BUFFS ROUNDUP: Friday, March 6, 2020
Kaden Whitehurst became the second Garden City High School boys bowler to win a Class 6A state individual title Thursday at North Rock Lanes in Wichita to lead the Buffs to a third-place team finish. Karly Larson, meanwhile, took third individually in the girls division to help the Lady Buffs also to a third-place team finish.
It was and will be a day to remember for Kaden Whitehurst and the Garden City High School boys bowling team.
Whitehurst, a sophomore, bowled a perfect 300 score in the second of his Tenpin 3-game series competition en route to a total of 759 to win the individual Class 6A title by eight pins over Spenceer Giffin of Olathe Northwest. Whitehurst also had games of 235 and 224 to round out his career best series.
The Buffs team, meanwhile, placed third behind Olathe East and Derby, which included coming up on the short end of a tiebreaker for second place as both Derby and the Buffs finished the 3-game Tenpin series and the 4-game Baker series with 3,444 pins. Rules call for the fifth series total in the 3-game Tenpen Series as the first tiebreaker and that put Derby at 600 to Garden City’s 557. Olathe East’s winning total was 3,618 pins.
Whitehurst joins former Buff Tristan Funk, who captured the individual title in 2016 when the Buffs also captured the team championship. His teammate, Caleb Carr, placed 14th to also earn a top 20 medal with a 642 series on games of 223-215-194.
Ty Weilert was 28th with a 618 series (248-226-144), Dionicio Resendiz was 44th at 576 (179-207-190), Jayce Farr 53rd at 557 (224-145-188) and Justin Erwin 57th at 551 (213-170-168).
Rounding out the top 5 teams were fourth-place Junction City (3,437) and Campus in fifth (3,425).
For Whitehurst, it will be a day etched into his permanent memory bank.
“It’s my first 300 in high school (competition),” Whitehurst said afterward. “I honestly don’t remember much about any of the specific strikes. I was just bowling for the team and I happy because we worked hard for this. It was really nervewracking.”
Whitehurst said there was a strike in the 10th and final frame that he was unsure that all 10 pins would fall.
“My first shot I thought it (pin off side board) wasn’t coming back, but it hit the 10-pin out and then I just relaxed and threw my last ball,” Whitehurst said. “I’m pretty sure I jumped higher than I ever have after that last strike.”
Whitehurst said the lanes had a difficult shot that varied throughout the competition.
“The shot was really dry when we started and that can be hard,” he said. “I had to move more to the left and then the lanes transitioned to oil and I had to move again to the right.”
The Buffs’ third-place finish earned them a trophy to bring home after placing fourth in 2019. The good news is that all six varsity bowlers will return for the 2021 season.
“We’ve got five sophomores and junior coming back, so we want to bring back the team championship next year,” Whitehurst said.
The Lady Buffs, with three seniors on the roster, placed third and while they brought home a trophy for the fourth consecutive year (1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd), they were only two pins away from tying for second and 72 pins away from first-place Campus over a 7-game tournament format.
Larson, one of those three seniors along with Angelina Leeper and EmileeGiger, finished third with a 681 series on games of 193-240-248, to finish behind the red-hot Savannah Adams of Junction City (772) nd Campus’ Piper Reames (723). It was Larson’s fourth straight top 20 finish and she leaves GCHS as the most decorated bowler and one of the most decorated athletes in school history. She placed 17th, 7th, 6th and 3rd in her four-year individual appearances at the state while helping the Lady Buffs bring home that 2017 state title her freshman season and following it with two runner-ups and this year’s third place.
Campus won the team title with 3,313 pins and Junction City was two pins in front of the Lady Buffs (3,243 to 3,241) with Olathe North well back in fourth at 3,041.
Two other Lady Buffs also medaled with top 20 finishes – Leeper in 15th with a 590 series (219-209-162) and sophomore Holly Bridges in 17th with a 584 series (226-175-183). Freshman Lily Leeper was next at 518 (159-169-190), Giger at 466 (183-134-149) and junior Britney Cruz at 430 (138-156-136).
Larson, who placed 17th her freshman season when the Buffs won the team title, said it was a rewarding day to bring home a team trophy as well as getting a top five finish individually.
“I had been top 10 the last two years, but wanted a top five or better finish this year,” Larson said. “I was able to improve to third so it’s a pretty neat way to end my high school bowling career.”