It’s not how you bowl, it’s how you roll

The Unified Bowling teams competes in the District tournament but falls short to qualify for State


Photo by Alexandra Stoneburner

Reaching for a ball, senior Ivan Smith prepares himself to get ready to bowl at the District tournament. Having been to Districts the previous year Smith had better knowledge of how Districts are run. “Going into Districts I wanted to do good for my teammates,” Smith said. “My goal was to not get any gutter balls, and bowl the best I could.”

Riley Kramolisch, Managing Editor

In hopes of adding to their three year streak of going to State, seniors Ivan Smith and Bryan Stuckenschmidt and juniors Gwendolyn Naumann and Jullian Weland competed in the District tournament on Nov. 30.

Competing in District A-3 the Wildcats bowled against Millard South, Lincoln East, Papillon-La Vista and Papillion-La Vista South. Having a sister school rivalry in their District would lead to intense competition pushing the athletes to bowl the best they could. The Wildcats scored a total of 811 points. Smith bowled 192 pins, Naumann bowled 174 pins, and Stuckenschimidt bowled 170 pins. 

Working with these athletes head coach Jan Lehms was able to examine their performance throughout the season and work with them on ways to advance their skills to prepare them for Districts. Throughout the season the athletes play games, but at Districts they play a baker’s game. The baker’s format comprises a team of bowlers who rotate bowling in each frame in a game. In a Baker format, a higher emphasis is put on bowling as a team as each shot is absolutely crucial to your team’s success.

“We were trying to win our District, we knew we were aiming to get a score similar to the one that won Districts for us last year, 977,” Lehms said. “We also wanted to beat Millard South, we knew they were the main competition at this District competition.”

Going into Districts the Wildcats competed in several tournaments against several schools, they placed first in four meets and third in a couple others. At many meets these four athletes would be the highest scoring for the Wildcats, which lead to them being selected to compete at Districts. 

“We practiced together one time before Districts with the baker style game to prepare ourselves,” Smith said. “I felt as if we did well if we would’ve gotten more points we could have possibly gotten the wildcard since we didn’t win our District.”

Bowling together all season these four athletes were able to help each other when they were struggling and build a strong relationship to help them excel in the lanes. Having good communication and support with teammates in a sport where you are on your own in the lane builds trust. 

“It was a lot of fun bowling with Ivan, Bryan and Jillian at Districts,” Naumann said. “They are great bowlers to work with during and outside of games, and I feel we build off of each other while paying.” 

Although the Wildcats were close in connection they fell just short of Millard south by only scoring 811 points. The Wildcats were District runner ups but had hopes of having enough points to get the Wildcard, but fell short of that, too. They ended their season bonded with many memories and wins to take away. For seniors Smith and Stuckenschmidt this was the last time they bowl together as Wildcats, but will never forget the friendship they have formed over this unifying sport.