Unified Bowling aims for another state tournament appearance in second season

Co-captains Jackson Martin and Treven Gill excited to lead the team


Fin Tholen

Junior Ian Rhea putting in the work during the second practice of the season.

By Jack Tell, Sports Editor

Unified bowling is deep into another season of fun and fierce competition. The team has grown in its second year, after an exciting first year in which the team placed 15th in the state tournament. 

“We went to state last year, and I want to build up from that,” senior Jackson Martin said. “I want to win state this year.”

Unified sports combine students with and without intellectual disabilities to help form relationships and create a unique team experience for all students. The program focuses on team bonding, building trust, and having fun.

Head Coach Larry Burton, owner of the Royal Crest Lanes bowling alley, said that the team is starting off on the right foot. 

“I’m excited about the energy,” Burton said. “These kids are ready to bowl, we have a lot of fun.” 

The team plans to lean on their experience from last year to try to make a repeat state appearance. Seniors Jackson Martin and Treven Gill are two standout players who are looking forward to leadership roles this year. 

“Jackson and Treven were two main players last year, so they return strong this year,” Burton said. “They will be co-captains this year.”

Gill was drawn to the sport immediately last year, and is ready to put in the work to have another rewarding season this fall. 

“When I found out Coach wanted me to bowl last year, I figured, why not try it out and see how it goes,” Gill said. “Now coming to practice each day is motivation, because I like to bowl. It’s my favorite.”

Martin has been improving his game in the offseason, working on consistency. He is motivated by the goal of doing well at state this year. 

“I’ve improved my game in the offseason, I felt like I’ve bowled a lot since the end of the season,” Martin said. “My arms and coordination have improved, and how often I get it down the middle.”

The team is ready to make a deep run in the postseason, hopefully all the way to state. According to Martin, state was a highlight of last season.

“State was the best part,” Martin said. “Seeing everyone going to state. We’re gonna try to get back there again.”