Sparkman High Qualifies Boys And Girls Bowling Teams For State Tournament
TUSCALOOSA- The Sparkman High bowling teams continue to roll through the competition in the 2023 season with both the boys and girls squads advancing to the AHSAA Bowling State Tournament set to be held in Gadsden. The Sparkman boys captured the North Regional Tournament while the Lady Senators finished runner-up in the event held at the Shindig Bowling Center in Tuscaloosa.
“The boys gave a complete team effort as each of them depend on the others to give information regarding how the lanes are rolling,” said Lisa Ivey, head coach of the Sparkman bowling program. “The girls didn’t bowl their best, but were still in the hunt for the Regional Championship midway through the finals against American Christian.”
The two-time defending State Champion Sparkman girls went undefeated in the two opening rounds as the squad posted 4-nothing victories over both Gadsden City and Hartselle to advance to the finals against American Christian of Tuscaloosa, which are defending state champions in Class 1-5A before moving up to Class 6-7A this season. In the finals, the match was all-square before American Christian won the final two games to earn the Regional title 4-2.
For the boys, Sparkman earned its way to the finals winning both advancing rounds in tough fashion. The Senators defeated Gadsden City 4-1 and Hartselle 4-2 to move to the finals against American Christian, defending Class 1-5A state champs. In the title match, the Senators seemed to roll their best winning 4-0. “It was an emotional rollercoaster for our boys in the opening rounds, but they certainly settled down in the finals against ACA,” added Ivey. “Taking the third game, I knew we had the title within our grasp. I’m so proud of the boys as we head into the State Tournament. They were 20-0 in Area play during the regular season and did well at the Regional.”
On the first-day individual action, Sparkman won both the boys and girls divisions as senior Dalton Tolgo rolled a consistent 683 series to pick up the boys title and junior Jenna Webber, defending state champion, posted a series score of 596 to earn the championship.
Tolgo rolled games of 238, 224 and 221 for a 227 average. “I did pretty well as I put it all together, though I feel I could have rolled better,” said the 5-foot-8 Tolgo, who has been on the Sparkman squad since the eighth grade. “It’s been a while to win the Regional and as I move onto the State Tournament I feel very confident we can do well there, too.”
Ivey said of her No. 1 boys bowler, “He struggled last year on the lanes, but he came back strong and he put himself out there. He puts the weight of the team on his shoulders and does very well as a team leader.”
For Webber, the left-handed slinger posted games of 244, 187 and 165 for her 198 average. Her terrific first game was followed by two much less performances, but she hung on for a 34-pin victory over the runner-up bowler.
“I feel like I fell off after that first game, but I compensated by picking up my spares in the remaining two games,” said Webber, as she indicated the first lane was working for her, but the other two were a struggle. “I kept concentrated in making the necessary adjustments. I’m a little nervous going into the State Tournament, but if we buckle down, we have the ability to win.”
“She’s smooth on the lanes keeping an even-keeled demeanor throughout the matches,” said Ivey. “She’s level headed and knew the surface of the lanes was changing during her match and she did well.”
In her third season on the team, along with her older sister, Angela, a senior member of the Lady Senators, Webber said, “Being defending State Champ puts some pressure on me, not as an individual, but for the team to keep state titles coming our way as we’ve won state titles each year I’ve been on the team. I want to do well so our team can win. My role on the lanes is for the team.”
The final results on the individual competition for Sparkman included: Boys- 1. Dalton Tolgo (683), 13. Rory Donnelly (584), 19. Ayden McArthur (529) and 20. Alfonso Carrington III (510). Girls- 1. Jenna Webber (596), 3. Natalie Alsup (516), 5. Taylor Enfinger (499) and 6. Angela Webber (481).