Burrell girls bowling team hopes regular-season success carries over to postseason
By: Michael Love
Monday, February 12, 2018 | 12:16 AM
The Burrell girls bowling team finished its regular season Wednesday in some rare company in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League.
The Bucs joined Gateway, Butler, Plum and Thomas Jefferson with undefeated records in league play.
Now, Burrell, the Northeast section champion, sets its sights the postseason with Thursday's WPIBL girls team championship at Family Bowl-Away in Butler.
“We went pretty far last year, and I think we can get even further this year,” senior Cassie Beattie said.
The top two teams in each boys and girls section qualify for the WPIBL championships and also will take part in the Western Regional tournament with a chance to qualify for states. Burrell placed ninth at regionals last year.
Burrell held off Armstrong (8-2) for the section title. The teams engaged in a competitive match in Week 9, with the Bucs coming out on top.
“That match was a little stressful. It always is against Armstrong, but we also had a lot of fun,” Beattie said. “It's all about having fun.”
Junior Carlee Hummel, in her first year with Burrell after two years bowling for Redeemer Lutheran in Verona, led the team in the regular season with a 187.83 average.
“This has been an awesome experience,” Beattie said. “We didn't have a full team at Redeemer, so it's a lot of fun to be able to help a team win a championship.”
Beattie's average is second on the team at 169.77 for 27 games.
“I got a new ball that's really helped my game,” Beattie said. “My average is lower than it was last season, but that's because I was getting used to it for the first part of the season. Carlee did the same thing, and those balls have really helped improve our scores.”
The team had to recover from the loss of senior Brittany Meyer to foot surgery last week. She played through the Armstrong match and finished the season with a 168.56 average, sixth in the section.
“It's tough to not have her bowling anymore, but we have girls who can step up,” Beattie said.
The team had a big first game in its section finale against Valley on Wednesday, posting a 980 team score. They went on to post games of 866 and 792 for a 2,638 pin total, 200 above their season average.
Hummel led the way with a 638 series (222-217-199), and sophomore Ashley Smith rolled a 612 with games of 232, 202 and 178. Beattie contributed a 569 series (207-201-161) for third, and Brittany McDade had a season-best game (213) in a season-best series (469).
Freshman Shayla Calvert rounded out the top five with a 351 series.
The Burrell girls join the Plum boys and girls and the Kiski Area boys from the A-K Valley at this week's WPIBL team championships.
The WPIBL boys and girls singles championships are Feb. 21 and 22, respectively, and despite not making it to the team championships, two members of the Burrell boys squad will test their mettle in singles competition.
The Bucs finished third in section play at 5-5, behind section champion Armstrong (10-0) and Kiski Area (9-1).
Junior Colin Flanagan finished on the cusp of a 200 average, as his 629 series against Valley lifted him to 199.96 for the season.
“We have individual goals, but it's also still a team thing,” Flanagan said. “We're still practicing together and supporting each other. That's what we've done all season, and that will continue.”
Senior J.T. Jones (184.77 average in 30 games) also will bowl at the WPIBL singles tournament.
“We just have to continue doing what has worked for us this year and try to improve on the little things that can make a difference (at the championship events),” Jones said.
To qualify for the boys singles event, a bowler must average at least 170 in a minimum of 21 games bowled during the regular season. For the girls, the average is 140 or greater with 21 or more games.