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Local bowlers team up to compete
MARYSVILLE — You’d never know it from talking to a Snohomish County school’s athletics department, but six different schools — Marysville-Pilchuck, Marysville Arts & Technology, Lakewood, Lake Stevens, Mariner and Cascade — have bowling teams and several have enough kids to make two teams each.
The teams don’t show up in yearbooks because they aren’t funded by the schools. Boys have to call their teams ‘clubs’ and girls are allowed to have bowling teams, but bowling must replace another ‘letter’ sport. So, instead, the boys and girls bowling teams operate independently in co-ed competition.
The bowlers, like players on any high school team, must keep their grades up in order to remain eligible. Kids even join bowling leagues after graduating to stay active in the sport. League matches cost an average of $9, but kids don’t have to pay to practice at Strawberry Lanes — donations take care of it.
All skill levels — from first-time bowlers to prime-time, competitive players — are welcomed. Amber Maeder of Mariner bowled a 238 in one of Nov. 18’s games and Lakewood bowler Eddie Smith maintains a 225 average. Lake Stevens assistant coach Jane Dye has seen three perfect games bowled in the time she’s been involved.
The teams meet at different venues two to three times a week for head-to-head matches that go toward determining a league champion at the end of the season. The teams bowl two regular games and two ‘baker’ games, in which each bowler on the team bowls two frames. The top three teams qualify for the state tournament at the end of the season.
Christine Mair, a teacher’s aide for the Snohomish County School District, attends all matches. Her son, Chance, a student at Marysville Arts & Tech, has been bowling since kindergarten and also plays tennis for M-P. Chance enjoys the competition and the pursuit of his favorite sport.
“Bowling fits for a lot more people who aren’t interested in a true team sport,” Christine said.
Arts & Tech junior and captain Eli Reed revels in the responsibility of his post. He has to show up at every practice and match, and helps coaches organize the events.
Lakewood coach Cindee Dowell started as a coach at Evergreen High School in 1999 before “inheriting” the Lakewood coaching position.
“It’s a positive environment with great kids and great sportsmanship,” Dowell said. “I love watching first-time bowlers raise their averages from 75 to 125.”
Katie Banks, mother of Arts & Tech bowler Austin Banks, loves to see how many new friends her son has made in the league. Austin has gotten better and better as the weeks have passed and his scores have gotten higher each time.
M-P bowling coach Mike Edenholm ended up as the Tomahawks’ coach when his daughter got into bowling and the squads needed a coach. He’s coached his teams to state three times, taking fourth in each appearance. Arts & Tech coach Gary Schopf and his wife, co-coach Natialene, who was the assistant M-P coach before her daughter got the Arts & Tech team running, have bowled for more than 50 years.
“All the time we spend here is worth it,” Natialene said. “I love that parents can get involved. We’ve helped a couple of at-risk kids stay out of trouble.”