By Mike Hammersley
Junior bowler Whitney Schmidt and her teammates had no idea what they were about to accomplish Thursday night against Elk Grove at Beverly Lanes. All they were hoping for was to break 1000, a score they had not met as a team all year.
“We overshot that,” Schmidt said. “And overshot a record.”
The Knights shattered the mark of 1000 by bowling a school record 1,155. According to Schmidt, the game came almost completely out of the blue, as the team had lost the first game to Elk Grove and only beaten them by 20 pins in the second.
“We weren’t really expecting to shatter anything,” Schmidt said. “We were expecting to bowl well, but not as phenomenally as we did.”
Head coach Greg Troyer was equally stunned.
“It was one of those magical times where everybody was clicking, the team was working, the conditions were right, everybody was throwing the ball well … completely unexpected,” Troyer said.
Not even Troyer knew what they could accomplish until around the ninth frame, when he noticed that the girls had started to let up a bit because they knew they had sealed the win.
“I got them together and I told the girls, ‘I want you to give me one really good frame – I want you to concentrate and go completely out on this frame. I’m not going to tell you why, but I want you to give me your best,” Troyer said.
The previous record was set in 2003, back when the Knights had what Troyer described as a “super powerful team” featuring three top-15 finishers at state, including eventual champion Kim Unger, and breaking such a record was “just phenomenal.”
What made the game even more surprising was that none of the Knights had a game that was unbelievable, according to Schmidt, although each girl had a score of at least 200, including Schmidt’s high game of 256.
“I don’t think we were really doing anything that different besides hitting our mark and being consistent,” Schmidt said. “It was the first time we were all consistent together.”
The team’s has been a bit of an issue, according to Troyer, and this game proved what they could do when it was solved.
“I talked to them afterwards and said, ‘I want you guys to remember how it feels right now, how you were throwing and how focused you were,'” Troyer said. “‘That’s our potential, and I know you’ve had it in you, but now you guys know what your potential is.'”
The win couldn’t have come at a better time, either. Trailing Elk Grove by eight points for second place in the MSL, taking two out of three certainly helped Prospect’s cause.
The Knights’ dominance was also a confidence booster not only in the standings but also heading into the conference tournament and sectionals, according to Schmidt. Currently, the Knights are third in the MSL, but they now boast the best team score and series out of any team there, making them a dangerous team as the playoffs approach.
“Now we’re one of the teams you’ve gotta watch out for rather than being this inconsistent team that’s kind of easily shooed away,” Troyer said. “We’ve got a lot of potential inside ourselves.”