The Junction City Blue Jays bowlers finished the Centennial League meet at Gage Bowl in Topeka. Both teams finished lower in the ranks through match play but the teams games, known a Baker’s, raised the teams totals.
“We bowled really good, apparently other schools they must have fell off a little bit,” said coach Brad Adams. “We don't pay much attention to them. But yeah, we moved up a spot and on the girls surprisingly, as much as I dislike Baker's it helped us out on the girls more than it did the boys — we jumped two spots. So, we had a couple high or some good 200 games and we surpassed (Topeka) Seamen by 130 pins in two games which jumps all the way up in the second. So, not in favor of it but when it works out — I love it when a plan comes together.”
That plan included Christian Carter closing out the boys side with a 638 to finish fourth individually and Logan Linsley finishing with a 601 for eighth on the boys side.
On the girls side of the lanes, Brooke Swango led the team with her fifth place 561. Swango tied with Emporia’s Kinsey Miller, but Miller’s 206 game was better than Swango’s 200 game for the tie breaker.
Savannah Adams closed out the meet ninth with a 539.
Heading into the Baker matches, the boys trailed Topeka Seaman; 2570, and Washburn Rural; 2475, by 22 pins as they sat in third place with a 2453.
The girls finished a 2181, 14 pins behind third place Manhattan and 86 pins behind leader Washburn Rural.
The boys came together to bowl a 775, second only to Topeka Seaman’s 872 to move them up a position while the girls led the field with a 758 to move up two spots to fall 80 pins short of tying Rural.
“We did really good,” Adams said. “We shot exactly ... well the boys were a little bit higher than I maybe anticipated and girls were right on target. I think with a few little tweaks here and there we might have been able to squeeze out of first but I'm happy overall with the way we did.”
The teams will get a week of respite as they prepare to host a Class 6A regional match at Junction City Bowl next Friday with 10 boys teams and 11 girls teams all trying to get their chance to bowl in Wichita at the State Tournament.
The top-3 teams and the top-6 individual bowlers not assigned to a qualifying team will get that chance, Adams said.
“(It’s) three games with an added four games the Baker's put on the backside of it,” he said of the format. “So, I hope we don't have to come from behind the Baker's again. But if we do well, we've done it once. Hopefully, we can do it again, but I don't want to be that far down.”
Adams said there is some pressure, on him and the school to host, but for the bowlers it’s nice to have that home court advantage.
“So us being able to bowl on our own home court, is going to be absolutely huge,” he said. “Gives us all the advantage in the world.”
The only true unknown for the Blue Jays is the number one ranked team in the state, Wichita Heights, who will be bowling here — something Adams said the team doesn’t do.
“It's do or die and on the boys side we got a couple teams coming in that we don't ever get to see, one of them Wichita Heights,” he said. “They don't ever bowl outside of Wichita, so when they come to Junction and they get on our turf, they might find it's a little bit different than what they're used to in Wichita.”
The following Monday, the teams bowl their final regular season games as the team honors the seniors and their parents.