Chugiak bowler Kody Patacky rolls his ball down the lane during warm-ups for the Anchorage Scholastic Bowling League's final matches of the season on Jan. 20 at Eagle River Bowl.
Star photo by Matt Tunseth
Strikes and spares gave way to smiles and tears on Jan. 20 at Eagle River Bowl, where the Anchorage Scholastic Bowling League ended its season with one last round of matches to determine the final season standings.
When the pins settled, the Dimond boys and Bartlett girls were league champs, while all four local squads claimed victory in their final matches.
"I'm very proud of the way they bowled today," said Eagle River assistant coach Roy Rainer. "They came in here with a lot on the line."
Rainer's second-place girls' team had the standout performance of the day, taking a 20-10 win over the No. 1 Golden Bears in their head-to-head match.
The final "placing round" matches pitted each boys' and girls' squad against the next-closest team in the standings to determine the final order. Eagle River's girls team entered the round 24 points behind Bartlett, meaning they needed a 28-2 win to claim the league title.
"We bowled against a very good team and just came up a little bit short," Rainer said.
Rainer's daughter, Destinie, was the star for the Wolves, knocking down a team-high 197 during the Wolves' 10-0 sweep during regular match play. The Wolves junior also came through when it mattered, striking in her final frame to lift the Wolves to a tense 859-854 victory.
"This is probably the best way I've ended a season," said Rainer, a three-year bowler who fought back tears following the season finale.
Rainer was quick to credit her teammates for the Wolves' strong finish.
"Everyone knows that when it comes down to it you have to work together," she said.
Carly Meacham and Kayla Hobson also had strong games for the Wolves. Meacham rolled a season-high 184, while Hobson also had a season-best score of 173.
Destinie Rainer said this year's team didn't really have lofty goals entering the season.
"Our goal this year was just to work our way up and bowl better," she said.
But after a season that saw them come within just a few points of a league title, Rainer said it might be time to start thinking about a championship.
"I think that's our goal next year," she said.
The Eagle River girls didn't have the lanes all to themselves in the final round. In fact, all four local teams picked up victories in their last matches of the season.
Chugiak's girls team picked up a 20-10 win over Dimond to grab third place behind the Wolves, while the Eagle River boys also took third with an 18-12 win over Service. Chugiak's boys team, which finished last in the league a season ago, took a 19-11 win over South to earn fifth place.
Chugiak coach Julie Goode, who took over the team just days before the season and guided the Mustangs into contention, said she's already excited about coming back.
"They asked me if I'd come back and coach them again next year, so that's pretty cool," Goode said.
Goode didn't take all the credit for Chugiak's big turnaround. She said she enlisted help from anyone in the local bowling community she could find to help the Mustangs.
"I had a lot of help from the bowlers who bowl here in the leagues," she said. "A lot of people volunteered their time."
Both local schools practiced at Eagle River Bowl, and Goode said the players from each team often had friendly rivalries that helped develop both skill and camaraderie.
"Sometimes they won, sometimes we won," she said. "It was just a lot of fun."
Anchorage Scholastic Bowling League
Girls W L
Bartlett 174 66
Eagle River 160 80
Chugiak 149.5 90.5
Dimond 136.5 103.5
West 136 104
South 79 161
Service 77 163
East 48 192
Boys W L
Dimond 202 38
East 151 89
Eagle River 137 103
Service 125 115
Chugiak 108 132
Bartlett 84.5 157.5
South 82.5 157.5
West 70 170
This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, January 26, 2011.