Bowling team is looking to strike out for the upcoming season

Lilly Williamson (12) practices for the upcoming season. Hoping to score a scholarship to the Arkansas Red Wolves Bowling team, she dedicates additional individual practice time and team commitment.

Lilly Williamson

Lilly Williamson (12) practices for the upcoming season. Hoping to score a scholarship to the Arkansas Red Wolves Bowling team, she dedicates additional individual practice time and team commitment.

The sound of a bowling ball speeding down a wooden lane meets the ears of the observers. People watch closely as the tension builds up. The ball rolls quickly, but with the match on the line, it feels like it is taking forever. Finally, bowling pins go flying through the air. No pin stands, and the bowling team clinches another victory. 

This thrill as well as the captivating team environment has attracted many students to join the bowling team this year. The sport itself is not as physically demanding as some and allows players to enjoy each other’s company. 

“Bowling is [a] fun, laid-back sport that’s low risk for injury, so it’s perfect for people who want to learn while hanging out with friends,” girls team captain Mazie Hazard (12) said.

With nine members on the boys team and 12 on the girls, Spartan bowling is larger than ever. Each athlete has their own unique reason that drew them to the team. Some joined because they wanted to hang out with friends or their family nudged them into the sport. 

“My dad got me into bowling,” Lilly Williamson (12) said. “He is a great advocate for the bowling community, has a super high average, [is] super friendly, open to giving lessons and just overall a great guy. Shortly after he got me my first ball, I fell in love with the sport. I’ve been a bowler for three and a half years, and I’m still as excited about it, if not more, [than] when I started.”

After years of spending time together through training and competitions, the athletes have developed friendships and a love for the sport. This bond is what keeps them going through hard times.

“My favorite part about bowling is being able to compete individually and on a team,” Williamson said. “For example, collectively we can beat another team, but it takes a lot of effort on all of our parts to do good and work together. We all have to be the legs of a tabletop.”

Practice is fundamental to the success of any sports team both physically and mentally. It gives the athletes a chance to hone their skills and work together to solve problems in preparation for competition. 

“[We practice] 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. [on Fridays] and usually at Billy Hardwick’s All-Star Lanes, and we work on bettering ourselves as a team,” Joshua Blackwell (11) said.

With all this practice, the bowling team is hoping to have a successful season this year. In order to beat their adversaries, the team must win their competitions, which are formatted to test each bowler’s individual strength and the endurance of the team as a whole.

“Our bowling matches consist of one regular game where everyone plays [individually], and then we do five baker rounds, where every member plays in a specific order to add points to the first regular one,” Hazard said. “The baker rounds are more of a team exercise.”

With an experienced team captain, the girls bowling team has an advantage in winning competitions. Hazard has played in multiple states and with high energy, benefiting the team with her experience.

“As the team captain, I try to encourage all of the members to do their best, and I’m pleased with whatever the outcome is,” Hazard said. “Our goal is to grow as a team and help each other out as much as we can.”

With a passionate team spirit, leaving is always bittersweet. Seniors like Williamson feel thrilled to begin the last season while also recognizing the potential opportunities the sport could hold in the future. 

“I’m really excited for this season since it will be my last time bowling for White Station,” Williamson said. “Don’t get me wrong; I’ll miss the sport a bunch, but I think I’m ready to move on to bigger challenges and hope to become a pro someday.”