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Unified Bowling Wins State!

Zachary Placek, Staff Writer

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The whole school was watching their screens Monday afternoon during 8th period. For the second year in a row, Alliance High’s Unified Bowling team was competing at the state competition. Throughout their season, the Unified Bowling team went almost completely unrecognized, as the student body brushed off their incredible season as it was reported over the announcements.

As if a switch was flipped, Monday was all about Unified Bowling. Random announcements early in the afternoon created a buzz of activity throughout the school, as students heard about the success of the bowling team. Unheard was the fierce battle that waged between the Bulldogs and the Beamers. Alliance gained the lead early in the match up, winning the first game. Being the first part of their journey at state, the Bulldogs were not serious yet.

Adrian Fortner, a member of Alliance’s Unified Bowling team recalls the first moments of the day, stating that the team had not taken things seriously until West Point came back to win games two and three. Down 2-1, Alliance became serious as they began the stressful game four.

A strong start of the fourth game was lead by Manny Curran, as he bowled a strike to set the tone. Seeing the athlete happy was important to Fortner, as he said the way that he felt rubs off on the others. The momentum stuck for the Bulldogs as Jacob McCracken replied with another strike. Alliance won game four and the watching crowd sat in silence during a tense game five, an easy game for Alliance.  

The Bulldogs had beat West Point in the first round of state and were moving on to face the number one seeded Freemont, who last year, beat them in the first round. With only five to ten minutes between rounds, Alliance prepped for the upcoming game, and in no time, were on the floor for the second time that afternoon. Back on the western end of the state, Alliance High, although excited for the team, had not yet tuned in to watch.

Confidence was felt by Fortner and the rest of the team walking into the second round, but was quickly tested as Freemont won the first game. Using time as their advantage, Coach Mangus slowed down the team, which threw off Freemont, and allowed Alliance to move on to the finals.

Quiet halls suddenly erupted when Mr. Clear turned on the intercom to say: “Your Alliance Unified Bowling team has just beat the number one seed Freemont, and is now moving on to play in the finals.” An excited passing period preceded silent classes as almost every classroom watched intently as the Bulldogs took the floor for the final game that afternoon.

Allowing Lincoln some space, Alliance gave up game one. The team did not let Lincoln off without a fight, as they took game two. In Alliance High, the school was tense going into game three, as it was a close victory for the bulldogs. Emotions for the bowling team were opposite from that of AHS as they felt confident throughout their time in the finals.

The competition was fierce, as both teams showed great talent, but during the awards ceremony, it was Alliance’s Manny Curran who held the first place trophy proudly above his head.

Alliance High School roared, twitter blew up, and snapchat was packed with pictures of the team. The small town of Alliance had won the state championship. Amid the chaos on the western end of the state, our team in Lincoln had no clue anyone from Alliance had watched. That was until their phones were blowing up from notifications of congratulations.

The season was over and during a recap of the season, Adrian Fortner and other members of the Unified Bowling team stated that they had never expected to do that well at state, but knew they were going to get there. They overcame their competition through hard work at practice and pure dedication to the sport. Many of the partners could be seen practicing outside of normally scheduled practices to get more time on the floor.

“The season was about the Athletes,” says Forner, “it makes you feel good when you make them happy.”  Alliance has high hopes for next year as they will almost have the exact same team. The formerly shadowed team is finally in the spotlight at Alliance High School.

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