Jays Bowling Reaches New Heights
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Jays won the Missouri State Bowling Tournament on May 24, two years after the team finished in second place. For senior Kordel Flanary, it was a perfect ending to his career.
"It was really awe-inspiring," said Flanary. "A couple years ago we had a chance for the same thing, but we fell short, we got second place. But just the idea we got first place, on my last year, it's just amazing."
For fellow senior and anchor bowler, Ryan Forbis, nothing else mattered to him this season.
"My senior year, I knew that was pretty much my only goal this year, was to get first at state, and it turns out we went and we did that, and it was great," Forbis said.
Finishing as state champs and runners up in four years is an impressive résumé, but even more so when those four years are the team's entire history. Head coach Shawn Flanary started the team at Jefferson City High School during the 2010-2011 school year, the same year his son, Kordel, was a freshman at Jefferson City. For them to come from a fledgling program to state champs as a father and son duo meant a lot.
"I ran over to my dad and gave him a big hug," Kordel said. "He and I have this handshake we do, so we did that handshake. I was really an emotionally charged moment."
That's not the only bond the father and son share. They share a common interest as well.
"I was hoping I could be teaching [in a school], and hypothetically wherever I'd go, if they were to have some sort of bowling program, or even if not, I could get one started there, and it'd be really nice to coach," Kordel said.
"Well, I've know Kordel has wanted to get into teaching," Coach Flanary said. "The fact that he would be interested in learning more and teaching the game of bowling at a later date is actually amazing. Fortunately I'm one of those that can bowl and can teach, so I have the benefit of understanding the game from two different avenues, and I think he's learned a lot of that from me.That would be amazing if he could come in, or start programs himself, wherever he might go."
For Coach Flanary, coaching bowling is more than just trying to win a championship; it's cultivating and growing the game so more young kids can get involved.
"I still have a passion for the game. I want to see the program grow," Flanary said. "I'd like to see other local schools get involved...and the only way to do that is to show them what's available."
One of the benefactors of Coach Flanary's efforts is senior McKayla Green. She only joined the team for two years in high school, but it wasn't for lack of interest.
"I actually heard about it on Facebook," Green said. "I bowled for a few years in Arizona, [where she lived]," and just didn't know about it here."
Joining the bowling team not only made her a better player, but it opened some new doors for her too. Green is receiving offers to bowl at the collegiate level.
"That feels really exciting. To do something I really enjoy in college would be really fun and great and I hope I can do that," Green said.
The year ended well for the Jays, leaving the seniors with a sense of euphoria.
"It was just like a fictional voice in the back of our minds just saying, 'You did it,'" Kordel said. "It was just a really great feeling.
For information on bowling teams and tournaments, visit MOUSBC.org.