Neshoba Central’s boys and girls bowling teams both entered the Christmas break with 7-0 records as both are looking to return to the state championship tournament.

Back in February, the Neshoba Central girls claimed their second state championship in three years. Currently in their sixth season of existence, the Lady Rockets have always made it to the state tournament. They have two first places, one second place, and two third places.

The Neshoba Central boys were also in the finals of the state tournament. They had the most pins after bowling the first round. But in the Baker Series, the Rockets lost to St. Martin, 3-0.

Now both teams are looking forward to making it to the state tournament again. And it is going to be a little different. The Mississippi High School Activities Association has added another division to bowling. There were two last year: Division One for classifications 1A-3A, and Division Two for classifications 4A-6A. Now there are three divisions, dividing Class 1A-3A in Division One; Division 4A-5A in Division Two, and Class 6A in Division Three.  

“More schools are becoming involved in bowling so they added another division,” Coach Joey Blount said. “We are in Division Two. We have never bowled against 4A and 5A competition and aren’t sure what that will mean to us. We are off to a good start. If we bowl to our potential, we should be very competitive.”

Blount said the Rockets have a couple of tough matches coming up with Cleveland Central and Starkville. They will bowl in a tournament in Cleveland on January 15 against teams from the North and Central areas.

“We really haven’t been pushed yet,” Blount said. “Our closest match has been with Choctaw Central. This tournament should be good competition.”

Blount believes that competition makes his teams better. Practice started in October. There are 10 bowlers on the girls team and 12 on the boys. Blount keeps up with the number of pins they knock down, both in practice and in games. The bowlers with the top averages are the ones who bowl in the matches. The other team members keep practicing, trying to improve their average and earn a place in the top six. That keeps everyone on their toes.

At this point in the season, the top six bowlers on the girls team are Destiny Dill, Allie Williams, Ali Witcher, Genesis Ferris, Tyunna Wingo and Olivia Nicholson. Other members include Kathryn Dreifuss, Ashton Luke, Savannah Sullivan and Reagan Thorton. Dill and Witcher are returning starters from last season.

The top six bowlers on the boys team are Scott Robinson, Tyler Holland, Carson Settlemires, Brayden Dunn, Cody Wilson and Noah Pickett. Other members of the team are John Rylee Barrett, Noah Bates, Landon Coward, Reid Dunn, Justin Fox and Traveon Wingo. Robinson, Holland and Settlemires are returning starters from last year.