The Starkville High School bowling team will be entering new territory in the progression of the program.
For the first time, the Jackets compete in the Bowling State Championship, which takes place Friday at Fannin Lanes in Flowood.
SHS senior Rob Montgomery said the squad must have a confident attitude even though the environment will be different.
"We need to keep each other's spirits up and stay focused," Montgomery said. "We will try not to get down because the lanes will be different. We'll have to adjust to how dry or oily it is and we need to make sure our bowling balls are clean.
"I'm expecting to do well as long as we keep focus. If we play good, we'll be fine and if we play great, which I hope we can, then we'll to really good in the top three at least."
The Jackets leave for Flowood today to get in a practice round at Fannin Lanes this afternoon.
SHS bowling coach Jim Philamlee said the coordination at practice is improving and knows his team has to be on top of its game to have success against some good competition.
"We'll be going against schools that are a little stronger than we are for sure," Philamlee said. "One thing that's going to help us is it's going to be a team effort. When you have a team effort, you have people supporting each other and that makes everyone a little stronger."
Even though this will be a new experience for many of the young Jackets, Philamlee believes it will be a positive for the future of the program.
Cody Prewitt, an 8th grader at SHS, likes anything that helps promote the sport of bowling and sees this as a good opportunity to do so.
"It's not a very popular sport, but it's starting to grow," Prewitt said. "People don't think of it as an athletic sport, but you have to lend a lot of mental and athletic ability to it. You see it on ESPN, but it's still not a popular activity. It's not in the Olympics yet, but we'd like to see it there."
The State Bowling Championships begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
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