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Potts, Pinkelman help team finish its first season on a high note

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LINCOLN - After its first season competas a sanctioned school sport, the Hartington-Newcastle High School bowling team has to be deemed a success.

Junior Colin Potts and sophomore Rebekah Pinkelman made their way to Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln Feb. 8 to compete in the singles state championship.

Both fared well and returned home with plenty to look back on.

Potts rolled a 191, 167, 176 and 182 for a four-game total 717 and good enough to finish 10th out of 47 bowlers. The top eight advanced to the bracket and medal round.

“Colin did a wonderful job of giving himself a chance to make the bracket and medal,” Hartington-Newcastle head coach Nate Holan said. “He just came up six pins short of making it. He did a great job of picking up his spares and keeping himself in it. After the last game, we thought he was in, so it was pretty heartbreaking when they announced the top and we found out he missed it.”

Potts took the result in stride and felt good by the overall finish.

“I feel that I have a chance next year to do very well,” Potts said. “They were pretty good rounds - I wish they could have been better - but I was pretty happy with what I did. I was picking up my spares. I didn’t get any strikes, but I picked up my spares which boosted my scores quite a bit. The oil on the lanes doesn’t affect me that much. I have become versatile with different oil patterns and I adjusted quickly to it.

“I wish we could have had more people go to state, but it was successful because we had some of us experience it. Now that it is a sanctioned sport it is getting noticed more and more people are asking about it.”

Pinkelman finished with 132, 135, 139 and 171 for a 577 and 21st-place total out of 43 competitors.

“She did a great job on her first throws and giving herself a lot of easier spares to pick up,” Holan said. “Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to pick up many of those spares. I thought she threw the ball very well. I’m proud of how she bowled and how she handled herself in her first state tournament.”

Pinkelman enjoyed her first experience at state and to use it as a guide on what to expect going forward in her career as she expects to continue to improve her game.

“I did really think about the people watching me because I didn’t really care, I just wanted to focus on getting the spares and a good first ball,” Pinkelman said. “I can build off of it, but I also know I could have done better. There was a lot of oil on the lanes which makes it harder to pick up stuff - the ball won’t break as much.

“It was nice to have a team that could actually be recognized by the school and we could be celebrated for what we are doing. We had a pretty good first year. Our main goal was to be a competitor with Wayne, and I think we did that.”

Both bowlers will return next year, and the hope is their presence mixed with an increased roster number can bode well for year two of bowling at the school.

“These two mean a lot to this program,” Holan said. “Not only do they work hard in practice, but they put a lot of time in on their own. I think that’s something their teammates and the younger kids coming up can look at and see what it takes to become a top bowler in the state.”

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