South Fort Myers High School junior Cortnee Bates said she and her teammates entered the District 6 bowling tournament with confidence. They ended it with a championship.
The South Fort Myers girls bowling team defeated Island Coast 4-1 in the title match Monday afternoon at Pin Street off Fowler Street in Fort Myers.
The Ida Baker boys defeated Fort Myers 3-2 in the second year of bowling for Lee County schools.
All four of those teams advanced to the Florida High School Athletic Association state finals, to take place Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 7-8, at Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando.
Four individuals also qualified, the top two boys and girls who weren’t on the qualifying teams.
Kayla Nicely of North Fort Myers and Chayse Becker of Ida Baker advanced for the girls.
James Stafford of Mariner and Tim Sipper of Island Coast advanced for the boys.
Stafford, a senior, scored a 670 over the course of three morning matches for the individual district and Lee County Athletic Conference championship titles.
“It will be exciting to bowl next to all the state bowlers,” Stafford said.
Sipper, a junior, scored a 635 in the morning, tied with freshman Evan Baranecky of Ida Baker for second in the district and conference.
“I thought I played well. I thought I did the best, then I saw he shot a 670,” Sipper said of Stafford’s performance. Sipper has been bowling since age 3.
Baranecky, 14, has been bowling since age 6. He led the Bulldogs team of seniors Taylor France, Eric Ryan, Joey Rieger, David Keslinger, Colby Lomonaco, sophomore Joseph Marinello and freshman Tyler Altmann to the team title.
“It’s amazing,” Baranecky said. “Overwhelming. We cut it too close. We put it together as a team and stayed positive.”
The Fort Myers Green Wave boys finished second as a team despite not having any individuals on the All-Conference team. The Island Coast girls finished second with three on the All-Conference team: Jessica Davies, Lindsey Conn and Jessica Leigh.
Bates led the Wolfpack to the team title and also won the district and conference titles, scoring a 654 in the three morning matches. Seniors Mackenzie Krohse and Nephthali Esterlin, junior Erica Garcia, sophomore Mallory Berner and freshman Taylor Oates comprise the rest of the Wolfpack.
“I think we did amazing,” Bates said. Her team placed 40th in the state last year. “I’m proud of myself and the team. I’m hoping we can do a little better and get into the top 20.
“Every time we bowl, we want our confidence to be up. That’s what we did today, and we did it.”