Oriole bowling flexing at the right time

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
The Augusta Orioles Bowling team at their first meet of the season against El Dorado.

WICHITA—If you go watch Augusta bowling, get ready for a lot of Seven Nation Army.

The girl's team chants it after a strike and they high-five, cheer and really keep the chemistry flowing.

It’s not a bad thing, either. It means the strikes are flowing down the lanes as the team chants and cheers, louder than any other team in the venue. 

“We do a great job of hyping each other up and supporting one another,” junior Kassidy Miller said. 

Led by their “Yell leader,” Kinley Bonham, the Orioles will cheer for one another and it shows to be a deciding advantage for them when they move into the Baker set of the duals and tournaments. 

“She does a great job of leading the cheers for us,” Miller said. 

The cheers are needed as the Orioles add Baker to their home meets. After bowling three individual games, the Orioles then bowl as a team for four matches, everyone bowling at least one frame. You can both five or the entire varsity lineup.

“We do Baker at home meets because that’s what we do in the postseason,” Augusta Head Coach Kellee Roberts said. “We do it for junior varsity as well so they can get used to the format.”

The Orioles are preparing for bigger and better things as they march their way towards the state tournament. 

“I went by myself as a freshman,” Miller said. “It’s definitely not fun going by yourself. Your team is there for support and to help out. It makes a difference.”

Last year, the Orioles finished seventh as a team with two players finishing in the top 13. 

“We definitely want to improve upon that,” Miller said. “We always want to do better.”

The Orioles don’t really bowl a lot of games in practice. It’s more situational practice, getting them prepared for situations that may arise when it comes time for postseason.

Miller is doing her part this season. Heading into Thursday’s dual with Circle, she ranked 10th in the state with a 198 average. Currently, she carries the highest average for any 4A bowler. She’s fifth in the Class 5A-1, which will have her state tournament classified as.

“There’s a reason why we have Kassidy as our anchor,” Roberts said. “She can throw a lot of strikes and is really good at pickup her spares.”

While Miller didn’t bowl her average on Thursday, it’s about getting better. She finished with a 574 series in the win over Circle. Her 236 game in the first game was the best of the night, on either boys or girls. 

“I thought I did fine today,” Miller said. “I’m happy we were able to come out with the win.”

What's really pushed Miller into being a top 10 bowler in the state? Her teammates.

"Our chemistry is really good," Roberts said. "They like each other and they like playing with each other."

"My teammates push me to be my best," Miller said. 

Augusta is really showed their strength, picking up the 2046-1811 win over Circle without a couple of varsity players due to quarantine. It really showed the strength of the Orioles, from top to bottom, stepping up in place of others. 

Emily Webster had a 502 series and Kylie Deer had a 490 series.

“We probably have eight players who could play varsity,” Roberts said. “They would play varsity on a lot of different schools.”

For now, Augusta will get prepared for their showdown with Buhler, one of the top teams in the state. The Crusaders won their first tournament by 400 pins and have won their duals by an average of 660 pins. 

“Buhler will be tough,” Roberts said. “I’m confident in our teams.”

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.