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Bowling: Boone Grove bowlers feeding off each other in run to state

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Updated: March 15, 2013 1:37PM



Even a casual observer of the Boone Grove girls bowling program can’t help but recognize the many accomplishments of four-year starter Paige Kraushaar and her impact on the team.

But perhaps more improtant to the Wolves, who will be gunning for a state title on Saturday at Mike Aulby’s Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette, has been the supporting cast — Angelique McKeny, Mattie Smith, Haley Steinhilber and Kayla Yadron.

Whether it was Yadron’s team-best 402 series at sectional or Steinhilber’s 380 series at regional and 392 at semistate, at least one Boone bowler not named Paige has stepped up at vital moments to deliver big shots this postseason.

“When one of us gets down, all four of us step up and we don’t let the other person stay down,” senior Mattie Smith said. “And there are only six of us on this team, and every other team has almost 12 bowlers — so we really had to learn how to mesh as a team.”

Yadron said the team’s ability to pick each other up has produced a unity that has translated to big success on the lanes — as evidenced by a 2,669 and first-place finish at the Michigan City Regional, followed up with a 2,686 at the South Bend Semistate and a close loss to Portage in the final.

“We have so much more confidence compared to when we were sophomores,” she said. “And because of the confidence that we have in each other, we knew we would keep going and winning.”

Even when someone on the team struggles, like when Steinhilber left a 4-9 split at a critical moment in the regional final, success still has followed the Wolves throughout the season. She picked up the improbable spare.

“Haley won us regionals,” Smith said. “If she doesn’t make that shot, Paige striking out in the 10th frame wouldn’t have been enough. That was the most memorable moment in the postseason so far.”

Steinhilber said she wasn’t a picture of confidence while converting the critical spare.

“I really didn’t think I was going to pick it up,” she admitted. “But I don’t let the pressure get to me. I just go out there bowl.”

Maturing through four years of pressures and discouragements has changed each of the girls for the better, specifically McKeny.

“I’m totally different from my sophomore year,” she said. “I would probably cry every time I messed up, but I’ve grown up. And Coach (Mike Kraushaar) has helped us so much. He’s been tough on us because he believes in us and he’s pushed us to our limit. He put us in our huddle and pulled us aside at critical moments in sectional and regional and it made all the difference.”

Coach Kraushaar said the changes have been more than noticeable.

“The girls have come a long way in four years,” he said. “Senior experience, team depth and tough local competition have all led to our success. We haven’t clicked at once, yet, but there are always a couple of girls that are there to pick up their teammates.

“Hopefully we can finish off the season with a state championship.”



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