The Great Bend bowlers made Senior Night special. The boys cruised by Liberal and Hutchinson with 2,547 pins, and beat Liberal in the Western Athletic Conference competition 9-2. The Lady Panthers were equally as dominant with 2,150 pins and 10 of the 11 WAC points.
Great Bend boys 2,547; Liberal 2,226; Hutchinson 1,981
The Panthers were again led by senior Dakota Conaway. The team co-captain hit seven-straight strikes in game one to finish with a 236. In game two, he finished with eight strikes in-a-row for a 248. Those were the two best games all day, and his 216 final game gave him a runaway 700 series.
“I just really concentrated on one shot at a time,” he said. “I couldn’t get the first four ever to go it seemed like. I was just taking everything one at a time and cherishing every shot.”
“Dakota has been the top performer in the conference all year long,” said Great Bend Coach Mike Perry. “He improved on his 224 average today.”
Jeff Meitler also had a big day. After a 184 in the first game, the Panther sophomore had five strikes in-a-row in each of his final two games of 233 and 232. His 649 series was second best only to Conaway’s 700.
Senior co-captain Eric Ruiz shot a 595 series with a 200, 205, and 190. In game two, he and Conaway shared the exact same score through eight frames. Both bowlers in the same group had splits in the second frame, following later with four-straight strikes.
Kolt Ramey was the other scorer for Great Bend, finishing his day with a 203 for a 581 series. Daniel Herrman finished with a 567, and Mark Lang bowled a 525.
Liberal’s Tyler Killingsworth had the third-best series on the day at 639. He opened the day with a 221 and closed with a 239.
“My No. 1 bowler has been consistent all year and was consistent again today,” Liberal Coach Eric Steiner said. “He had a couple of splits in the second game that hurt him a little bit. He bowled a 639 and just didn’t get much help.”
Hunter Reinhart and Buddy Buchanan were the only other Redskins to surpass the 500-mark at 529 and 511, respectively. Hunter Sandell just missed with a 491 series. Joseph Cotto and Garrett Poulton were the other two varsity bowlers, finishing with a 485 and 437, respectively.
“We just didn’t bowl well today,” Steiner said. “We kind of struggled and the lanes were a little tough and we didn’t make the adjustments. We were competitive, but Great Bend is just good. They have senior leadership and it’s their house and they bowled well.”
Hutchinson had just two bowlers reach 500. Nick Barringer shot a 528 series and Jon Hornbaker a 518. Simon Hiebert finished with a 477, Jake Murray a 437, Trevor Willems a 368, and Dakota Beckham a 338.
In the Baker competition for the WAC, Liberal won the final two games 178-171 and 201-178. Great Bend won the first game 208-183.
Great Bend girls 2,150; Liberal 1,892; Hutchinson 1,824
Senior Kelli Kirmer may have been bowling inspired on Senior Day. Kirmer was just one of four bowlers on the day to reach 500 pins and by far the only bowler to climb past 600 with a 613. She also had the high-game of 226 and rolled a 203 to open the day.
“Kellie was clicking on all cylinders today as she was able to string a lot of strikes and led the Lady Panthers to a 10-1 win over Liberal,” Perry said.
Junior Jessica Sterba also had a big afternoon with the third-best series at 529. She finished her day with a 195 for her best single-game effort. Addie Soukup rolled a 485 for the Panthers, and Miranda Hejny rounded out scoring with a 481. Alex Eye and Sterling McAllister also bowled, finishing at 435 and 427, respectively.
Christie Proctor was the lone Lady Redskin to hit 500 – right on the nose – with games of 171, 181, and 148. Kimberly Vanley and Kaleigh Cobb finished right behind her at 487 and 485. Kristina Tinsley added a 419 series for the team score, and Marissa Hinz was the other bowler with a 396.
Hutchinson’s Shelby Harms finished with a 557 series for second place. Her games of 173, 181, and 203 were a little behind her average.
“She’s been bowling a lot better than she bowled today,” said Salthawk Coach Leann Gleason. “She was a Great Plains Classic winner and she didn’t bowl very well today.”
Savannah Murray opened her day with a 192 and finished with a 487 series. Kelsea McFarland bowled her first 200, finishing game one with a team-high 211. She finished with a 449 series. Kristen Culley was the final team-scorer with a 326. Tasha Humphries bowled a 285 series and Kaylee Hinshaw knocked down 280 pins.
The Lady Panthers lost the first game of the Baker competition 160-137, but rebounded to down Liberal 153-142 and 172-147 in the final two games.
Great Bend and Liberal head to the WAC tournament in Dodge City on Thursday. Great Bend will host a regional on Feb. 23.