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Marysville A&T bowling brings home state title
MARYSVILLE — Marysville Arts and Technology High School is one place where a team of young athletes are eager to get a strike.
Members of the Arts and Tech bowling team known as Mr. Popper’s Penguins — in honor of the school’s mascot — just finished in first place at the 30th Annual Washington State USBC Youth Championship Tournament, which ran from April 14-15, April 21-22 and April 28-29 in Spokane. They took home the first place by a margin of 16 pins.
“It was so much fun,” said Baylie Self, a sophomore at Arts and Tech who is in her second year on the bowling team.
Self and three of her teammates, Elijah Reed (captain), Chance Mair and Kylor Self, traveled across Washington to attend the first of three tournament weekends. The team events took place at Valley Bowl Inc. and the singles and doubles events took place at Lilac Lanes, both in Spokane. And although some of the players lamented about the long car ride with broken air-conditioning, they certainly loved the tournament once they arrived.
“It was awesome,” said Mair, a freshman who has been bowling since he was 5 years old and playing in a bumper bowling league. Mair bowled a new personal best that weekend with a score of 221.
Kylor Self, a graduate of Arts and Tech, not only scored No. 1 as part of the Penguins team, but also succeeded at the tournament’s singles Division B scoring first place in that as well.
Reed, the team’s captain, is a junior at Arts and Tech, and said he likes being a part of the team because it helps him grow as a leader.
“I’ve mostly been doing it for leadership skills as the team captain,” said Reed. “But I also like to build up my endurance. It can take a while to get through long games. One game can take up to an hour.”
For Reed, bowling has been a family sport — his older brother helped start the Arts and Tech bowling team and his younger brother hopes one day to be a part of it. And for him, even with trying to get a summer job and fitting in activities like long boarding and backpacking, he won’t be leaving bowling behind.
“Once I’m done with high school, I am probably going to get into some of the adult leagues,” he said. “I will be 18 in August, so then I can make money when I bowl,” he laughed.
Bowling is not a sport supported by the school district and because of that, the team has faced some tough times.
“There is really no support for them,” said Christine Mair, Chance’s mom.
“We almost didn’t have a team this year,” said Self. “We had to rewrite our constitution or we wouldn’t be a club.”
Despite the fact that the sport is not a school-supported activity, the athletes still show consistent dedication to the game.
“I’m in a rec league every Saturday,” said Chance Mair, and Self also practices regularly. “I do the Evergreen Lanes league every week, too,” she said.
That practice paid off during state when Reed scored 34-70 over his average, Kylor Self scored 29-75 over his average and Baylie Self scored 20 over her average.
Next year’s state tournament is set to take place in Mount Vernon, and the team already has goals in mind.
“I want to break 200,” said Self, whose personal best is just eight pins shy of that number. Mair wants to beat the personal score he set at this year’s tournament and Reed aims for a perfect score.
“I want to bowl a 300 before I’m done with high school,” said Reed.