A whirlwind of attention and activity has caught up members of the boys and girls GBHS bowling teams since winning and placing at the 5A State Championship Feb. 28. In the past week and a half, they’ve been honored at the GBHS Winter Sports Banquet on March 4, been interviewed by local and state media and contacted by college recruiters. On Monday morning, they were honored by Barton County Commissioners, and in the evening, formally congratulated by the USD 428 Board of Education. The team trophy, as well as the individual trophies have been displayed in several venues, and will soon grace the trophy case at Great Bend High School.
Their coach, Mike Perry, and Assistant Coach Jim Mayberry, have heaped their fair share of praise on the team too. Nothing is more exciting to these coaches than seeing the team meet, and then exceed their goals set at the beginning of the year..
“One goal was to win WAC. The second was to have the WAC MVP, the third was to have at least four members of our team on the All WAC team,” Perry told the audience at the Winter Sports Banquet last week. “The girls had four (members), and all the other records too. The boys exceeded that (number of members), and got all states, which is incredible.”
The Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player of the year, senior Dakota Conway, bowled an average of 228. He was also All WAC in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He started bowling in elementary school, alongside many of his classmates.
“The bowling alley is our second home, and we’re like a family,” he said.
Conway has been recruited by more than one college to bowl for them, and is currently undecided.
Junior Miranda Haney won first team All WAC, WAC MVP, and finished 20th overall, winning herself a medal. Since fifth grade, she’s been bowling at school, she said.
“By the time I was in high school, I’d practiced enough and was pretty good, and they needed bowlers.,” she said. “It was exciting to become MVP. I was hoping but not expecting it.”
She currently works at the Walnut Bowl in Great Bend, and cherishes the friendships she’s made on the bowling team. She looks forward to continuing to improve and help build the team stronger next year.
Senior Danny Herman was named individual state champion. Perry had this to say about him at last week’s banquet:
“I will say, Danny was on fire that day, and I knew it from the word go. I talked to Danny earlier in the week, and I told him, “Danny, you are not always going to be the best player, but you’re the smart player. You’re the glue that holds this team together, and I need to count on you not to let me down...”
Herman followed through, cheering on his team mates, never quite sure until the end where he stood among the other competitors. Struggling to put into words what the championship, and this last season of high school bowling meant to him, he too referred to his teammates as extended family. “It’s just hard to put into words.” He too is considering offers from college recruiters.
For Perry, winning State puts the pressure on for next year. One thing is sure, he knows.
“Winning the State championship means from now on, bowling has gained the respect it deserves in Great Bend.”