The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School

BVNWnews

The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School

BVNWnews

The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School

BVNWnews

Huskies place 17th at 6A state tournament for Unified Bowling

Unified Bowling finished out its season at the state tournament with BVNW junior Allen Lee and athlete from Blue Valley 18-21 year old program Elijah Henderson participating as athletes alongside their peers, juniors Bailey Kinkelaar and Caitlyn Klingler.
Photo+courtesy+of+Bailey+Kinkelaar
Photo courtesy of Bailey Kinkelaar

The Unified Bowling team was established at Northwest two years ago and just wrapped its third season with their attendance at state on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Elijah Henderson and junior Allen Lee competed and Blue Valley Northwest placed 17th out of the 20 schools at the tournament. 

Science teacher Sarah Derks helped start the program and currently coaches the team along with math teacher Karen Stohlmann.

“[Unified Bowling] was just something that fell into my lap,” Derks said. “The state worked with the Special Olympics people, and they decided to make it a state-sanctioned sport because there was so much interest.”

Special Olympics Kansas is a nonprofit organization driven to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities by providing more opportunities for them to be integrated into society and included in community activities, specifically physical competitions. According to their website, actively practicing teamwork, sportsmanship, and perseverance boosts participants’ confidence, integrity, self-esteem, and character. 

Similarly, Derks said that simply allowing the Athletes to participate in and be a part of something significantly impacts their confidence.

“They would just get on the bus and go home every night, but now we’re opening up opportunities for them to participate,” Derks said. “Hopefully, more and more doors will be open later on.” 

Despite the team not placing as high as they have in past years at state, junior Caitlyn Klingler, a peer on the unified bowling team, said it was very fun and fulfilling. 

“We still did really well and had a couple of people that had their personal best at state”, Klingler said. “The most rewarding part for me was just seeing how much each of the athletes grew from the beginning and how much fun they had bowling.”

“We still did really well and had a couple of people that had their personal best at state. The most rewarding part for me was just seeing how much each of the athletes grew from the beginning and how much fun they had bowling.”

— Caitlyn Klingler

Although she didn’t attend state, freshman Alicia Ojeda was involved in unified bowling as an athlete for the first time this year and said it was a really good experience for her. 

“The bowling team is the only thing I have been involved in so far, so I think it was a great thing to do,” Ojeda said. “I’m still new to the school, but I feel like I have made more friends on the bowling team.”

Derks said Unified Bowling is a really good opportunity for all students and hopes to have even more join next season.

“It’s a great program, I would love to see more kids participate,” Derks said. “It builds the future of the program when you have more people involved”

Klingler also said she thinks more people should join because her involvement this year has broadened her circle at Northwest.

“Before this, I hadn’t really known anyone from room 102,” Klingler said. “I would recommend people join because they’ll get to meet people from the school that they might never have met”

Also encouraging more people to join the team, Ojeda said it was a relatively easy sport to pick up and have fun with.
“If you wanna do bowling give it a shot, it doesn’t matter how good you are and it doesn’t matter how many pins you can get down.”

Unified Bowling has offered new opportunities for peers and athletes at Northwest, but Derks also said that her involvement as a coach has allowed her to gain new perspectives.

“It gave me an opportunity to see things differently and to realize that at the end of the day, being a coach is about allowing students the opportunity to participate in something,” Derks said. “You shouldn’t come to high school to be just a student.”

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About the Contributors
Reagan Wald, Writer
Reagan is a junior and a writer for “The Express”. This is her first year on staff and outside of newspaper, she is involved in Model UN, Debate, NEHS, Team Up for St. Jude, and MUSE. In her free time, she loves to read, hang out with friends, and play with her dog. Reagan is extremely excited for her first year and looking forward to getting to know all the other staff members
Bridget Hamlin, Social Media Editor
Bridget is a junior and the Social Media Editor of BVNWnews. This is her second year on staff. Outside of newspaper, Bridget is involved in tennis, AVID, NEHS and plans to be a part of NHS this year. Bridget enjoys spending time with friends and family and traveling in her free time. Bridget is excited to take on the roll of Social Media Editor this year. 

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