Were it not for a pesky four pin, Olathe Northwest sophomore Mackenzie Saulnier might have strung together back-to-back 300 games Monday during the weather-delayed Kansas Class 6A bowling regional at Olathe Lanes East.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Saulnier’s opening game — a 234 — seemed paltry by the time she was through.
Kicking off her second game, Saulnier left the four pin standing in the first frame before striking the final nine frames, including both bonus throws in the 10th frame, for a lifetime-best 290.
She hit her 12th straight strike to open the third game before again leaving the four pin standing in the second frame.
After converting the spare, Saulnier struck out again for a 280, giving her 22 strikes in her last 23 rolls and a blistering 804 series.
“Unreal,” Ravens coach Kevin Hulsen said. “She bowled out of her mind. I’ve never seen a high school girl throw up a score like that.”
For some perspective, Olathe North senior Kenny Kent cruised to an easy title in the boys regional that followed. He shot 276, 257, 213, which was 58 pins fewer than Saulnier.
“Right when I started my second game, I fell into a comfort zone and felt like I could hit my mark if I needed to, and I just had so much confidence,” Saulnier said. “It all just fell into place.”
Earlier in the season, Saulnier set the Olathe Northwest school record with a 749 series, breaking the old mark by 52 pins.
Still, Saulnier — who finished 134 pins ahead of Olathe East sophomore Allie Brachtenbach, the individual runner-up (670) — was more excited that the Ravens finished first as a team.
“I came here hoping to make it to state as a team and wanting to do everything I could for the team,” Saulnier said.
“Last year, we missed state by seven pins and that was really hard on our team. We wanted to make it magical for our senior leader, Becca Wood.”
Wood finished seventh overall with a 582 series for Olathe Northwest, which totaled 2,330 pins and beat runner-up SM Northwest by 104 pins.
The Cougars and third-place Olathe South also qualified for state, which will be contested Friday at Northrock Lanes in Wichita.
Meanwhile, Kent and the Eagles’ boys dominated, rolling a school-record 2,821 en route to a 258-pin victory ahead of runner-up Olathe South.
“They came in ready to shoot,” Olathe North coach Dalene Moomau said. “The boys had some pressure on their shoulders as returning state champs, but they also wanted to prove a point.”
The Eagles had three of the top four individuals, led by Kent, whose 746 series topped sophomore Drake Rapue by 35 pins.