By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School girls bowling team has some work to do if they hope to return to the state tournament in February. Not the least of which is making it past a regional tournament later this month.
“It’s a bit difficult to judge where we are right now because the pre-tournaments have been with boys and girls teams, but we finished ninth on Sunday (Jan. 5),” said junior KayLynn Hatfield, a veteran of the team in her third year.
The Lady Celts lost some power with the graduation of four seniors in June 2013, but they are far from starting over. Sierra Mo has three years on the team to complement Hatfield’s and anchor Hannah Russell has two years on the team.
“It’s a little different this year with two knew players, but they’ve been doing great,” Russell said.
The new faces on this year’s roster are Sarah Jensen and Erika Marshall.
Marshall joined after working the McNary concession stand alongside the other members of the team.
“I sort of blew them off, it’s bowling, right? But then I came out to practice with the team and loved everyone here,” Jensen said.
Marshall joined at the urging of Mo because she “needed a social life.”
While bowling is typically seen as an individual sport, the social aspects of the game have a higher level of importance for the high school club team.
Unlike traditional bowling, the team competes in baker-style formats. Each player in the five-person line-up throws one ball. If the first leaves pins standing, it’s up to the second bowler to clean up what’s left and so on.
On one hand, the format pushes the bowlers to excel within limited opportunity. It can also be a recipe for disaster if someone ends up having to shoot 7-10 splits the whole game through.
As they practiced on Monday, Jan. 6, it was the 10-pin giving the team fits.
“Stupid 10-pins” was becoming a mantra as they practiced for the occasion.
Coach Kathy Kaplan, in her 18th year as coach of the team, said the girls are still working out some of the mechanics.
“They can throw a great first ball, but the nemesis is the spare. There’s a lot of little things that they don’t realize is going on that they need to be in control of,” she said.
With a dwindling number of teams in the area, it might mean they girls have to win the district tournament on Jan. 26, at Salem’s Firebird Lanes, to guarantee a spot in the state tournament. But the girls aren’t shooting for good enough.
“We want state, all-stars and a 300 game,” Russell said.