The Harker Heights girls bowling team returned from San Antonio's Bandera Super Bowl this past weekend with the championship trophy after winning the 2014 Texas State High School Bowling Championship.
This was the ninth straight state tournament appearance for the Lady
Knights who won the inaugural event in 2002 and were runner-up in 2007.
The tournament featured the top 36 teams in the state out of 264 schools participating in high school bowling in Texas.
In the five-person team event, the Lady Knights shot a total series of
2,625 and were then were seeded fourth overall. Heights was led by Sierra Ciesiolka with a 608 series and Maya Dixon-Dates with a 593 series.
In the "Team Bakers," the Lady Knights started off slowly in their first
two matches but came back strong to defeat Amarillo and Copperas Cove, respectively. It only took the Lady Knights
two games to defeat Texas City in the third "Baker" match,
setting up a title contest against defending champion McKinney Boyd.
Heights won the first game 197-152, but lost the second 195-172, setting up an exciting third game for the state title.
Heights was down early but came back in the sixth frame, starting a
string of three straight strikes. But it all came down to the 10th and final frame with Heights' freshman anchor bowler Sierra Ciesiolka needing the first two strikes for the win. She didn't disappoint the crowd or her teammates and came through.
McNiesh said going in that this was his best girls' team in the nine
years he has been at the helm.
"This was a total team performance all day long, McNiesh said. "When
one of the girls would get a little down, someone else was always there to pick them up."
McNiesh, an accomplished bowler himself and veteran of numerous
tournaments, said he was amazed at how well the Lady Knights handled the pressure.
"This is a lot of pressure for these youngsters," he said. "What a
clutch performance by Sierra striking out in the 10th frame of the final game for the win."