TUSCALOOSA- The Sparkman High bowling program advances to elite status in Alabama as the Lady Senators won the North Regional, while the boys team fell in the regional semifinals but still qualified for the AHSAA State Tournament as one of the top four teams in the playoffs after the season.
The Sparkman girls ran through the North Regional, held at the Shindig Family Entertainment Center in Tuscaloosa, rolling into the top spots after the first day’s individual matches and then emerged as champions when they hit Northridge 729- 410, Spain Park 700-554 and Vestavia Hills 926-686. The boys completed the opening round as second seed after scoring 2,717 points and finished second to Hewitt-Trussville (2,685). In the bracket combinations, the Senators defeated Northridge 804-726, but fell to Spain Park in the semifinals in 823-671.
The top four teams in boys and girls earned places in the upcoming state tournament. Both Sparkman squads are Class 7A defending state champions who won both titles in 2021.
“We’re the team everyone looks at,” said Lisa Ivey, Sparkman’s head coach and Alabama Coach of the Year, named by the National Federation of State High School Associations. “The State Tournament will be filled with tough competition, especially from the teams in the South region. Our teams are young because we have two starters who are new to our team because they moved here before the start of the school year. We have a sophomore and a group of eight who are starting for us.”
Both teams were unbeaten during the regular season as the girls were 14-0, while the boys were also perfect 16-0.
On the second day of the regional competition, a “Baker” format was used as each of the five-man teams rolled two frames each. In the first day action, individual bowlers add up their three-game series scores to team totals.
The individual leaders in the opening action included Sparkman senior and University of Pikeville signer Emily Lindsey, who led all scorers with games 202-202-242 for a 646 series. Senator teammate Jenna Webber was fourth with a 499 series, including game scores of 151-198-150. Her sister, Angela, placed fifth with scores of 161-177-156 for a 494 series. Katy Alexander and Natalie Allsup joined those three roles for the squad.
In boys, Zachary Swaim was fourth overall with game scores of 164-225-192 to post a 581 series.
The Sixth Annual State Bowling Championships will be hosted by The Alley Bowling Center in Gadsden from January 27-28. There are 64 schools in Alabama that participate in bowling and 20 of those schools offer both boys’ and girls’ teams. The Sparkman girls have won state titles in both 2016 and 2021, while the boys took their only title a year ago.