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Plum bowlers make impact at state events

| Monday, March 20, 2017, 6:18 p.m.

The Plum boys and girls bowling teams didn't leave the state bowling championships Saturday in Ephrata with any hardware. But despite missing out on the stepladder finals, the Mustangs didn't leave the tournament without making a mark.

Plum freshman Shannon Small rolled a 246 to throw the fourth highest individual game on the girls' side to help the Mustangs finish eighth. Junior Franklin Mercurio threw the third highest game on the boys' side to help Plum place ninth.

Small in particular left an impression during her first state competition. Plum returned three girls — Meghan Christman, Sarah Kirkpatrick and Brianna Pilyih — from last season's state championship team.

Small finished with a 637 series, which was 92 pins higher than any of her teammates.

“She is the most impactful freshman bowler, boys or girls, from Plum I've even seen,” Mustangs coach Jerry Yushinski said. “The amount of success she's had is tremendous. Her poise and concentration is something special. A lot of times kids who come up as a freshman don't have the right mindset, usually it's a junior or senior.”

During the singles competition Friday, Christman finished 17th by rolling a 1,064. Franklin Mercurio placed ninth with a 1,225 and Ty Kirkpatrick was 15th with a 1,116.

“Just from a general perspective, I think they did well,” Yushinski said. “On the individual side, we had a little more overall success than at the team event. I'm pleased with the overall job. Even to the last couple shots, everyone was still smiling even though they didn't have a chance to finish on top.”

Shikellamy won the girls' crown, while Penn Manor won the boys championship.

Yushinski was thrilled with how Plum competed, especially considering the competition it faced.

“Scores were pretty high out there,” Yushinski said. “This wasn't our first time. They knew what to expect, so I don't think it came as much of a shock. That was the reason we didn't finish in the top four or five, I don't think it was because our kids bowled bad. Everyone bowled well.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.

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