Austin bowlers break a five-year drought, will compete in state meet Saturday

Published 7:53 pm Thursday, December 5, 2019

The last time the Austin bowling team went to the state meet as a team, current Austin head coach Elijah Rayman was a member of the team.

Granted that was just five years ago, but Rayman, who is in his second year as head coach, has seen huge growth from a very young Austin team as they prepare to compete in team state competition at Garden Center Lanes in Alexandria at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“I’m really excited. It will be a good time,” Rayman said. “It was a little bit of a struggle this season trying to incorporate new things with the kids, but from last year to now the change is unbelievable. They’re maturity level is just insane.”

The Austin bowlng team will bowl in the team state tournament for the first time in five years in Alexandria this Saturday. The team includes, back row, left to right, Jared Lillemon, Adam Pike, Ian Bundy and coach Elijah Rayman; front row: Bailey Crouch and Izaac Erickson. Photo Provided

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Austin has no seniors on the team, but it has received leadership from junior Ian Bundy, who competed in the individual state meet last season. Sophomore Jared Lillemon also has experience at the individual state meet.

Ian’s older brother Tyler was a member of the last Austin bowling team that went to state in 2014.

“We’ve got a pretty young team and Eljah’s really been working with a lot of them to get them better and get them more educated on the game,” Ian said. “We found a rhythm this year and things started going good. We made it to state.”

Austin is hoping to keep its cool in the big meet this weekend as nerves will be at an all-time high.

“A little problem we had was when we weren’t bowling well, our team energy wasn’t very good, but when we were bowling well, our team energy was high and we kept going,” Ian said.

Rayman is not just excited about this weekend at state, he’s also optimistic about the future of the bowling program as Austin is loaded with potential.

“I’m really, really looking forward to next year and the year after,” Rayman said. “We’ve got some really talented kids that are in seventh and eighth grade that are bowling for our varsity team.”