MSD bowling teams earn top rankings in regular season

Ryan Shimony, Sports Editor/ Assistant Managing Editor

Senior Ryan Terpstra reaches down and grabs his bowling ball, getting ready to throw another strike for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s bowling team. Up by just a few points, he seeks a big score to increase the Eagles’ lead. With the sound of pins from other lanes falling in the background, he takes a deep breath as he prepares for his upcoming turn. Terpstra grips the ball and takes a great step forward towards the foul line, giving him more strength to throw. As he releases the ball down the lane, a powerful and accurate roll connects with all 10 pins for a strike. The Eagles celebrated their victory, a common occurrence for the skilled and proficient team.

Flying under the radar, the Eagles bowling teams are two of MSD Athletics most successful programs. The men’s bowling team is having their best season yet. They finished the regular season in first place in the Broward County division, ending with a 54-6 record. The women’s team finished in second place for the regular season with a 32-28 record.  

“Bowling doesn’t have a huge turnout like football games, but we do have friends and parents watch nearly all of our games,” junior Manahil Kashif said. “Bowling is fun to watch because it’s indoors, so fans don’t get hot or sticky. You may not believe it, but it gets suspenseful.” 

Bowling works differently than most other high school sports. Instead of competing against a singular team at a “home or away” location, the bowling team competes at a singular neutral site. MSD’s local division plays at Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac, competing against six other Broward County school teams.

With several skilled players, guided by Coach De’Erika Carter, the MSD bowling team is one of MSD’s best performing athletic programs. At just past the halfway point in the season, the Eagles secured a win percentage of 90%, beating nearly every opponent they faced.

Bowling at MSD is very challenging and requires hard work to be as successful as they are, especially due to the difficulty of their division. Nonetheless, the team has been able to show their hard work and skills on the alley against nearly all opposing teams. As of October 2022, MSD is placed first in their division, a consistent ranking for the team year after year. 

Bowling standings are set by a record; however, it is categorized against each individual team rather than the entire match itself. For example, if there are six other teams at a competition, and a team places second, they would receive a combined record of 5-1 for the event. 

Match outcomes are determined by adding the scores from each individual team member, with the total combined scores being compared between teams. Thus, bowling has aspects of both individual and team sports, causing players to have to master both sides.

Although bowling seems an easy sport to become proficient at, especially by those that see it as more of a recreational activity than a competitive sport, it is much more complex. Just like other sports with playbooks and methods, bowling requires a substantial amount of strategy. These strategies include the evaluation of curve, speed and angle of the ball, all of which have dramatic effects on the outcome of each and every roll.

“People do not know how much effort it takes to become consistent,” junior Collin Oliphant said. “It is not just a one and done thing. You have to practice consistently to perform well all the time.”

However, strategy and skill are not the only aspects of bowling that define its challenging nature. Due to the individual nature of the sport, a significant factor of performance is a player’s mindset.

“Having the ability to not get in your head is half the battle,” Terpstra said. “If you rush, you will mess up, [so] you have to remain calm, take your time and focus.”

As the end of the season the women’s team placed third in the BCAA tournament and sixth at districts. The men’s team placed 2nd in the BCAA tournament and placed 4th at districts. 

This story was originally published in the February 2022 Eagle Eye print edition.