BY MIKE MARZOLF
Special to the Tribune
Coach Mike Perry didn’t know what to expect from his Barton Community College teams in the first season of bowling.
It wasn’t until that first NJCAA Championship, about 20 minutes from Buffalo and Lake Erie in a New York town called Cheektowaga that Coach Perry would see how his team stacked up against NJCAA foes.
What discovered a pleasant surprise.
The Barton women battled for an NJCAA title, earning a runner-up plaque. The men finished eighth.
The Cougars competed throughout the Midwest against mostly 4-year schools.
Below is an edited story from the 2020 NJCAA Championships.
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – The Barton bowling teams definitely hit the head pin during their initial trip to the NJCAA National Championships.
The women finished runner-up at the event, the men eighth and Alexandria Newell left New York as a national champion.
“That’s not too bad for a bunch of bright-eyed,bushy-tailed freshmen a thousand miles from home,” Coach Mike Perry said. “We came here with a bunch of Kansas kids bowling in college for the first time. To come home with hardware is really unbelievable.”
The women moved up from third to second with a great performance in the Baker round, the final event. That’s important because only the top two teams get a plaque.
“Going to New York, I didn’t think a second place finish was possible,” Coach Perry said. “But after that first day, I knew it was possible.”
Barton posted the highest scoring in two of the three blocks, nearly catching Iowa Central for the team title. Barton’s final block score of 610 made up nearly100 pins on the Tritons.
Iowa Central finished with 12,157 while Barton was next at 12,113. Rock Valley, Ill. was third with 12,077.
Barton rolled the two highest scores in Baker with a 598 during the first block as well. During the three blocks, Barton made up 107 pins on the leader and passed Rock Valley for second.
“In Kansas high school, the Baker format is a big part of our scoring, but that isn’t the case everywhere,” Coach Perry said. “That really helped us. This group is tough. They willed themselves to that second-place finish. One more set and we may have won it.
“Of the five girls we had bowling, one was a 4-time state champion and the other four each won a state title. So they knew what it took.”
Manhattan Kansas freshman Newell rode a stellar 224 game to finish with a 605 series and the national singles title. She beat the runner-up by 13 pins. Newell opened with a 192, followed by 224 and 189.
In the all-events standings – three games of singles, three of doubles and six in the 5-man team event – Great Bend sophomore Allison Brodrick placed sixth overall with a 12-game total of 2,115 (176.3). Faith Lust earned a top 10 finish at 2,076 (173) and Faith Whited placed 11th at 2,055 (171.3).
Whited placed sixth in singles at 556. Lust placed 15th (541) and Taylor Cessna finished 19th (530).
In doubles, Cessna and Whited earned fourth overall with a total of 1,034 pins during the 3-game event. Brodrick and Erin Mayfield placed 10th at 1,012 pins.
During the six games of the 5-player Baker team competition, the Barton women finished third at 5,149. The Cougars finished 150 pins ahead of fourth place. In the sixth game, the team Cougars rolled 998, the second highest Baker score.
The Barton men finished eighth.
Alec Roberts enjoyed the best showing with a fourth-place singles finish. The Great Bend High graduate rolled 221, 192 and 211 for a 624 score. Roberts finished three pins from third and five pins from second. Derik Lisi of Corning won the title with a 666 score.
Roberts placed 18th in all-events with a pin count of 2,184. Great Bend’s Jordan Black placed No. 20 with a 2,157 score.
The doubles team of Tracey Hill and Creyton Nisly placed 15th at 1,079.
The Barton men moved up a spot in the Baker portion with a three block total of 1,534, seventh in the Baker portion.
Perry has a better idea of what to expect going forward.
“I learned a lot this year and next year I’ll be more prepared,” Perry said. “One thing that is a constant for us, though, is the support of the community. Jim Mayberry as well as Linda and Jay are awesome for us. They bend over backwards at Walnut Bowl for us.”
[CAUTION]: This message originated from outside of the organization. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.