Penn Hills girls bowlers build off state tournament appearance

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Thursday, March 21, 2019 | 10:59 PM


It’s been five years since the Penn Hills girls bowling team qualified for the state team championships.

In a team effort, the Indians qualified for the event this season.

The Indians, who placed eighth in 2014, finished in 12th place with 2,982 total pins at the tournament March 16 in Ephrata.

Junior Audrey Grainy led the Indians with a 488 series (167-188-133). Senior Makayla Delo finished with a 445 series (134-155-156), while sophomore Ashley Hepler finished with a 436 series (115-160-161).

Sophomore Tayler Parco had a 412 series (109-147-156), and senior Autumn Blair and sophomore Irlynn Richardson split the duties as the fifth bowler. Blair bowled a 131 and 117 in the first two games, while Richardson finished with a 122 in the final game.

“As we have been doing all year, it was a team effort. Typically, we don’t have a high and low bowler. We’ve been doing things as a team all year,” coach Nancy Lindsay said.

“It was a very rewarding year. I think the girls and the parents are happy.”

The Indians qualified for the state team championship after finishing sixth in the Western Pennsylvania Regional championship at North Versailles Bowl on March 9.

Penn Hills finished with a total of 3,273 pins, which was just ahead of Butler (3,196) and Armstrong (3,129). The Indians finished 25 pins behind McKeesport for fifth.

Last season, the Indians finished seventh in the regional team event and didn’t get a chance to advance to states.

“I think after all the work everybody has put in to their game, and the time that Mark Diehm and I put in with the girls has really, really paid off. We spent a lot of time this fall and winter with the girls to get to refine their skills and to see it all come into place was very rewarding,” Lindsay said.

At the regional, Parco led the Indians with a 516 series (168-199-149). Hepler finished with a 501 series (154-200-147), while Grainy finished with a 487 series (140-177-170).

Delo finished with a 452 series (168-165-119), and Blair and junior Lucy Urbansky split time as the fifth bowler. Blair opened with a 141, while Urbansky closed with a 141 in the second game and a 124 in the third.

The Indians finished in seventh at the WPIBL team championships with a total of 2,187 pins at AMF Noble Manor in Crafton on Feb. 14.

During the regular season, the girls captured the 100th-match win for Lindsay and assistant coach Mark Diehm. The Indians captured the East section title after finishing with a 9-1 record.

With Parco, Grainy and Hepler returning next year, Lindsay is excited to see where the program can go.

“It’s a great foundation and a great core to build off for next year especially since each year the girls have taken their game to the next level,” Lindsay said.

“Last year, they were hovering around the 130 and 140 averages. Now, they are averaging 150 or 160 so imagine what’s going to happen next year. They’ve been making significant strides in their games that I project them to finish higher in the state tournament.”

Lindsay and Diehm are hopeful the trip to the state tournament will generate more interest for the program in the coming years.

“The whole program is just starting to grow and develop,” Lindsay said. “It’s just adding momentum with everything that we do. It’s not taking us leaps and bounds, but it’s the little steps to generate the momentum and enthusiasm for bowling.”

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