It is the first time in school history that the Great Bend High School bowling team has both a girl and a boy on the Class 5A all-state team.
Sophomore Miranda Hejny and junior Dakota Conaway were selected for the honor.
“I think, really, it speaks volumes about where our program is headed,” GBHS head coach Mike Perry said. “People are starting to know who Great Bend is. It is great for Dakota and Miranda.
“Both want to go on to bowl, preferably at Wichita State (University). These two work their tails off at practice.”
Final selections are made by the Kansas Bowling Coaches Association from nominations made by high school coaches.
Hejny finished third in the state tournament, rolling a 671 series to put her just 21 pins out of first place.
“Well, I was kind of surprised,” Hejny said. “I’m glad it happened this year because it didn’t happen last year. (Taking third at the state tournament) definitely helped me getting all state.”
Perry said that he believed that Hejny deserved the honor last season as a freshman.
“The whole last year, I think she was more deserving,” Perry said. “She was the (Western Athletic Conference) MVP. She just didn’t perform up to her standards at the state tournament.
“This year, she really worked at it, and then she goes out takes third at state.”
Conaway finished 18th overall at the state tournament with a 653 series. He finished as the third-highest finisher on the Great Bend team that finished second behind Goddard-Eisenhower.
This is his second year as an all-state selection.
“It was a great feeling to be all-state for the second straight year,” Conaway said. “I wasn’t thinking about it until coach told me that I’d been nominated, and when he told me that I was selected, I was really surprised.
“It fuels me a lot. I now have another goal to stride for. They take the best bowlers in the state for that list and I want to be the best.”
Last year, Conaway finished in fourth place at state.
“It’s funny how life works,” Perry said. “He wanted to be the best. He wanted to work toward being the best, and last year, he did well at state.
“You can see how he’s been maturing into what he wants to be.”
Both Hejny and Conaway hope that making the all-state team will help them advance their bowling careers to the collegiate level.
“Their program is very successful,” Conaway said of Wichita State. “I’ve seen all the players that play there. I’ve known most of them. I’ve been watching them for years and they are on the top of the list.
“Being in the Midwest right here, I think it is a great opportunity for me.”
Class 5A All-State Selections
Hollyann Johansen, Bishop Carroll
Keri Ladigo, Andover Central
Miranda Hejny, Great Bend
Jessica Thompson, Shawnee Heights
Kaitlin Johnson, Bishop Carroll
Kristi Renyer, Shawnee Heights
Kristin Tavano, Lansing
Dakota Conaway, Great Bend
Drew Belanger, Goddard Eisenhower
John Bredenhoeft, Lansing
Ashton Bigger, Topeka Seaman
Chance Riveria, KC Turner
Jamel Gunther, Bishop Carroll
Conner McGill, Bishop Carroll