It’s been a splendid two years for Jesuit bowling. 20-0 over the past two years, two district and one regional title, and a state qualification. But this year, it’s different. A senior class of seven and a spunky sophomore, most of which have bowled for three years on the team, are finally to take it all. It’s their last dance, and they’re ready to enjoy every moment of it in their pursuit of the ultimate athletic achievement: a state title. But, to get there, it requires a top four placement in regionals, out of nine teams. Taking their talents on the road for regionals, the Rangers set their sights on The Yellow Rose of Texas, Amarillo, in their next step towards San Antonio and state.
Starting early on the special Saturday morning of February 29th, 2020, the team headed off towards Amarillo in two suburbans with the drivers being Coach Ken Howell and Mr. Fred Donahue. With 6 hours between the Rangers and their practice session in Amarillo, they only made one stop at McDonald’s to refuel and made good time. A solid practice session followed in which “Bed Rights” were played for by the trio of Will Risinger ’20, Matthew Vincent ’20, and Jack Holloran ’20. Risinger and Vincent managed to win this bowl off and a bed, but Holloran, however, was only able to win himself a spot on the couch. How unfortunate. After a productive practice session, the team and the traveling fans met up for some classic Amarillo BBQ to truly prepare for the following day of competition.
After a quick team breakfast, the team headed off to the bowl for warm ups, and after the national anthem was played and the teams introduced, the matches began.
The format for the day was 8 baker games and 1 bye, which would have 5 bowlers alternate over 5 frames, with them each bowling two frames per game. However, substitutions are allowed after the first frame for a bowler is thrown, so the lineup can change often. In addition, 30 pins are given to the winning team of each match. The total pinfall at the end of the day would determine placement.
The Rangers started the day out against a familiar face in Flower Mound Marcus where they started out strong with a 170-119 against a divisional rival. They then moved on to the hometown Raiders of Randall, a team with some of the highest individual averages in the entire tournament. However, the Rangers never gave them a chance to stay in the game, blowing them out of the water in a 219-164 rout. Off this win, they moved on to play Lewisville where shortly after bowling an amazing game, they threw what was probably their worst game of the season in a 112-181 loss. They then moved into a match against Chisolm Trail as they hoped to bounce back, which they did in a 186-159 win. After this, the Rangers moved onto their bye where they bowled an alright 155 to keep them in within striking range.
As they rolled into the final four matches of the day, the Rangers were well within range to not only qualify for state, but also to compete for first place among a very competitive field. The Rangers clashed with Amarillo next, where they won 202-164, making their record 4-1 on the day. Confident, the Rangers then beat Boswell handily 193-136. Moving into their second to last match against Caprock, it was tight the entire way. It ended up coming down to the 10th frame, where Caprock managed to come out on top with a final score of 184-191. The Rangers then capped off a good day of bowling in a 165-152 victory against Bushland, to cement a 6-2 record and a cumulative pin total of 1796 pins.
The Placement Round
With the qualifying matches done, it was time for the placement round. This round paired the 1 and 2 seeds, 3 and 4, and the rest down the line in matches to determine final placements. The Rangers, in second place, faced off against the tournament leader Randall, needing a big game in order to jump them and secure another regional championship.
It was a close match, but Randall, hot off a few victories, ended up running away with it in a 189-219 loss for the Rangers. This concluded the regional championships for the Rangers, as they finished in second place, securing their spot for state and performing well among the hometown teams of Amarillo.
The Next Step
With a qualifying spot secured, the Rangers now ready themselves for the state championships in the home of the Alamo, San Antonio.
After the tournament, Coach Ken Howell said “The team stepped up in a big way this weekend. They went into another’s home lanes and pulled out a big second place to move on to State. I am excited for State and cannot wait to see what they will do in San Antonio.”
Exciting times indeed for the Rangers, and make sure to check back soon with The Roundup for updates on the exploits of the bowling team and other sports news!