Competing at a high school state tournament in any sport can be thrilling.
Alex Kowaleski, Breana Haines and Neil Buschke, of Little Wolf High School in Manawa, each made their first trip to a high school state tournament, when they competed at the Wisconsin High School Bowling Club 2013 State Championships in Schofield, March 1. For each of them it was their first trip to the State Championships.
Kowaleski, a sophomore, said it was a fun experience just because he qualified for the championshps.
Haines, a junior, remarked about how nerve racking it was bowling at the championships.
“There were so many people. It was really different than any other tournaments I’ve been to,” Haines said. “There was a huge crowd. They pulled in bleachers. There were hundreds just watching.”
Buschke, a freshman, agreed that it was fun just qualifying for the championships, and that it was also nerve racking.
Kowaleski said he didn’t enter the season with the goal of qualifying for the championships.
“It just kind of happened,” Kowalewski said. “At the start of the year I really wasn’t that good but I got better throughout the year. Towards the end it was my goal and I barely made it.”
He said he has been bowling seriously for only a short amount of time.
“With the proper bowling ball I’ve only bowled two years,” Kowaleski said. “Before that I bowled for fun and I was really, really bad for like six years.”
“At the beginning of last year he was throwing a backup ball so it was pretty big [for him to qualify for the championships],” Haines said.
Haines said it was her goal to qualify for the championships.
“It’s always been my goal for bowling. Last year I missed it by one spare. I really wanted to go this year. It was big,” Haines said.
She said she comes from a family of bowlers.
“I’ve been bowling my entire life but I didn’t really get into it until my eighth grade or freshman year,” Haines said.
For Buschke, being part of the high school team was a big change. One of the adjustments he had to make was dealing with larger groups of people.
He said he also comes from a family of bowlers.
“I’ve been bowling since about 8 [years old] with a proper bowling ball,” Buschke said.
They achieved mixed results at the championships.
“I did about as well as I wanted to,” Kowaleski said. “I would have liked to win but I did what I usually do and I got like 60 out of 100. I did ok.”
“I made it in the top half,” Haines said. “I bowled better than my score showed. I got some unlucky breaks, but that’s kind of what you get when you bowl – lucky and unlucky.”
“I don’t really know how I did. I didn’t check because I didn’t do the best,” Buschke said.
With a trip to the State Championships, and the Manawa varsity bowling team winning the regular season conference championship, it was a season none of them will forget.
“I’ll remember how well I did because I wasn’t expecting to do that well,” Kowaleski said. “I was expecting to be in the middle of the group. Then I ended up being in the top 11, so that is the thing I will probably remember the most.”
“For me it was a lot more than I expected,” Haines said. “I expected for me to go but I didn’t expect to be part of such a good group of bowlers. And I didn’t expect that we’d do so well with all the younger kids that we do have on the varsity team. So it went a lot better than I thought it would.”
For Buschke, he said he will remember the season more for what the future holds.
“To remember for the following year to try and make it every year,” Buschke said. “Try to do better.”