Despite only having one senior boy on the roster, Olathe East head coach Chuck Thibodeau set the bar high for his bowlers this season and made that clear from the start.
“We’ve expected these guys to be a really good team,” Thibodeau said. “I told them at the beginning of the year that this is what we expect out of you: Come, roll strong and contend for state.”
After winning the Class 6A regional championship at Olathe East Lanes on Thursday, the Hawks are one step closer to that goal. Olathe East finished with a 2,784 series to beat second-place Olathe South by 128 pins. Olathe North finished third and also qualified for state.
Aaron Yuratovich, the team’s lone senior, was the top bowler with a 767 series and a high game of 279. He placed ninth at state his freshman year and won the individual championship his sophomore year, but fell to a 29th place finish at last year’s tournament.
“There’s a lot of downhill and there is a lot of uphill in this sport,” Yuratovich said. “When you’re on the uphill, you just have to keep going and I am trying to ride it all the way.”
Shawnee Mission North’s Ty Marah finished in second place with a 720 series and although the Indians did not qualify for state as a team, he and Thomas Johnson were among the top six individuals who advanced to the state tournament.
They will be joined by Alex Giffin and Adam Wood of Olathe Northwest, Josh Hasenleder of Shawnee Mission South and Michael Wirth of Shawnee Mission West.
On the girls side, Allie Brachtenbach added to Olathe East’s success by winning the individual title. She threw strikes in the first eight frames of her final game to finish with a 240 and a 649 series. She edged defending state champion Mackenzie Saulnier of Olathe Northwest, who finished with a 642.
“I felt really in the zone,” Brachtenbach said. “I was surprised that I got eight in a row my last game, but I did and it was great.”
The regional title adds to a long list of accomplishments for Brachtenbach, who also won the Sunflower League and city meets this season.
Brachtenbach and Saulnier qualified individually along with Jordan Jewett of Olathe Northwest, Nia Madison of Shawnee Mission South, Jessica Brewer of Shawnee Mission West and Amanda Vanderwerf of Shawnee Mission Northwest.
With three top 10 individual placers, Olathe North took the girls team title. The Eagles were led by Madi Kent, who bowled a 628 series.
Olathe South and Shawnee Mission North finished second and third in the team scoring and also qualified for state.