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North bowling loses out to Riverdale

September 4, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

By the end of the season the North Fort Myers boys and girls bowling teams will be in good position to win the district and possibly go to states as it did last year.

But they may have to go through Riverdale to do it.

The two powers met last Tuesday in the season opening match for both teams, and it was heartbreak for the boys and frustration for the girls as both fell to the Raiders at HeadPinz in Cape Coral.

For the boys it was particularly rough, as it took the lead after four of their five players through strikes in the 7th frame.

However, three open frames in the 10th gave the Raiders an opening, and when they got a strike and spear from their final bowler, it gave them an 892-891 victory and two points.

Jeff Reaves led the way in the five-player bowl off with a 224, but in the Baker format, he could only roll twice, and while the Red Knights won the first game 201-174, Riverdale bested them 210-167 to take the match 3-1.

For the girls, it looked like North was on its way to victory as well. That was before anyone noticed that Cydnee Whiteleather of Riverdale had rolled six straight strikes that the scoreboard hadn't registered yet. Her 212 after a slow start resulted in a 731-695 victory in the team format. Kristal Arel led North with a 195.

There was no drama in the Baker format as the Raiders completed the sweep with a 182-124 win.

As with any good team, the scores will improve and the Red Knights will peak at the end of the season.

Eric Brounson, North's bowling coach, said the boys loss was a good learning experience for the younger bowlers, as they found out that being district champs (and 10th in the state) means having a target on your back.

"Everyone wants your best game. If you don't execute, you're going to lose. It's not heartbreaking, it's learning," Brounson said. "Reaves did his job. It's going to be his year this year, but that 10th frame beat us."

Brounson said despite the loss, the girls look like they could make it to states. He said Arel has a shot to go to states as an individual at least.

"I've been chasing here for three years to come bowl for us. She works here at HeadPinz. You'll see a lot of her. She's very promising and I think she'll compete for one of the spots to go to states," Brounson said.

The boys look a little rusty early, but should be in position to compete for a district title, though Brounson concedes Riverdale may be the best in the district.

There is only one class in the FHSAA for bowling, as few schools participate.

Not everyone is made to play football or basketball. For these kids, it's an opportunity to participate in a competitive sport.

Senior Brandon Rucker, who had one of the opens in the 10th, said his team could have bowled better.

"We had momentum after that third game and came out with a strike and split and they caught fire and nearly struck out," Rucker said. "I think we'll be good. But today was a struggle."

Arel, who has grown up on bowling, said she did it because she had heard about tryouts and I thought why not," Arel said. "I just started up again and my score is the best I've had in a while. I'm very proud of my team."



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