CARY — It might not have made the splash that a basketball or football title does, but the Green Hope High School bowling team took home the state championship in February – for the second time in three years.
Four of the team’s seven members will compete at a national competition this summer.
Dan Moore, 27, works at Buffaloe Lanes on High House Road, where the team plays. Moore has been the team’s volunteer coach for two years. The Apex High School graduate, who now lives in Pittsboro, started bowling when he was 5.
Here, he talks about Green Hope’s state title and the sport at the high school level.
Q: Is bowling popular in local high schools?
Well, it’s not actually a recognized sport through the school system. It’s a club-level sport, so the teams have a teacher sponsor.
I do the coaching at Green Hope. The students try out at the bowling center, and as many as 10 can join the team. This year, we had 10 sign up, but of the regulars who showed up every week, there were seven.
I have freshmen through seniors on the team. In Wake County, we had teams from nine schools participate this year. There’s not a big interest everywhere, but Green Hope and Millbrook tend to have strong teams.
Q: How do the teams train?
We have team practices once a week, and some of them also have individual lessons with someone other than the coach. What we do at team practices is a lot of drills, like you do in other sports. We do spare shooting, target practice, hitting the same spot over and over again.
Q: How good are these teen bowlers compared to adults?
On the Green Hope team, our average is about a 160. Some of them average about 210, 220. It’s a particularly strong team this year. They all have talent.
Q: Are there mistakes that teen players make more than adults?
For the younger kids, there’s the mental part of it. In the competition, I can only start five kids, and it comes down to whoever is mentally the most ready.
We have about five minutes of practice before a competition, and I choose whoever seems to be more in the game. They are all good, but you’ve got to be able to hold your stance and make the shot under stress.
Q: What is the bowling season like?
For high school, it runs from September to February. We play every week with teams in Wake County, and the state finals are in mid-February.
Wake County had four representatives at state his year, and there were about 24 teams total. The other teams are mainly from the counties surrounding the Triangle.
Q: Do the state champions go to national competition?
No, this is as far as it goes because it’s not recognized as a varsity sport. We do have four kids who are going to a national tournament in July in Detroit called the Junior Gold Tournament. The top bowlers there are eligible to join the Junior Team USA.
The highest qualifier we’ve ever had from Wake finished 18th at that competition out of 1,400 bowlers.
Q: Is there a movement to make bowling a varsity sport in Wake?
There is. Myself and some of the other coaches have been talking to the school district to try to get it moved up. It will be a lot different process then. The schools will have to be more involved than they are right now. But it would give the kids more opportunities to compete.
Q: Did you bowl in high school?
I’ve been bowling for 22 years, but my high school didn’t have a program. I’ve been working here for about nine years and coaching for two.