Friday, February 12, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot’s bowlers district champs

Leader sports editor

The Cabot girls’ bowling team won the 7A-5A Central District tournament Friday in Maumelle. The Lady Panthers, who are also the defending state champions, had the top three individual bowlers and won the tournament by a wide margin with a total of 3,731 pins.

The Cabot boys’ team is also the defending state champs, but they struggled early and were unable to catch up to the Benton Panthers, who had a tremendous first round. The Cabot boys totaled 4,302 pins, but still lost by 140.

“Benton bowled well early and we were playing catch-up all day,” said Cabot bowling coach Clark Bing. “I’m not going to give a number that I think we could’ve got, but we’re better than that. It was a little disappointing but we can still win state. We just have to play better.”

The Lady Panthers won going away. Lauren Bunting was the Gold medalist with 588 pins. She bowled a modest 156 in her first game, but got better as the tournament went on. Her second game was a 199 and she bowled a 233 to close the rounds.

Her teammates Micah Perry and Hayleigh Baugh were the silver and bronze medalists. Megan Bugiel also made All-Conference.

“I was pleased with their focus and execution on the lanes,” Bing said of the girls’ team. The girls executed on the lanes. That’s the bottom line. They had a great day.”

While the boys didn’t win as a team, Josh Imhoff was the tournament’s Gold medalist and led three Panthers that qualified for All-Conference honors by finishing in the top five. Imhoff totaled 675, peaking in the second round with a 258. He opened with a 192 and closed with a 215. Blake Palladino and Cole Stillman finished fourth and fifth to make All-Conference.

Both teams will try to defend their state championships next Wednesday, and will get to do so on their home lanes. The state tournament will begin at 11 a.m. at All-Fam Bowling Center in Cabot.

The boys will be going for their fifth-straight state title while the girls will be after their fifth in the last nine years.