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Goffstown bowlers make late comeback

Saturday, Jan. 5, in the fourth week of the regular season. Pinkerton came away with the win, but Goffstown turned a slow start into a comeback, third-place finish.

“Today was a little frustrating to start,” Goffstown coach Keith Martin said. “Last year our low was 1,300, and today we didn’t even break 1,200, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Goffstown graduated half of its bowlers from last year’s squad, Martin said, leaving gaping vacancies that need to be filled. But the Grizzlies have shown improvement through the early season, he added.

On Saturday, Goffstown took fourth in the preliminary round, which determines the seeds in the head-to-head, Baker-format round. In the first round, players bowl two strings individually and contribute their scores to an overall team total, which determines the seeding. Then, in the second round, players bowl as a team against the other schools.

“We seeded fourth out of four teams, which was tough because then, in our first match of the Baker, that put us against the No. 1-seed, Pinkerton, and they beat us pretty easily as we bowled miserable,” Martin said.

So, with the last-place seeding after the first round, Goffstown had to face No. 1 Pinkerton in team play. The Grizzlies lost handily, but if they beat Merrimack, had a chance in the third-place game.

They took the first game of the best-of-three match, but dropped the second. In the deciding game, Goffstown bowlers pulled out a much-improved score.

“We came up with a whopping 206 to win the match, so we earned ourselves one point in the standings,” said Martin. “When they were in the Baker match, everybody was doing great. We had four strikes in a row in our last game. The kids are excited and they know they bowl better as a team.”

Individually, Rachel DesRusseaux had the best first-round score with a 153. Bo Gurskis was second on the team with a 145. Newcomer Zach Meisel also showed positive signs for Martin.

“Zach Meisel bowled a 126,” he said. “He’s a brand-new bowler. That’s his high game, and for the first game, it was our high overall, so it was pretty exciting.”

Although he said they are in a building year, Martin is encouraged by the early-season improvements. The Grizzlies have three points in the standings so far. As of Jan. 3, they were tied for last in the state with Laconia, Sanborn and Spaulding.

“We are bowling better as a team, and we are bowling better every week, which is something to look forward to,” said Martin. “With high school bowling, anyone can beat anyone in the Baker format on any given day, depending on who’s hot.”

The Grizzlies have five matches left before the team state championships on Feb. 16. They are also looking toward the individual state championships on Feb. 23.

Martin reiterated how important momentum is for the bowlers. While they are in a “building year,” Martin said they will always have a chance at the end of the season.

“If you look through the record books for all the high school bowling over the last four seasons, all the records are held by Merrimack, Pinkerton and Stevans, but none of them have a state championship,” he said. “Who’s hot on the last day is pretty much what it comes down to. We thought we were that team last year, we had a really good chance, so this year we’re going to try even harder and if we get hot at the right time it could be us.”

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