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Hot Dog bowlers win conference crown

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STRIKE HANDS: Frankfort bowler Klarissa Pitman slaps hands with teammate Taylor Morgan, sitting, after getting a strike in a match against Lebanon on Sunday.
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CONCENTRATION: Frankfort bowler Taylor Morgan takes aim at the pins during a match against Lebanon on Sunday.
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CONFERENCE CHAMPS: Frankfort High School’s girls bowling team won the Wabash Valley South Conference championship on Sunday in Crawfordsville. Team members include, front from left, Karleigh Bessler and Klarissa Pitman; and, back, Taylor Morgan, Jordan Anderson and Hanna Anderson.
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GOOD FRAME: Frankfort bowler Jordan Anderson, sitting front, congratulates Karleigh Bessler after picking up a spare in a bowl-off with Lebanon on Sunday as teammate Hannah Anderson looks on.
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FOCUSED: Frankfort bowler Jordan Anderson makes her approach during Sunday's conference final against Lebanon on Sunday. Anderson led the Wabash Valley South Conference with a 164 average for girls teams.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Frankfort High School won the girls Wabash Valley South Conference bowling championship on Sunday at Plaza Lanes in Crawfordsville, but they had to put in a little extra work to do it.

“We won the conference championship last year and actually we’ve won it four out of the last five years,” Frankfort coach Cory Gibbons said.

Sunday’s win took a little more time than was expected. Gibbons went into Sunday believing that if his Hot Dog squad of Karleigh Bessler, Taylor Morgan, Klarissa Pitman, Hannah Anderson and Jordan Anderson beat Lebanon that day they would win the conference based on pin totals for the season.

As it turned out, a rule change had been implemented since last year’s season that Gibbons wasn’t aware of and Frankfort had to go into a bowl-off with Lebanon and Crawfordsville, which all had identical records for the season at 8-4.

The bowl-off turned out to be no problem for the Hot Dogs, who topped Lebanon 165-111 and then had to wait for Crawfordsville to finish their match with Clinton Prairie. Crawfordsville then bowled a 101 to finish third in the Baker format – five team members rotating one frame each during a game – used for team competition.

“I was really happy with the performance today,” Gibbons said. “It was a little bit of a slow start, but in the end they came out and they did what they are capable of doing.”

In the regular-season match against Lebanon on Sunday, the Hot Dogs lost the first game and fell behind 2-1 after three before reeling off five straight to win the match, 7-3. Gibbons believed in his team before the match, feeling that if not for bowling short-handed a few times this season they wouldn’t have needed to go to a bowl-off.

“I actually figured that with our team we would be outright and wouldn’t have to bowl anybody as far as a tie goes, but things happen,” he said. “You know people end up missing for whatever reason.

“There were times throughout the season where we bowled short a person whether it was for health purposes or family business. It cost us a couple matches, but at the same time we’ve bowled with four and won a match.”

As a club sport, the bowling team isn’t associated with Frankfort High School officially or the IHSAA.

“It’s not exactly how the high school sports conference is,” Gibbons noted. “We have our own that is made by the conference coordinators the Indiana High School Bowling because the high school bowling is not a school sport. It’s a club sport.”

County school Clinton Prairie also participates in the conference and fields a girls and a boys team. They, like Frankfort, will now turn their attention to sectionals this weekend. Gibbons has high hopes for his squad on Saturday and for his individual bowlers on Sunday.

“I’m pretty confident that next week when it comes to sectionals that we’ll come out of that as well,” he said. “We won sectional three out of the last four.

“I’m pretty confident that they will come out of sectionals as a winner. They should come out of regionals. Semi-state is when things start to get tough. That’s when the cream rises to the top and I am honestly confident that if they do what is expected of them and what they are capable of that they have an opportunity to make it to state.”

Team sectionals are in Lebanon at 1 p.m. Saturday, with the sectional for individual bowlers starting at 1 p.m. Sunday in Crawfordsville.

“We fell short in regionals a little bit,” Gibbons said of last year, noting Frankfort has not reached the state as a team yet. “A couple years ago we got to the semi-state and everything that could go wrong went wrong and that was the end of it, but that was a few years ago.”

Gibbons’ daughter Breanna did reach the state as an individual last year and currently is carrying a 184 average for the Ancilla College bowling team. He still has high expectations for this squad despite that loss from last year’s squad.

Individually this year, Jordan Anderson is bowling anchor and leading the team in average.

“As far as the regular season, Jordan finished as the top female in the conference with a 164 average,” Gibbons noted.

Anderson’s teammate Bessler will have her own version of the Deion Sanders double – where Sanders played in an NFL game for the Atlanta Falcons and in a baseball game for the Cincinnati Reds on the same day – this Saturday. Bessler is scheduled to dive for the Frankfort swimming and diving team in the Sagamore Conference Championships at Crawfordsville in the morning before Saturday’s bowling sectional.