For the Baylor girls’ bowling team, a trip to the state tournament seemed like a dream. Seniors Colette McMahon and Kit Turner, three year bowling veterans, have waited for their chance to perform among the best bowlers in the state. This year they got their chance.
The Red Raiders clenched the first place spot in the region tournament on January 10th knocking the GPS Bruisers to second place. Going into the third match of the region game the Raiders were tied with GPS. After winning the final pin count, Baylor came out on top 14-13. All year the team has gone back and forth in competition with the Bruisers, but heading into the State Tournament with a region title made the experience so much sweeter. The Red Raiders haven’t made an appearance at the state level since 2004, so this opportunity was special from start to finish.
The team traveled to Smyrna, Tennessee Thursday morning to root on seniors Abby McNamara and Mya McGee in the individual tournament. Additionally, Junior Dalton Chuba also qualified individually and performed incredibly. After a season high of 268, Chuba represented the boys’ well pulling out a 189 in the tournament. Although they didn’t proceed to the second round, McNamara and McGee averaged scores in the 150’s. They did a great job showing the competition what the team was there to do. “It was great having the everyone there to cheer me on in individuals. It just wouldn’t be the same without them by my side,” said McNamara.
Late Thursday afternoon, the team competed together for the first time at the Smyrna Bowling Center against the St. Benedict Eagles. The team came ready to play pulling out a 20-7 victory. Senior Madeline Pick had a huge game scoring a 145 in the first match. Both McNamara and McMahon defeated their opponents winning all three matches. First year bowler, Caroline Casteel, secured multiple spares resulting in a 148 against the Eagles. “They played just like we practice, spares and strikes left and right. There’s nothing I love more than cheering this team on” said Senior Emma Thomas.
The next morning, the Red Raiders cleaned their bowling balls for the last time. The next opponent was Friendship Christian School out of Lebanon, Tennessee. Baylor came out strong winning three out of six matches. Small adjustments were made going into the second game, and the Raiders just couldn’t keep up. Baylor fell to Friendship Christian 5-22. A sad ending to such a successful bowling season.
Coaches Pete Hughes and Nick Chuba constantly showered this team with love. These two men organized countless practices over breaks and on weekends to ensure that the team was competing at the highest level they could. The team kept a motto, a few wise words from Coach Pete, that were spoken before every game. “Big spares, hit the head pin, and have fun” and that's just what they did.