By Gene Phelps
Susan Dudley has won a combined eight boys and girls state bowling championships in her 10-year coaching tenure at Tupelo High.
Obviously, she knows what it takes to be successful on the lanes.
For her Golden Wave boys team, which won two matches Thursday at Rebelanes – 8-0 against Pontotoc and 7-1 over Tupelo Christian Prep – there’s more work ahead.
For her three-time defending state champion Lady Wave, an 8-0 winner against Pontotoc, Dudley sees the potential to capture a ninth overall state title.
“Our boys have some work to do,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of newbies. We’re teaching them how to bowl from scratch.
“Our girls team is experienced. They’ve got a good chance this year to win state.”
For the Golden Wave boys, Jake Houston had a team-high 590 series while Josh Turberville rolled a 232 high-game. Eli McCaleb added 575 series and Jake Houston rolled a 226 game for Tupelo.
Tupelo Christian Prep’s Lucas Hartigan had the best overall performance with his 721 high series and 254 high game. Brandon Wood added 557 series for the Eagles.
Pontotoc was led by Jacob Lewellyn with a 179 high game and a 457 high series.
Taylor Russell, a sophomore, rolled a 221 high game and a 642 high series to pace the Lady Wave. Addison Gable had a 210 game and a 566 series while team captain and senior Ashleigh Burns a 179 game for Tupelo.
Burns has been a member of all three Lady Wave state title teams.
“Oh, there’s pressure,” she said. “I’ll feel like I didn’t do my job if we don’t win state. We have the physical game to win … as long as we keep our mental game together.”
If there’s a knock against the Lady Wave it’s the fact that Russell is the team’s lone “tournament” bowler.
“She’s used to bowling on other lanes other than Rebelanes,” Dudley noted. “When you’re not used to other lanes, you have to be able to adjust. If you don’t adjust, you’re not accurate and it hurts.”