Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Leader sports editor

Another state championship will be coming home with the Cabot bowling team, but also some disappointment. The Lady Panthers won their third-straight and sixth overall state title Tuesday in Lowell, while the boys saw their phenomenal streak of consecutive state championships end at five.

“The girls were pretty much in control most of the time,” said Cabot coach Clark Bing. “Three girls bowled well enough to make All-State, so that’s a pretty good day.”

Olivia New, Haley Baugh and Lauren Bunting all made All-State for the champion Lady Panthers, who beat runner-up Mountain Home by 194 pins. Final scores were 3,664 for Cabot to 3,470 for Mountain Home.

In the boys’ meet, Cabot’s Chase Imhoff was the Gold Medalist, but the team score was not good enough to beat Lake Hamilton or Fort Smith Southside.

The Cabot boys finished third after entering the event as favorites. The Panthers’ score in last week’s conference meet at Allfam Bowling Center in Cabot was, by far, the best of any team in either conference, but they didn’t match that effort.

“A lot of things play into it,” Bing said. “Completely different lanes, just different things. Main thing is, we didn’t bowl well enough early to put the pressure on them. We kind of had the pressure on us the whole way.”

In one of the closest state meets since the sport began in Arkansas high schools, only 50 pins separated the top three teams.

Lake Hamilton won with a score of 4,271. Fort Smith Southside took second with 4,253 and Cabot was third with a 4,221.

Cabot led going into the bakers rounds, but dropped to third after two rounds.

They got back to second in the third round, but Southside passed them in the final few frames.

“It’s hard going for number six in a row,” Bing said. “It was a photo finish. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

For the girls, it marks the first time they have won three in a row. Their first three state championships took place in alternating years.

“Neither team bowled as well as they did last week, as far as total scores,” Bing said. “But being on unfamiliar lanes, and lanes the other teams are familiar with, the girls did really well.”