Gutter Ball

This year was the last year at state for two members of the bowling team, and it wasn’t the best

Morgan Tate

Grace Bradley, Owen Markwart and Colby Hovermale all went up to Wichita on Friday, March 5th to compete in the state bowling tournament at Northrock lanes. 

When bowling, each bowler bowls three games and they keep the top four scores for each round. But tournaments like state work differently. 

“There are some tournaments where not only do you bowl those three games, but then you bowl Baker games,” Coach William Dent said. “Where five individuals bowl one game… and then at the tournament, you take the three individual games and the four-team games and that would give you a total score.”

Northwest has consistently taken at least one of the bowling teams to state for the last 5 years. But this year only three students individually qualified for state. But they didn’t do as well as normal. Markwart getting 25th place, Hovermale placing 42nd and Bradley getting 52nd. This was a blow especially for Markwart and Hovermale who are seniors this year. 

“ was bittersweet…” Markwart said, “It was almost kind of like a funeral, believe it or not… me and Grace, we got to celebrate, you know, a great bowling career, with such a bad ending.”

Just like their scores, this year hasn’t been normal either. COVID-19 restrictions split practices in two, with girls bowling going from 3 to 4 and boys bowling going from 4 to five. When they travel to meets, they have to drive in large busses rather than vans. During a game, the team bowls together instead of bowling in separate lanes. But the biggest difference was the lack of fans at meets. 

“You have a lot of time to sit down and there’s no, like white noise, there’s no background noise so you get in your own head a lot,” Markwart said, “and you start to second guess yourself, and you start making the wrong decisions… and I was focusing too much to the point of which I wasn’t able to focus enough.”

Despite all the differences of this year and the underperformance of the students, Dent is still proud of both of them and how he’s shaped their skills throughout the 4 years he’s coached them. 

“Freshman year they came into the program, they could barely bowl 100,” Dent said, “Grace averaged like 170, Owen averaged, like 186, so to see their dedication and their improvement, in not only their scores but just how they matured and seeing how they grow up, it’s kind of fun having a little part of that, you know, being able to influence them.”