Back in what she calls her younger days, Terry Sanford bowling coach Sherrie Peterson was a regular league bowler who once rolled a high game of 277.
Those memories appear to be rubbing off on the girls and boys she’s coaching as both the Bulldog girls and boys teams recently rolled their way to victory in the Patriot Athletic Conference bowling championship.
“They are the best group of kids,’’ Peterson said of her current teams. “They always come prepared, and they are eager to practice. They are the top students in the school.’’
The victory by the boys’ team came as no surprise to Peterson. The Terry Sanford boys have a history of success and returned a number of players who qualified for the state playoffs last season.
The girls were less of a sure thing. “We only had three returning bowlers and a lot of young bowlers, three ninth-graders,’’ she said. “I was definitely excited the girls got to that level and won.’’
One of the key players in the Bulldog girls’ success was freshman Zoe Cannady.
Cannady, who has been bowling for nine years, said she felt she bonded with her teammates and Peterson well in her first season with the Bulldogs. “You need to improve what you do when you bowl, even if you think you’re the best there is,’’ she said. “There are still things you can learn.’’
Senior Andrew Walker helped lead the Bulldog boys to victory. In the conference title match, he came up with three critical strikes in the tenth frame to seal the victory. Walker has a rich bowling lineage. His grandfather Junior Edge and his great grandfather Tom Iuliucci were both longtime bowling proprietors in Fayetteville.
Walker credited team chemistry as the main reason for Terry Sanford’s success on the boys’ side. “Nobody graduated from last year,’’ he said. “We pretty much had the same team. We just have to have high spirits. Usually that will work and keep our skills on point.’’
The Bulldogs will lose some key players this year, but twins Tommy and Jack Cooney, both freshmen, will return to lead next year’s squad.
“They are going to have to hold up most of the team,’’ Walker said. “Hopefully we’ll have some others come in.’’
Peterson thanked Nancy Schenk, director of league bowling for Cumberland County Schools, for her leadership of the bowling program. She also thanked both B&B Lanes and Lafayette Lanes for allowing all of the county bowlers to practice and compete there.
Photo: Front row, L-R: Abigail Walker, Olivia Jones, Autumn Edge, Zoe Cannady, Avery Schenk, Maya Ervin. Back row, L-R: Samuel Hatch, Gavin Chavis, Andrew Walker, Coach Sherrie Peterson, Thomas Cooney, Jack Cooney. Not pictured: Will Rosser.