Viking bowlers’ youth, inexperience exposed in loss at Three Rivers

Published 1:40 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023

THREE RIVERS — The youth and inexperience on the Niles High School bowling teams was exposed in Tuesday’s season-opening loss at Three Rivers.

Niles dropped a 23-7 Wolverine Conference decision in the boys’ match to Three Rivers, the defending league champions.

Three Rivers also won the girls’ event against Niles 29-1.

Both Niles teams are undergoing a major rebuilding phase after losing several key performers from last year due to graduation, including the top six bowlers from the Vikings’ boys’ squad. The Lady Vikings lost its top three bowlers from last year’s team.

Vikings’ Coach Jim Jaynes, however, was encouraged by several good performances despite the pair of losses.

Freshman Shawn Atkins from Niles led the Viking boys with a 348-series score. Atkins rolled game scores of 180 and 168.

“Shawn is going to be a pretty good bowler once we get him lined up. He’s participated in a lot of the area youth tournaments,” Jaynes said.

Adam Jackson, a varsity returner, was next for the Vikings with a 333 series. Jackson bowled totals of 158 and 175.

“Our boys showed pretty good promise. We were in most of the matches all the way, but fell short,” Jaynes said. “We saw some good things today and identified a few areas in which we need to improve upon with both teams. There are a lot of new kids. It’s a complete rebuilding year.”

Aidan Kidwell, Niles’ sixth man last season, turned in a 198 in game one for Niles.

Leading the Niles’ effort in the girls’ match was freshman Lexi Kidwell with a series total of 311. Her two game totals included a 148 followed by 163.

Freshman Miley Kater was next for Niles with scores of 163 and 113 for a series total of 276.

Joslyn Maples, one of the Vikings’ returning letter winners, put together a series score of 276. Maples rolled scores of 118 and 83.

“We are going to take these kids to as many tournaments this season as we can. Our goal every year is to get either the team or as many individuals to the state meet as we can,” Jaynes said.