Bri Martin, 169-180-223 — 572; Gentry Jordan, 190-172-162 — 524; Jamie Souders, 159-158-181 — 498; Chaise Hegrenes, 142-148-176 — 466; Ashley Givens, 133-133-139 — 405.

Boys three-game series

Varsity team scores: Derby 2722, Free State 2631, Junction City 2588, Washburn Rural 2587, Wichita Southeast 2482, Manhattan 2450, Lawrence 2449, Topeka 2401, Gardner 2400.

Free State boys varsity

  1. Alex Jimenez, 254-232-190 — 676; 15. Avery Allen, 191-246-191 — 628; 17. Matthew Eagle, 217-205-205 — 627; 18. Eric Glogau, 211-225-190 — 626; 20. Matt Meseke, 182-229-204 — 615; Tyrease Richards, 227-169-184 — 580.

Lawrence High boys varsity

  1. Javier Lemmons, 226-237-212 — 675; 19. Triston Decker, 233-203-184 — 620; Morgan Sisson, 182-191-196 — 569; Dillon Schroeder, 191-183-190 — 564; Hunter Krom, 203-160-180 — 543; Ivan Davidson, 148-171-168 — 487.