There was plenty of things to look forward to for the Elizabethtown Area High School bowling team at the Eastern PA Regionals on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2. The Bears had five girls and four boys participating in the individual competitions on Friday, and both the girls and boys squads would battle in the team tournaments on Saturday. However, while they struck out across much of the event, they were able to keep one streak going as well.
None of Elizabethtown’s entries in the individual tournament made it past the five-game qualifying round into the 12-bowler bracket finals on Friday. Senior Katelyn Garman had the highest placement for the team, taking 21st in action for the girls at Dutch Lanes in Ephrata. She finished with a score of 975, notching a 212, a 206, a 199 and a 194. However, a 164 in the second game ended up sullying her total somewhat.
The rest of the Lady Bears had mixed performances. Senior Abby Chaffins was the only other bowler in the top 50, finishing 46th with an 897, putting up scores of 173, 190, 161, 195 and 178. Sophomore Eryn Moore had a middling score of 844 to take 68th. Senior Elizabeth Vuxta (76th; 844) and freshman Hannah Griffie (100th; 768) both managed to get inside the top 100.
Senior Patrick Hoffmaster had the best outing amongst the boys at Leisure Lanes in Lancaster. He scored a team-high 1,016, posting solid scores of 216, 211, 192, 199 and 198. However, he ended up in the middle of the pack overall, placing 55th. The top 12 bowlers, who all qualified for states, finished with a game-average of just over 234.
For the rest of the boys, junior Andrew Telenko had an 842 to finish 166th. Freshman Daniel Eberle was 175th at 813, while junior Ben Davis, who battled through illness to compete, was 184th at 769.
Both Elizabethtown teams did much better during the team tournaments on Saturday, though one ended up soaring far higher than the other. That was the Lady Bears, who fought their way through the qualifying round and the bracket finals to finish as runner-up, earning their sixth straight trip to states in the process.
The girls didn’t get off to a great start in the standard three-game portion of the qualifying round, scoring just a 782 in the first, which was only boosted up by a 249 from Garman. They recovered in the second to get a 970, led by Garman (225) and Chaffins (215), later finishing off with an 881 in the third, with Garman once again getting a team-high 239; her three-game total of 713 was second among all girls bowlers.
Sitting at sixth with a 2,633 heading into the six-game Baker set, Elizabethtown was able to jump to fifth overall at 3,705 with scores of 152, 173, 192, 210, 170 and 175. The Lady Bears first faced No. 4 Muhlenberg in the finals, winning 2-0 (158-150 and 188-141) to move onto the semifinals.
There, they square off against top-seeded Governor Mifflin, who narrowly won the first game 181-176. Undeterred, the Lady Bears got a close victory of their own in the second, winning 180-175. In the deciding third game, Garman came up big in the clutch, knocking down 3 strikes in the final frame to give her team a 208-202 victory. Elizabethtown did falter in the championship match, however, falling 2-0 to Shikellamy by scores of 177-143 and 149-132. For her efforts, Garman was named to the tournament All-Star team.
While the boys team wasn’t able to make it to the finals or qualify for states, they did do much better than the individual tournament. Senior Bradley Ruth was terrific during the standard part of the qualifying round, posting scores of 255, 202 and 219 for a three-game total of 676, eighth highest overall. Hoffmaster contributed steady scores of 189, 188 and 179, while Eberle had a 194 and a 193.
As a whole, however, Elizabethtown finished with an 897, an 881 and an 874, going into the Baker sets with a 2,652 overall. The Bears did manage to maintain their position with scores of 187, 172, 157, 172, 158 and 171, ultimately finishing in 26th place.
The Lady Bears will return to Dutch Lanes on Saturday, March 16, for the Pennsylvania State High School Bowling Championships. They previously won the girls team championship in 2014.