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'Consistent' Airedale bowlers set for conference meet

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 

 

Carol Medlock grew up in the bowling alley. Not literally, of course. 

 

But it seemed that way. 

 

"My parents bowled; I grew up going to the bowling alley and watching them in leagues," she said. "It's our family's New Year's Eve tradition to go bowling. Now, competitive bowling is new to me, but I love to bowl."

 

Last summer, when Alma principal Brian Kirkendoll sent out feelers to see if anyone was interested in coaching the team, Medlock, a ninth grade English teacher by trade, jumped at the opportunity.

 

To her surprise, Alma didn't have one or two good bowlers but a team full of them. 

 

"I was surprised, No. 1, at how skilled they were, and No. 2, how dedicated they were," Medlock said. "Three or four of them are doing tournaments on the weekends; they're practicing on their own time in addition to practicing with the team."

 

The Airedales will compete at the conference meet next week in Conway.

 

Alma's top three bowlers include Dayton Hopp, Zeke Nichols, and Trentin Sanderson. 

 

"Zeke is super consistent," Medlock said."He's going to bowl lights out every time."

 

"I've been getting better since I started last year," Nichols said. "I've been working hard, and I've seen my teammates working hard as well. They're doing a lot better than last year."

Zeke Nichols

 

Nichols had a two-game best total of 361 (181/180) in a match with Greenwood last week.

 

Sanderson, also peaking at the Greenwood match on 1/21/21, bowled a season personal best of 327 (169/158). Sanderson is looking to reach the state meet for the second straight year, Medlock said.

 

Hopp bowled his best effort last week (388)  during a tri-match against Russellville and Clarksville at Strikers Bowling Alley in Russellville.

 

"I feel like they're all peeking at the same time," Medlock said. "We had a match with Greenwood the other day, and every single one of those guys was on."

 

"We're doing great," Nichols said. "When we get to our second game, that's most likely our highest (score) game we'll play. When we get to our Baker games, our second games, we do the best we can do."

 

Medlock's crew will play two games to open the set and the Baker games are two games you play as a team. 

 

Other team members include senior Trenton Broyles, junior Kade Goodnight, and Alyssah Seratt and Ariel Towns-Robinson. 

 

Just a freshman, Seratt will compete at the conference meet.  "She's a beginner but has been a very faithful participant and willing to step up when we've needed her to round out the boys' team," Medlock said.

 

Robinson will compete next week as an individual at the conference tournament, Medlock said.

 

Because of low numbers, or not enough girl bowls, Alma will compete as a Co-Ed team. 

 

"If I put a girl with them, they have a chance as a team to make state," Medlock said. "But even if the team doesn't move on, then they take the Top 6 over and above those five."

 

Medlock said she's especially proud of her parents. 

 

"They encourage their kids, but they also encourage the other kids," Medlock said."They (parents) are really involved. It's really neat; we'll have a little gallery of parents cheering us on."

 

"I love Alma," Nichols said. "This is the place I practically grew up my whole life. It's an awesome place."