With Wilsonville's bowlers, it is all about steady improvement
When Wilsonville's boys bowling team headed down to Klamath Falls to participate in the state bowling tournament on the weekend of Feb. 23, it was to compete against and avenge last years defeat to the reigning state champions, Mazama High School. Ultimately coming up short in their bid for a rematch, the Wildcats still improved in the standings, finishing third out of 16.
Boys bowling coach Mick McMahon was proud of the work his bowlers put in, and was glad to see them rise to the occasion.
"Every single one of the kids more than rose to the stresses," McMahon said. "The former owner of Wilsonville Lanes, JP Muller, lives in Klamath Falls now. He came out and watched, and I showed him the average sheet, and he said, 'There's no way, these kids are all performing so far over their averages.' It was an incredible experience to be part of the chemistry of that team."
Wilsonville also had the highest score of the tournament, a 265, which requires nine strikes out of 10 frames. Considering the teams qualifying average was 187 pins, it was quite the step up. They also upped their average in the finals.
"During the finals, and the finals were 10 games, they averaged 201.8 (pins)," McMahon said. "You need to understand, there's only one 200 average bowler on the team, that's Trevor Johnson. Mike Church is at 197. We have a 170 bowler, a 160 bowler, and then two guys in the 140's. So averaging 201 under stress…I don't think I've ever been more happy as a coach."
The boys team fell to ultimately fell to Liberty High School, but to hear McMahon tell it, they enjoyed all aspects of the championship. Be it competing, socializing after hours, or making late night ice cream runs, the team enjoyed itself.
Wilsonville also fielded a girls team for the first time this year. In it's first year of existence, the new program placed 15 out of 16 in qualifying, and finished in last place at the state championships.
Girls coach Jeff Combs is proud of where they ended their season considering that a lot of his bowlers are new to competition.
"I'm not disappointed at all," Combs said. "That's pretty much where you're going to start out in your first year. Honestly, a lot of teams in their first year never see state. That's quite the feather in their cap to start with."
When Combs looks forward, he sees his team doing even better if they continue to improve at the same pace as this year.
"I have great expectations for them," Combs said. "They're very enthusiastic, and we bowled 10 weeks this year. That's a big leap from where we started. Next year we take the same leap, and we have a very good possibility of finishing halfway up in the standings at state out of 16 teams or even better if they have any epiphanies. There's a lot of potential there."