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Great Bend boys, girls finish runner-up at Class 5-1A regional tournament
spt kp GBHS boys TEAM
The Great Bend High School boys bowling team finished runner-up at a Class 5-1A regional tournament at Walnut Bowl on Saturday afternoon. With the finish, the Panthers qualified for the state tournament, which will be held on Thursday afternoon at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, starting at 2. It is the fourth straight year that the Great Bend boys have qualified for the state tournament as a team. Last year, the boys finished runner-up as a team. - photo by Kevin Price Great Bend Tribune

For the second time in the Great Bend High School bowling teams’ existence, both the boys’ and the girls’ teams have qualified for the Class 5-1A state tournament, which will be held in Wichita on Thursday.
Both teams finished runner-up at the regional tournament at Walnut Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
“It would’ve been sad not to make it, because they’ve put in a lot of work into this,” GBHS head coach Mike Perry said. “I can’t say anything bad. We got in.
“It’s tough as a coach, because you get done coaching a tournament, and you get up or down whether you win or lose. Then you have to do it all over again. It’s emotionally draining, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to do that.”
The Lady Panthers finished with 2,161 total pins. Buhler finished ahead of them at 2,178.
“We worked hard all week in practice,” Perry said, “and we scored right where we thought we’d be. The girls performed really well. We came out hot. Everybody was striking there in the first couple games.”
Junior Miranda Hejny led the Lady Panthers with a 593 series. She finished second place overall behind Buhler’s Kirsten Allen, who rolled a 708.
“Considering the next person up shot a 700, and I definitely didn’t shoot up to my potential,” Hejny said, “so I’m glad with second.”
Hejny, whose top game was 213, has been to the state tournament for the last three years.
“It’s a very rewarding feeling just knowing that you can do that,” Hejny said of keeping her streak of state appearances alive. “State’s a big deal, so it’s just exciting.”
Jessica Sterba claimed a top-10 medal with a 543 series, coming in fifth place overall, and senior Kelli Kirmer captured sixth place at 540.
“This feels amazing,” Kirmer said of the girls’ team qualifying for the state tournament. “This is what we’ve been working for all year. It’s a great feeling. I can’t wait.
“Last year, it wasn’t as much fun to go as individuals, so I’m really excited to bring the whole team.”
Kirmer’s top game was 222.
“I was trying not to look at the score,” Kirmer said. “I just kept telling myself that it didn’t matter how many strikes I had, I just needed to keep going.”
The Panthers, who have qualified for the state tournament as a team for the fourth straight year, couldn’t hold off Salina-Sacred Heart, which took first with a team score of 2,566 pins. Great Bend finished at 2,536.
“We were hot off the bat,” Perry said. “We just kind of let up a little bit, and Salina got hot there at the end.”
Great Bend’s Dakota Conaway finished as regional champion with a series of 705.
“It feels great getting (Western Athletic Conference) MVP and then regional champ,” Conaway said. “I’ve had a lot of teammates pushing me this year, and I really wanted to shoot big in the second game and the last game. I got down on myself, but my friends and my teammates kept pushing me.”
Conaway got off to a strong start, getting seven straight strikes to start the first game. He finished with 254 in Game 1.
“I knew I had to go big,” Conaway said. “We have some good players coming in here to play against us. I started slowing down, but that was a good run for me.”
Sophomore Jeff Meitler was regional runner-up at 665 on the day.
“I was surprised,” Meitler said. “I bowled really well today. I found my shot.”
The state tournament will be held at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, with the girls’ competition starting at 9:30 a.m. The boys follow at 2 p.m.

Class 5-1A regional tournament


At Great Bend
Walnut Bowl


Team scores
1. Buhler, 2,178; 2. Great Bend, 2,161; 3. McPherson, 2,088; 4. Liberal, 1,974; 5. Newton, 1,943; 6. Maize South, 1,842; 7. Holcomb, 1,751; 8. Andale, 1,664; 9. Cheney, 1,652; 10. Garden Plain, 362

Top 10 medalists
1. Kirsten Allen, Buhler, 708; 2. Miranda Hejny, Great Bend, 593; 3. Melina Schrader, Newton, 570; 4. Macy Nightingale, McPherson, 558; 5. Jessica Sterba, Great Bend, 543; 6. Kelli Kirmer, Great Bend, 540; 7. Casey Bailey, Buhler, 534; 8. Haley Walck, Holcomb, 521; 9. Crystal Nutter, McPherson, 515; 10. Kimberly Vanley, Liberal, 507

Other state qualifier
Kelsey Reida, Cheney, 502

Great Bend results
Miranda Hejny, 198-182-213 — 593; Jessica Sterba, 193-182-168 — 543; Kelli Kirmer, 169-222-149 — 540; Sterling McAllister, 194-133-138 — 465; Alex Eye, 135-131-157 — 423; Abby Rose, 147-115-150 — 412


Team scores
1. Salina-Sacred Heart, 2,566; 2. Great Bend, 2,536; 3. Cheney, 2,416; 4. Newton, 2,406; 5. McPherson, 2,318; 6. Maize South, 2,277; 7. Liberal, 2,263; 8. Holcomb, 2,153; 9. Buhler, 2,091; 10. Andale, 1,965; 11. Garden Plain, 979; 12. Littler River, 535

Top 10 medalists
1. Dakota Conaway, Great Bend, 705; 2. Jeff Meitler, Great Bend, 665; 3. Joel Morey, McPherson, 657; 4. Dallan Dunn, Sacred Heart, 644; 5. Tyler Killingsworth, Liberal, 641; 6. Ryan Franzen, Sacred Heart, 628; 7. Tanner Clovis, Sacred Heart, 616; 8. Jarad Reida, Cheney, 613; 9. Cody Reida, Cheney, 604; 10. Kyle Meyer, Maize South, 604

Other state qualifier
Alec Patterson, Maize South, 600

Great Bend results
Dakota Conaway, 254-213-238 — 705; Jeff Meitler, 247-230-188 — 665; Eric Ruiz, 243-144-187 — 574; Daniel Herrman, 169-186-186 — 541; Mark Lang, 155-195-182 — 532; Kolt Ramey, 169-162-179 — 510