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Returning bowlers give teams an edge

Coming off of Division I-A state tournament appearances, both Boulder City bowling programs are looking to finish the job this time around.

For the boys, a heartbreaking 2266-2068 loss to Chaparral last season derailed their state championship bid, but not the hopes overall of the program heading into this season.

“You know when most have a loss like that, they are going to be down in spirit for a while,” returning letter-winner senior Dylan Amico said. “With our experience through all of our matches last year, we all believe that they deserved it; through hard work they finally got their big reward. We’re not too upset about it, going up against them this year. We just have to be better.”

Losing individual Division I-A state champion Randall Berkheimer will certainly be a challenge for the Eagles, who have made three consecutive state championship game appearances, taking home the crown in 2014. But returning letter-winner senior Teagan Smale is confident the team will be able to adjust without their star.

“You simply can’t replace a bowler like Randall,” Smale said. “He was great for this team and it will be tough moving forward without him, but our goals collectively remain the same. I’m confident that we have the pieces in place to make another run at a championship and ultimately taking it home this year.”

Smale returns to guide the Eagles this season after placing 16th in last year’s Division I-A Southern final with an overall score of 505 and is expected to be among the top bowlers in the region this year.

“Teagan is a very good team player and is always there when we need it,” Amico said. “He’s always there to bring up the team in a way nobody else can. He always finds a way to come up in clutch for the team as a whole.”

Expected to make it to the individual state finals this year, Smale has set lofty goals for himself entering the season.

“I’ve been working on my game all off-season and I’m ready to take it to the next level,” Smale said. “Obviously team goals are what’s most important to me, but I also want an opportunity to show how far I’ve come as a bowler. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Joining Smale for the Eagles, who finished 81-9 a season ago for a first-place regular season finish in the Division I-A Sunrise League, will be Amico, who in his own right has lofty expectations not only for the group but himself.

“We hope to act as a unit this year and make it to state once again,” Amico said. “We need to come together and give it our all 100 percent of the time and, as always, leave it all on the lanes. I’ve been practicing nonstop for the last nine months in order to become the best I can be and help my team achieve our goals.”

Junior Edward Rassuchine will be the Eagles’ third bowler after playing quite a bit of varsity last year, while juniors Conner Armstrong and Samu Jancuk are expected to compete for the Eagles’ fourth spot.

For the Lady Eagles, the girls surprised most last season by making it to the championship match, eventually falling to Southeast Career Technical Academy 1872-1515, which had placed a 90-0 regular season record. Entering the tournament as a fourth seed in the Sunrise League with a 45-45 regular season record, much is to be expected of this year’s group after a great state showing.

Sophomore Bailey Bennett-Jordan returns to anchor the Lady Eagles, following a fourth-place finish at the individual state bowling championships last season with an overall score of 459.

Joining Bennett-Jordan, will be junior Abigail Harling, who placed eighth at the Southern Region individual final with a score of 443, just missing a state appearance, while senior Alexis Cable and junior Emily Owens are expected to be the team’s third and fourth options respectively.

Camille Torgesen and Bailey Archuleta are also returning to the Lady Eagles this year, while Kali Martin and Samantha Wagner are expected to make contributions at some point this season.

“We have a lot of talent returning from our team that finished second to SECTA last year,” head coach Rodney Ball said. “They will be stronger this year and hope to get that final win. Everyone has shown potential to be better this year and we’re fortunate enough to have a lot of depth.”

The Eagles will open up their season at 3 p.m. Monday against Chaparral at Boulder Bowl.

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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