Knocking down expectations

Unified bowling qualifies for state in first season of competition


Sama Abughalia

With power, junior Treven Gill bowls during a team practice on Nov. 4 at Royal Crest Lanes.

By Dom LaPoint, Reporter

Although it was only their first year as a sport sanctioned by the Kansas State High School Activities Association, Lawrence High’s Unified Bowling team has already found success. 

As a newly-added sport, people were unsure of how the sport would look and if enough athletes would join, but that proved not to be an issue.  

A team consisting of seniors Anthony Watts and Ci Ci Huang, juniors Jackson Martin and Trevon Gill, and sophomore Ian Rhea had a standout year for LHS.

The team entered regionals after a difficult regular season. But athletes scored higher than expected and placed fourth — enough qualify for the state tournament. 

When the day of the state tournament arrived, LHS students, staff, cheer and pom members, and the marching band lined the atrium to send off the athletes.

“We are all super excited to go out and do this,” said Martin, who waved to the cheering crowd.

The team went on to finish 15th at state.

Martin’s interest in bowling began with experiences competing with his family.

“I go bowling with my family a lot, but this is the first time I’ve done bowling like this so it was really fun,” Martin said. 

Gill is already thinking ahead to 2022.

“It was lots of fun,” Gill said. “I can’t wait for next year.”

Rolling down the lane, senior Ci Ci Huang participates in the last Unified Bowling team practice before state. “I loved the Unified Bowling season,” Huang said. “It made me feel really encouraged and welcomed in the school.” The team took 15th at state. (Sama Abughalia)

Although Unified Bowling is the first KSHSAA-sanctioned Unified Sport, there are other Unified Sports present at LHS that have been important to both the athletes and the partners who participate in them. 

“I think bringing Unified Sports into our high school has provided an opportunity for more students to interact on more of a social and physical level,” said IPS teacher Susie Micka, who coaches the other teams.

The addition of Unified Bowling as a KHSAA-sanctioned sport opens the door for other Unified Sports programs to be sponsored by KHSAA, allowing them more funding and support. 

Unified Bowling coach Gary Graves is supportive of the direction.

“There’s support from the state now and support from all the athletic departments,” he said.