Special to Highlands Today
Sebring and Martin County bowlers have had a friendly but very competitive rivalry for the past several years.
Both schools have talented bowlers and a dedicated coaching staff. Since the two schools began competing in District 12, Martin County has amassed a three-year winning streak against all other schools in regular season match play.
Two years ago, Sebring defeated Martin County to win the Kegel High School Challenge which is an additional event open to all Florida high school bowling teams. In regular match play, the Blue Streaks have won individual games, but were never able to claim a match win over the Tigers.
In similar fashion, the Blue Streak girls' team had also fallen to Martin County in regulation play. In fact, the Blue Streak girls had never won a game against Martin County since their inaugural year just two seasons ago.
The Blue Streak bowlers finally turned the tide and ended Martin County's three-year period of domination on Tuesday at Stuart Bowl, Martin County's home lanes.
The victory was even more challenging by virtue of a major remodeling project at Stuart Bowl which was in progress. The bowling center carpet had been taken up and a new cement had been laid down and sanded. The fine dust from this finish sanding was everywhere causing a combination of too much slide on some occasions and abrupt stops on others. This challenge raised the level of tension for all the players and made the rivalry even more intense.
The triumphant Blue Streak boys' team was again led by sophomore David Daniels who put together games of 237 and 228 to cripple the Tigers.
Nick Brod, Thorsten Przychocki and Carl Daniels backed up David in the first match game with scores of 215, 212 and 198, respectively. Cole Rankin filled in with a solid 189 to enable the Blue Streaks to win the first game by a whopping 106 pins (1,051 to 945)!
In game two, the Tigers attempted a comeback, as is their normal style, but the Blue Streaks remained confident and were leading until the 9th frame. Senior Carl Daniels came to the rescue by finishing with a crucial double in the 10th frame for a 202 game.
J.C. Bowen, who came off the bench to play in game two, had a slow start but also finished with a strike and spare in the 10th.
Martin County rallied in the final frames and the Blue Streaks were at risk of losing and having to go into Baker format play to obtain a win. Enter Nick Brod, in the number 3 spot in the lineup. Nick struggled in the early half of game two with definite slide problems from the sanding dust. Frustrated, but undaunted, he finished with a flurry of four strikes in the 9th and 10th frames to send a lightning bolt straight at the Martin County bowlers.
Przychocki, who opened game two with a triple, struck in the 10th and just missed a double with a solid 4-pin leave which he converted.
At this point, the match was almost even with Martin County holding a slight lead. Coach Wiltse made a decision to have David Daniels wait on the last two players in the Martin County lineup, forcing them to finish first under the pressure of the close match.
Martin County's first bowler rolled a nine count, but failed to convert the spare. This gave the Blue Streaks a single pin lead going into the final frame.
The Tiger's anchor bowler needed a double to have a chance close out a win; however, he failed to strike leaving a single pin spare.
At this point, Coach Wiltse gave David Daniels the go ahead to decide the fate of the Streaks. Daniels was only in this key position due to the clutch performance by his teammates and now all the pressure was on him to break the Martin County winning streak and secure a match victory.
As everyone watched, Daniels stepped up on the dusty approaches and calmly posted two strikes in the 10th to start a new winning streak against Martin County that will hopefully continue for many years!
The Blue Streak girls had never won a match game against Martin County, so they promptly changed that status in game 1 with Adrianna Stacy leading the way with a beautiful 211 score.
Jessica Chaney was right behind with a 208 and Katryanna Barina followed with a 197. Tejal Desai posted a 119 and Marissa Andujar, who has been bowling very well this year, struggled a bit but finished with a 112. The Blue Streak girls were victorious over Martin County for the 1st time in a close game, 847 to 842.
Even though Martin County came back to win the girls match, Adrianna Stacy posted a 212 in game 2 for a 211.5 average. Katryanna Barina finished with a 170 making her average 183.5 for the day and Jessica Chaney posted an average of 174.5. Marissa Andujar bounced back with a 164 in game two and Tejal Desai rolled a 122.
The Blue Streaks can be seen on Saturday at the Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales when they will attempt to retake their title at the Kegel High School Challenge.