The Great Bend High School bowling teams have eight bowlers on an All-Western Athletic Conference team after the 2011 season that sent both the boys and the girls to the Class 5-1A state tournament.
The Panthers were headlined by WAC MVP Eric Ruiz, who averaged 210.1 pins per game.
“In a talented group of sophomores, Ruiz was the most consistent this season,” GBHS head coach Mike Perry said. “He might have the highest average in WAC history, I don’t remember, but he does have highest average in our school’s history.”
Joining Ruiz on the all-conference team is sophomore teammate Dakota Conaway, who took third place at the state tournament to become the highest-placing bowler at a state tournament in school history. Conaway averaged 202.9 this season.
Senior Tyler Jones and sophomore Daniel Herrman both were named as honorable mention.
Jones led the honorable mention group, averaging 202.1. Herrman averaged 200.1 for the season.
The Panthers combined to take second place in the WAC with a conference record of 6-3 behind Garden City, which was 7-2. It is the best Great Bend has finished in the boys WAC standings in school history.
“It has been the best season for the bowling teams,” Perry said, “in terms of how we finished in the conference, definitely. Winning regionals, that was the first time we did that. When the boys went to state last year, they took second at regionals and the year before that, the girls took second to go to state.
“It was also the first time we sent both teams to state at the same time.”
On the girls’ side, freshman Miranda Hejny was the WAC MVP. Hejny averaged 200.2 this season.
“It really was huge to have a freshman to take leadership of the team like she did,” Perry, who was the WAC Coach of the Year for the girls, said. “It takes a good team to put aside their egos and let a freshman become a leader.
“Miranda is a special talent and she really helped a lot this year. The team also helped her along to get her comfortable. Miranda is the first girl in the WAC to finish with an average over 200.”
Junior Jacy Quade joins Hejny as the top two girls on the all-conference team. Quade averaged 193.3 for the Lady Panthers.
“Quade has the desire and drive that every coach wants to see out of their players,” Perry said. “She is very motivated. She has already told me after the end of the season banquet that she intends to get the team back to state and this time finish higher.”
“I look forward to see her as a senior captain next year. She will do great motivating the rest of the team.”
On the honorable mention team, Great Bend has senior Koa Pelster and sophomore Kellie Kirmer.
Pelster averaged 172.1 and Kirmer knocked down an average of 167.5 per game.
Western Athletic Conference
Great Bend 8-1
Dodge City 6-3
Garden City 2-7
1. Miranda Hejny, Great Bend; 2. Jacy Quade, Great Bend; 3. Chantel Smith, Dodge City; 4. Rikkie Hemmert, Garden City; 5. Kylie Jennings, Liberal; 6. Erika Fowler, Liberal.
1. Katie Larman, Dodge City; 2. Koa Pelster, Great Bend; 3. Danielle Kenton, Dodge City; 4. Blaise Jensen, Dodge City; 5. Kellie Kirmer, Great Bend; 6. Kimberly Vanley, Liberal.
Garden City 7-2
Great Bend 6-3
Dodge City 4-5
1. Eric Ruiz, Great Bend; 2. Jacob Brungardt, Garden City; 3. Justin Perez, Garden City; 4. Kaden Herbert, Dodge City; 5. Juan Ramirez, Garden City; 6. Dakota Conaway, Great Bend.
1. Tyler Jones, Great Bend; 2. Jared Hall, Liberal; 3. Daniel Herrman, Great Bend; 4. Dylan Woods, Dodge City; 5. Isaac Esquivel, Garden City; 6. Patrick Bilslend, Dodge City.