During the course of the last three seasons, Olathe North High School has cemented itself as the team to beat in boys and girls bowling.
The Eagles’ program has won three consecutive Kansas Class 6A state championships — two boys and one girls — and so far, it looks like they could be in position to do it again.
The boys already have broke a 2,700 series in two meets, which coach Jim Anderson said they did not do all last season, and the girls are steadily improving with a strong chance to repeat.
“Our boys are looking really good this year and our girls are probably just one step behind them,” Anderson said. “We’ve had a couple girls struggle a little bit to begin with, but once we get rolling, I don’t see any reason why both of our teams aren’t at state again this year.”
Drake Rapue is leading the Olathe North boys team with a 232 average, and Branden Russell is right behind him at 227. Sophomore Rachel Rapue, who missed most of last season with an injury, is leading the girls squad with a 204 average.
Hawks make coach proud
It is not often that Olathe East High School bowling coach Chuck Thibodeau is so happy that he cancels practice.
However, that is exactly what happened on Friday afternoon.
His boys followed up a score of 2698 series in their first meet with a 2693 in their second meet. The girls, meanwhile, improved by more than 150 pins, so he could not wait to reward their efforts.
“I told them, ‘guys you earned it, take the day off,’” Thibodeau said.
Devonte Brown is currently leading the Olathe East boys with a 245 average through his first six games. Jake Butler, Michael Crow and Reese Sanders are also averaging higher than a 200.
On the girls side, the clear leader is Allie Brachtenbach, who is averaging 208. She shot a high game of 280 already this season.
“We’ve been pretty tough over the last several years and I fully anticipate the boys going to state.” Thibodeau said. “I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that we might get the girls to state. We’ll be taking Allie I’m sure.”
Area names rank high
As of Tuesday afternoon, five boys and four girls from the 913 coverage area were ranked in the top 25 in Kansas for their average scores.
Olathe East’s Devonte Brown led the group. He was ranked first with a 245 average. Olathe North’s Drake Rapue was sixth at 232, Rapue’s teammate Branden Russell and SM North’s Dimitri Horton were tied at 11th with 227, and Olathe East’s Michael Crow was 20th with a 220.
Olathe Northwest’s Mackenzie Saulnier, who was the Kansas Class 6A individual state champion in 2013, ranked fourth with a 228 average. Olathe East’s Allie Brachtenbach and SM North’s Nicole Edwards were tied for eighth with a 208, and Olathe North’s Rachel Rapue was 13th with a 204.