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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Bach Wins Individual Girls Bowling State Crown

Bach Shot Averaged Between 221, 222 in Seven Rounds

PHOTO: KHSAA Staff. Highlands senior Abby Bach won the first girls bowling individual state championship in school history Tuesday.

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Abby Bach left Executive Strike and Spare in Louisville knowing she etched her way into Highlands Bluebirds athletics history.

The senior bowled her way to the first individual state championship in school history defeating Cooper's Ranelle Ulanday in the title game, 239-163 out of 300 possible points. Bach won the Region 5 championship last week to qualify for state.

"I really just focused on staying in the moment and not getting ahead of myself,"
Bach said. "I focused on executing each shot the best I could and making my spares. I congratulated other bowlers, which I think also kept my mind up and the nerves away. Ultimately, I just told myself that no matter the outcome, I was proud of myself and of course, the amazing support I had with me. Some of my family and teammates were there rooting me on."

Bach averaged between 221 and 222 in the seven rounds. She bowled her best round of 265 in the second stepladder round to qualify for the title game beating the 180 score of Campbell County's Kaylee Hitt.

"She bowled absolutely lights out," said Andy Eckerle, Highlands Head Coach. "The majority of the balls she threw were strikes. She was as cool as a cucumber the entire time. It's like you knew the ball was a strike the moment it left her hand. There was no doubt."

Bach started her first game struggling though seven rounds before bowling several strikes to a 180. She then bowled 243 then 169 for a total of 592 to make it to the semifinal round of eight out of 32 bowlers.

"If she wasn't able to do that, she might not have made the top eight," Eckerle said. "That carried her through the rest of the day." 

Bach then bowled a 252 then 203 to bring her total to 1,047 qualifying for the stepladder round as the second seed. That gave her a bye in the first stepladder game.

"She didn't have to battle back a lot. She didn't have to overcome a lot of things because she was consistently on her game," Eckerle said. "She didn't leave herself any real tough scenarios. That was what was so cool to watch. She made it look so easy."

Bach also qualified for the state tournament individually as a sophomore and freshman. She placed eighth in the state in 2019.

The Highlands girls qualified for state as a team finishing Region 5 runner-up. The Bluebirds bowled a 782 in the seeding rounds earing the 13th seed out of 16 teams drawing fourth-seeded Harrison County. Highlands won the first two matches by 190-176 and 175-161 scores. But Harrison County rallied to take the next three for a 3-2 win by scores of 196-135, 190-130 and 164-109.

"That was a heartbreaker because we have great leadership and a lot of seniors," Eckerle said. "We did not bowl well to get our seed. We thought we were going to be in the middle of the pack. We just couldn't close the door."

The Highlands girls graduate six of eight listed on the state tournament roster this spring. They are Bach, Tessa Killen, Amanda Parrott, Greta Noble, Kenzie Nehus and Ellie Rowland. The two juniors are Madison Clore and Kristen Egan.

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Highlands also has one individual bowling state champion on the boys side. Andy Campbell won it in 2018.

Cooper wound up winning the state tournament. Cooper beat Campbell County in the semifinals.

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