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Springville-GI girls varsity bowling off to the best start in its school’s history

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute girls bowling team kicked off the season 2 – 0.

Coach Kevin Farner said that he wanted his girls to remember how far they had come and to remember what got them to that point.

According to Farner, the team’s hard work earned it the best start in school history, following a Jan. 14 home win against Lackawanna.

Eighth grader Mariah Gamel led the team with a high series, rolling a 516. The girls won the first game on the “A” and “B” teams, by a combined 426 pins.

“[That] allowed me the luxury of giving playing time to all of our reserves,” Farner said, about the girls’ start.

The girls’ record was upped to 6 – 1, after they defeated the visiting Steelers 7 – 0, for their best start in school history.

The team took on Pioneer on Jan. 24. According to Farner, that match may determine the division championship, as the Pioneer girls are currently 5 – 1.

The Lady Griffins’ record’s only blemish was a loss to Holland. According to Farner, that defeat did not cause any letdowns, as the team has rallied off three straight wins, since that loss.

The team’s three seniors, Tara Felser, Miranda Clark and Hunter McCarthy, have been on the team for several years. Farner said he told the girls that they could end their high school bowling careers as division champs. “The girls were very disappointed to lose at Holland,” he said. “After the match, I reminded them that, even though an undefeated season was off of the table, it would still be pretty nice to finish their high school careers as division champs.

“They have been really rallying around each other, all season,” he continued. “If someone is struggling, the other girls are excellent about keeping their teammates loose and relaxed, which is huge, in our sport. I always tell my team that I don’t know anyone who bowls better when they are uptight or angry.”

The boys pulled off their second consecutive upset, defeating division-leading Lackawanna 5 – 2.

Lackawanna hosted S-GI in early December, defeating the Griffins 4 – 3. Springville avenged that loss with the help of junior Brandon Sullivan, who rolled a 231 game, en route to a 653 series, to lead the team.

“This was our team’s best all around performance of the season,” Farner said.

Pitching in, with Sullivan, was senior Val Hill, who had his personal best series, a 576.

Nate Sopko bowled a 568 series, Alex Wedley rolled a 562 and Cam Taylor came off the bench, to shoot a 190 game.

The team averaged better than 186 per game, en route to improving its record to 2 – 5.

According to Farner, if the boys can win their next three matches, they will be guaranteed an invitation to the Section VI Championships.

“The guys seemed to turn the corner, after the loss at Holland, too,” Farner said. “We had a practice a few days later and the boys were asking me who I planned on playing on the “A” and “B” teams, in the next match. I suggested making the practice a mini tournament, with the top guys’ getting the spots on the “A” team. They jumped at the opportunity and bowled some big scores. I have been reminding them, since, to work as hard at putting it to the opponent as they did to each other, that day.”

Both teams traveled to Pioneer on Jan. 24, to take on the Panthers.
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