FSHS bowlers aiming high

Free State High’s boys bowlers couldn’t be much happier with their results in their last two tournaments, claiming a Sunflower League championship and taking second place at regionals.

But they aren’t satisfied with stopping there. The Firebirds are hoping to keep up their high scores at the Class 6A state bowling tournament. They will start bowling at 2 p.m. today at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, following the girls, who begin at 9:30 a.m.

The Firebirds are one of nine squads to compete at state and were leading their regional before struggling to put up high scores in their third and final games.

“I’m pumped. I’m ready to go,” FSHS senior Eric Glogau said. “We’re definitely really pumped, feeling good after our two big wins. We didn’t take first at regionals, but we were right there.”

The Firebirds are led by sophomore Alex Jimenez, who is averaging a team-best 216 each game, and junior Matthew Eagle follows with a 208 average. Jimenez took 36th last season at the 5-1A state tournament, bowling for Emporia High.

Jimenez’s experience has helped some of the Firebirds’ first-time state qualifiers prepare for the lane’s oil patterns, which differ from the patterns they are accustomed to at familiar lanes.

“Just no matter how it’s going to stay calm,” FSHS junior Matt Meseke said of the advice he’s received. “If it’s going bad, keep your head up because there’s three games.”

Free State also has junior Avery Allen and senior Tyrease Richards, who are capable of putting up high scores in any given game.

“We’re very confident because of the success we’ve had in the past three tournaments,” Meseke said. “I’m building my confidence because the last two tournaments, I’ve bowled pretty good. I just want to do what it takes to help the team.”

Lawrence High freshman Javier Lemmons, who averages a 205 each game, also qualified as an individual.

The Lions qualified their entire girls’ bowling team after taking third place at their regional. At last year’s state tournament, the Lions took sixth.

“Get higher than we did last year,” sophomore Morgan Daniels said of the Lions’ team goal. “It would be pretty nice to place in the top three or something. … I hope I break a 600. That’s what I’m hoping for. That’s my goal.”

The Lions, who are led by senior Ashlee Erickson (187 average) and junior Miranda Krom (183), know they can throw up high scores, just like they did when they won a league title a few weeks ago.

“We’ve competed against most of the teams that are going to state, so I am pretty confident,” said Daniels, who was an alternate last year. “But the oil patterns are different so we just have to do our best.”

Free State senior Sarah Pesce also qualified as an individual after bowling a season-best series of 617 at regionals.