Tyler Romine might be young in academic years, he is a freshman at Artesia High School, but his years of bowling could be considered valuable as the Bulldogs seek another state title Wednesday in Albuquerque.
He started bowling with his family at 6 years of age and joined the bowling team during his eighth-grade year. Romine has seen an improvement in his game over the past year.
“The coaches have helped me so much. I did not know my potential as an eighth grader. The season has gone pretty good for me,” Romine said.
Romine is one of two freshmen traveling with one sophomore and two seniors to Silva Lanes in Albuquerque for the 3A-4A New Mexico High School Bowling Association (NMHSBA) state championships.
Artesia High School head bowling coach Ken Clayton said the Bulldogs had 48 members on the bowling team this year.
He said 35 members traveled with the team during the season that started in November.
Clayton said six bowlers, like Romine, were chosen to go to the state championships.
“Every year we bowl against all the big schools. For the state tournament we bowl against the 4A schools,” he said.
Artesia is the only high school in southeast New Mexico with a bowling team, according to the NMHSBA website.
Clayton said the Bulldogs travel to Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, and Espanola multiple times a year competing against schools with larger enrollments.
The lone tournament south of Interstate 40 was held in Artesia Jan. 21.
“We’ve had a really good year. We’ve won eight division tournaments this year,” Clayton said.
Romine was a strong contributor to the regular season success bowling a 279 at the season opener Nov. 5 in Rio Rancho. A perfect score in bowling is 300 where the bowler hits all strikes in 10 frames.
Romine hoped to bowl around 250 in the state tournament and his average is 199.
“That’s pretty good,” he said.
Before practicing Romine likes to “clear his mind” as he approaches the bowling lane and fires his bowling ball anticipating a strike.
“I used to be a one hander but a switched to two handed. It gives you more reps and more power it will help you hit the pins harder,” he said.
Some insight into Artesia High School bowling team
The Bulldogs seven championship trophies are on display at Artesia Lanes, the lone bowling alley in northern Eddy County.
Artesia’s first title was 2012 and the last title was 2021. Clayton said the team sought its eighth trophy this week in Albuquerque.
He said the bowling team was created 16 years ago when former Artesia Public Schools (APS) Superintendent Mike Phipps asked Clayton to form a team.
“I had bowled with Mike in the past and he came into my office (at Western Bank) one day and said, ‘New Mexico is having bowling and we need to be involved,’ Clayton said.
According to the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) the inaugural NMSHBA competition was May 20, 2006, at the Starlight Lanes in Bernalillo.
“The event was designed to provide statewide awareness of this new venture,” read NMAA’s website.
During that time frame, the NMAA, school administrators and bowling alley owners worked together making sure rules were followed and properly addressed for high school bowling events.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.