Andover Central bowling eyes a trip to state

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Jared Cromly (left), Paighton Crumley (middle) and Tim Blount (right) are all trying to get the Andover Central bowling team into the Class 5A-1 State Tournament next month. [Charles Chaney/Butler County Times]

NEWTON, KANSAS—There aren’t many sports that are so teammate reliant than bowling. Even in basketball and football, especially at the high school level, a superstar player can lead almost anyone to success. In bowling, you need all six.

For Andover Central boy’s bowling, they saw their fruits of trying to figure out how the bottom half of their lineup is as they lost to Valley Center by 12 pins on Monday afternoon at Newton’s Eastgate Lanes.

“That’s what happens when we struggle to find that three and fourth guy,” Andover Central head coach Jeff Geist said. “We see a guy who throws a 286 in the first game and we have to scrap from behind.”

The girls team showed their composure with the big win over Valley Center, led by Landyn Patterson who bowled a 587 series.

The Jaguars are set at the top with Jared Cromly, the soccer star who helped the Jaguars get to the State semifinals this past fall. He brings his competitiveness with him you don’t normally see in players who may only bowl.

“Those who play other sports, like Jared does, know how to be really competitive when it matters,” Geist said. “Sometimes we focus on the fun part and not the focusing on the task at hand part.”

Cromly heading into Monday’s dual against Valley Center was the sixth best average in the state. 

“Playing against Jared really brings out my competitive side,” junior Tim Blount said. “He has me reaching for my best every time.”

Cromly was the only state qualifier from last year’s team and is eyeing in on a return to the Class 5A-1 State Tournament. He finished 87th after a tough third game, but the expectations as he moves up the average lists, moves higher, too. 

“Just my competitiveness [in what he brings from soccer],” Cromly said. “The expectations are high with Central soccer and I want to do that here, too.”

Cromly might be the well-known name but Blount can hold his own. He ranks 13th in the state heading into Monday’s match and Cromly has great things to say about the junior.

“He’s really bowls well,” Cromly said. “It’s great to have someone pushing me in practice the way he does.”

Blount, who missed out on state last season, went as a freshman and has that taste to return. At this pace, Blount will find himself bowling at Northrock Lanes in March.

“I really want to get back,” Blount said. “I’ll be fighting hard to do so.”

There are four bowlers fighting to help secure the bottom of the rotation for the Jaguars, Jacob Laflin, Baxter Berry, Kyle Cables, and Alexander Lewis.

“If we can figure out the bottom half, we can be really good team,” Geist said. 

For the Jaguar girls team, the top has been decided with Paighton Crumly. The freshman is aware of the standard which has been set for Andover Central. Last year, senior Jaydn Barr won the Class 5A-1 individual title. 

“I’d love to be as successful as she [Barr],” Crumley said. “I also want to make a name for myself.”

She’s done a good job of that so far. She’s ranked seventh in the state, and third in Class 5A-1 heading into Monday’s dual. She bowled a 492 in the win over Valley Center. 

“She has some good teachers at home,” Geist said. “If she can find herself more consistent, she has a chance to be special.”

Crumley’s parents bowled collegiately and her father is Justin Crumley, an assistant coach and Division II Newman. 

“He knows how to push me without pushing me,” Crumley said. “He knows how to get the best out of me.”

That’s what Crumley and the Jaguars will need if they are planning to get back to the State Tournament in a month. 

“We have to do a better job of creating competition,” Geist said. “Sometimes we are at practice and it’s all fun and games but we forget we have to train and sometimes we forget we have to train away from practice.”

The teams currently practice at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, with the facility providing a special rate for high school bowlers. Getting them to take advantage of the special rate or even purchase their own shoes and bowling equipment can be tough.”

“I tell them if they want to really take this seriously, they need to consider getting their own ball and shoes,” Geist said. 

Despite the split decision on Monday, you can tell there is a team chemistry within the Jaguars that you may not see within other sports. They carpool together to duals and they genuinely seem to get along as in other sports it’s different players hanging with other players. 

“There a really good group of kids who really enjoy hanging out with one another,” Geist said. 

For now, the Jaguars will head back to practice and continuing to prep for a chance at a state run. One, that will be in a pod of a regional at Northrock with Andover, Augusta and Mulvane on Wednesday Feb. 24.

“It would mean a lot if we could get there as a team,” Blount said. “We are working hard to get there.”

Cromley, who went to state solo last year agreed.

“It’s hard to form bonds when you’re there alone,” Cromley said. “If we had our team there, I’m sure we would do great.”

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.