Whether it’s being at tournaments, practicing or going to Chick-fil-A after tournaments, the bowling team’s companionship and togetherness is apparent.
“The varsity guys, when they’re up bowling, they get really into it, and they’re doing dances and stuff, and it’s pretty funny,” said sophomore Maddy Dethloff, varsity bowler.
However, when the team is bowling well and hitting their strikes, the atmosphere is much better compared to when the team is missing their spares.
Whether it’s basketball, football or bowling, the rivalries with LHS continue no matter the sport.
“There’s always the rivalry between Free State and Lawrence High, but at the end of the day, we are all family in the bowling community,” head coach Burton Gepford said. “We like to be competitive against the other Sunflower Schools too.”
The bowling team balances its competitiveness with sportsmanlike conduct.
“We show a lot of respect and sportsmanship at tournaments,” Gepford said. “We give compliments and high fives to everyone, including our opponents.”
Being on the bowling team is a way for students to be involved, hang out with their fellow bowlers and enjoy team activities.
An average day of practice includes working on strike shots, bowling spares and practicing fundamentals. The team practices having pressure put on them so they can perform better during the game.
While being there for everyone is difficult, Gepford enjoys being able to coach varsity and junior varsity, girls and boys. He also loves that in bowling, each player has a chance to participate and get points on the board.
“I love the atmosphere and the ability to coach all levels,” Gepford said. “… Not too many coaches get to coach all at the same time.”
While bowling is a coed activity, in general, more college bowling scholarship opportunities are available for girls than boys.
“I think I’m going to do it in college,” Eagle said. “There aren’t as many scholarships for boys, but I’ll probably do it just for fun.”
The bowlers’ long-term commitment level varies depending on the athlete. Dethloff does not plan to bowl in college.
“I probably won’t [bowl in college],” Dethloff said. “There’s other stuff I want to do, and it’s kind of just a hobby.”