Friday, February 15, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot bowling teams win both state championships

Leader sports editor

Cabot High School brought home two state championships from the state bowling meet this week in Fort Smith. The boys won their second-consecutive state title while the girls brought home their third championships in the last five years.

The Cabot boys were the heavy favorites and did not disappoint. They had everyone back from last year’s championship team, and made an emphatic statement in the conference meet in the days leading up to state.

As a warning shot to the rest of the state, the Cabot boys broke the overall state record by more than 200 pins at conference, scoring 4854 and eclipsing the old mark of 4614. Each of the top five scorers at conference were Cabot bowlers. That set the tone for state.

The highest individual scorer for Cabot, Chris Brown, missed out on an individual medal, finishing fourth overall by two pins with a score of 716, but the Panthers still set the team record for a state meet, scoring 4790 and easily beating second-place Bentonville by 624 pins. That margin of victory is also a record for a state meet, beating the old one by 15 pins.

“The boys’ championship was no surprise,” Cabot coach Mike Nash said. “With everyone back from a state championship team, you expect to do well. It may have been a little bit of a surprise that they dominated the way they did, though.”

The top 16 scorers made All State and the list included four Cabot bowlers. Joining Brown on the All-State team were Kenny Pederson, Jace Jennings and Cayden Cook. Dylan Wilson finished one pin out of the top 16 with a 645 and Adrian Nicholas was 20th, making the Panthers the only team to put all six bowlers in the top 20 of 104 bowlers.

In the girls division, senior Shelby Smith tied a state record by becoming the second bowler in state history to win the individual championship three consecutive years. She didn’t score as high as last year’s state record performance, but the rest of the Lady Panthers stepped up in a big way to aid the title run.

“We talked about how important it was to start fast,” Nash said. “And the girls did that. Everyone except Shelby bowled their highest score in the first game. That put the pressure on everyone else to have to play catch up while we still had our best bowler yet to bowl her best game. That was really important for the girls to execute like that.”