Just showing up is not enough.
That is the mindset of the Great Bend High School bowling teams going into the Class 5-1A state bowling meet today in Wichita according to head coach Mike Perry.
The meet begins for the Lady Panthers at 9:30 a.m., with the boys following.
“Our kids are hungry,” Perry said. “I know its cliche, but there is a look in their eyes. Since they’ve been here before, they aren’t going to be happy with just being here. They want some hardware.”
Last year, the Panthers went to state. The year before that, the Lady Panthers made the trip.
Between the two teams going this year, Great Bend has six bowlers from the previous state teams.
Tyler Jones, Daniel Herrman, Eric Ruiz and Dakota Conaway were on the Panthers state team last year. Jacy Quade and Koa Pelster both went to the state meet with the Lady Panthers two years ago.
“You can see that,” Perry said of the senior leadership on his team. “You could see that at the regional meet. When the teams were starting to level off and slow down, you could see the leaders kind of step up their game to help the team.
“I’ve got two excellent senior leaders in Koa (Pelster) and Tyler Jones. They are willing to do anything to help out the team.”
In practice, the Great Bend teams haven’t been doing anything different to prepare for state.
“Basically, we’ve been working on the small things that we’ve worked on all season,” Perry said. “We’ve practiced spare-shooting and just staying consistent rather than keeping score.
“We’ve just been trying to stay loose.”
Even with the state meet looming in the future, Perry said he hasn’t seen too much of a change in his teams’ actions.
“I haven’t seen any change in the way we’ve been practicing,” Perry said. “Everyone is still just positive and focused.”
Perry said that the teams past experiences at state help them focus on today’s meet.
“It’s going to help out greatly,” Perry said. “The first times we went to state, I think we were just happy to be here. This time, I don’t think the teams are going to be awestruck like they were the first time.
“I like to say it’s like the World Series. The first time you go, you are just happy to be there. The second time you go, you want to win.”