The Washington High School Bowling team is out to make history. For the first time in program history, the team will travel to Indianapolis Saturday to participate in the state finals at Woodland Bowl.
It’s been a long road for the Hatchet bowlers to make it to the capital city. The team of five won the Blue Chip Conference as well as its sectional where the boys earned a bid to the regional where they declared the runner ups. Last weekend, the team earned its first state berth by finishing fifth at the southern semistate.
“There were 209 teams that started out in Indiana High School Bowling,” said first year Coach Rick Mattingly. “There were two semistate competitions held last weekend. In each semistate, 14 teams competed and we finished fifth. The top six teams advanced.”
While the team finished fifth, Mattingly stressed that the bowlers were only 10 pins behind the semistate runner ups, Evansville Reitz. “It was close,” said Mattingly. “When I looked at the scores from both competitions, only four teams had scores higher than ours.”
Similar to many of the other championship tournaments they’ve competed in, the state contest will take place on a synthetic floor unlike what the team practices on at Laurel Lanes. So that the team had adequate practice on the surface, Mattingly’s team headed to Vincennes University to practice Wednesday evening.
“The kids say it bowls smoother,” said Mattingly. “The VU lanes are similar to what they bowled on in Bloomington.”
The state championship format will allow team members Justice Latham, Jon Harner, Zack Scheid, Wes Richardson, and Chase Ragens each a chance to bowl one complete game before the Baker games start. In the Baker games, each team member bowls a frame.
To help prepare for the weekend, the team has spent additional hours practicing. “Last weekend, they had a lot of outside pins they missed,” said Mattingly. “So we’ve been working on knocking down just the outside ones and they’ve all bowled quite a few games.”