Talent to spare

Unified Bowling kicks off their season with the Millard Invite


Photo by Riley Kramolisch

Keeping the ramp sturdy, junior Jayci Reimers helps her teammate Addison Scott roll her bowling ball down a lane at the Millard Invite. Participating in several Unified sports before Reimers was looking to expand her relationships with her fellow teammates. “You get the privilege to work with kids that help you learn more life skills that you can use in the future,” Reimers said. “I am so happy I chose to join Unified Bowing because everyday and every minute you spend with these kids you are learning so many new things and making so many memories.”

Riley Kramolisch, Managing Editor

Rolling into their season on Oct. 28, the Unified Bowling team participated in the Millard Triangular and competed against Millard South and Millard North.

After winning their district and making a good run at state last year, the Wildcats were looking to start their season off strong. Although only scoring 2,431 pins the Wildcats unfortunately fell short to the two other teams. 

All of the bowlers have been practicing for 2 weeks and were ready to see some competition and kick off the season. The Wildcats had six groups with multiple athletes competing to get as many points as they could. One of the stronger teams was made up of seniors Ivan Smith, Bryan Stuckenschmidt and Gwen Naumann. As a group they scored a total of 829 pins. Smith bowled 189 pins, Stuckenschmidt bowled 177 pins and Naumann bowled 175 pins.

Starting off the meet, Smith scored 32 pins in the first game and Stuckenschmidt and Naumann both got 30 pins. In the second game, Smith dominated the competition by scoring 37 pins, along with Stuckenschmidt scoring 30 pins and Naumann with 28 pins. This being their strongest game, the three bowlers held their heads high in hopes of rolling into their final game on a strong note. In the third game, Smith scored 31 pins while Stuckenschmidt and Naummann both scored 30 pins. 

In the final three games out of six total, the athletes’ scores did not significantly fluctuate. In game four, Smith scored 33 pins, Stuckenschmidt scored 25 and Naumann scored 30. In the fifth game Smith scored 21 pins, and Stuckenschmidt and Naumann both scored 28 pins. In the final game Smith scored 35 pins, and Stuckenschmidt and Naumann both scored 30 pins.

The Millard Cup being the team’s first meet of the season brought many positives but also some conflicts, too.

“It’s pretty awesome that students of all abilities get to work together,” Unified Bowling coach Jan Lehms said. “They practice together and they compete with each other against other schools. It’s been a pretty rewarding experience to work with kids and watch them grow.” 

The first meet of the season can be exciting and nerve racking at the same time, but having a teammate with similar bowling experience helps. For Smith, having the opportunity to bowl alongside someone with similar skills like Stuckenschmidt gives many advantages not only for him but for the team.   

“I’ve been bowling with Bryan since my freshman year,” Smith said. “He’s like a leader to me because he helps me during meets and helps coach me during practices to make me a good bowler.”

Along with bonding over similar interests, the Unified Bowling athletes form many relationships that not only help build their bowling skills, but also add a boost of confidence and bring joy into their day. 

“When you are a part of Unified Bowling you are making kids’ days,” Stuckenschmidt said. “It’s not about making your day, it’s about trying to make their day a better day.” 

Creating those relationships and bonding with teammates truly represents the way all Unified sports play. Working together to excel against other schools, the Wildcats practice multiple times a week and compete once a week. The Wildcats are back in action this weekend at The Mark where they will host their own invite.