Individual Title

The Apopka High School bowling teams competed at the FHSAA State Bowling Tournament held at Boardwalk Bowl on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 15-16. The format of the tournament on Tuesday was three games in the morning and three in the afternoon. Teams moved to a different pair of lanes to compete against a different team after each game. After the first day, the number of teams was cut to the top eight, who returned the following morning. After bowling an additional three, only the top four teams competed for first and second place trophies.


On Tuesday morning, the boys started out really strong bowling a 979, 975, and 984 game, which put them in fourth place. At that point, Kyle Paxson was number 8 in the individual high series. In the afternoon, the boys seemed to lose their spark and their standing, ending up in 8th place for the day. The total pin count was good enough for a return to competition the next day.

Wednesday morning found the boys with a renewed enthusiasm and higher scores. They began the day with a 1050, with scores ranging from 193 to 238. The second game of the morning had the Darters bowling with individuals, and they seemed to lose some of their punch as they did not have that strong competition that they faced when bowling against a structured team. In the final game they again raised their scores and bowled a 1013 series to put them in 7th place.

Through the third round, Kyle Paxson led the group with a 2149 series and high game of 268. Cory Mullica rolled a nice 1747 series, including a high game of 234. Mitchel Schilling rolled a 1676 series and a high game of 222. Andrew Calvache contributed 1590 pins, including a high game of 221. All members of the team had a chance to compete.


The boys bowled nice scores on the first day, averaging over 900, but it was not good enough to keep up with the strong competition they faced for total pin count of all teams present. With the structure of the tournament, it is really difficult to move up much after the first day. Scores are cumulative; so if the top four teams have a decided advantage in the scoring, it is really hard to move up as each team is picking up their game to make it to the top. That made it really difficult to move up on three teams to advance to the final round.

These boys have worked really hard to get as far as they did. I had hoped that they would do better, but I was not too disappointed in the results. Their emotions fed off of each other, so if one person started to get down, the scores seemed to go downhill. If they were fired up, they bowled really high scores. Seventh place in the State is something they can be proud of.


During the Wednesday morning session, Kyle Paxson bowled three nice games to put him in second place in the individuals which gave him the opportunity to compete for the individuals title, which included both team members from the top four teams as well as individuals not on those teams. During the afternoon, Kyle averaged 221 to secure his First Place finish. After 12 games, he had scored 2811, an average of 234.


I was happy that Kyle succeeded in reaching his goal. He placed second two years ago and has been pursuing this title since then. He had periods of doubt that he would succeed this year, but hung in there until the end and had to wait to see what his closest competitor had bowled in the last game. It was a very close race, with only a few pins separating the top bowlers.


The girls bowled six games on Tuesday. As they did not finish in the top eight teams, their season came to an end with the tournament play. All members of the team had a chance to bowl at least one game. They had the opportunity to bowl Deland, who won the title both last year and this year. They did a good job of keeping up with them until the final frames when Deland started making consecutive strikes to pull away.

Catrina Cruger had the high series; Marie Kaleel had the high game with a nice 212.


This tournament gave the girls a chance to see some really good bowlers and to experience firsthand some really tough competition. It is an experience that both the seniors and the girls who will be on the team again next year will always remember.