Home Local Sports Lady Raiders place 3rd at states, Thompson named All-State

Lady Raiders place 3rd at states, Thompson named All-State

The 2022-23 state runner-up Lady Raider bowling team. (Contributed photo)

ABERDEEN — A successful season for the Richmond Senior High School girls’ bowling team ended with a third-place finish in the state championship on Friday.

For the second season in a row, the Lady Raiders placed in the top three of the event. A season ago, Richmond was the runner-up.

Using much of the same roster from last winter, the Lady Raiders also saw four bowlers compete in the singles championship.

Sophomore Ava Thompson earned 8th overall and was named to the All-State team. Also competing were senior teammates Cadence Thompson (14th), Rylie Bohman (29th) and Addison Massey (36th).

In the boys’ tournament, the Raiders finished as the state runner-up. Head coach Ralph Butler expressed his happiness for a successful run by the program as a whole.

“I am extremely proud of both teams, I couldn’t ask for more,” Butler said. “They bowled great all day long and proved they’re some of the best bowlers in the state. 

“For the second year in a row both the girls and the boys made the roll-off for state champions. We’re the only program in the state to do that.”

To qualify for a chance at the title, all teams bowled a four-game series following the Baker format. Seniors Carly Leggett and Savannah Jordan participated in the matches.

The Lady Raiders finished with a score of 491 pins (122.8 pins per game), which set them up with Purnell Swett High School in the top-four roll-off.

In the best-of-three games match, Richmond took the second one but fell 2-1 to the Lady Rams. Scores were 160-165, 172-150 and 106-155.

Butler went with the same five bowlers in all three games — senior Molly Erwin, Bohman, senior Ashlyn Bouldin, Cadence Thompson and Ava Thompson.

Bowling the fourth and ninth frames, Cadence Thompson closed out four of her six frames with four strikes to lead the team. Ava Thompson was the anchor and added two strikes and two spares.


Bohman and Bouldin matched each other’s performance, rolling one strike and three spares apiece in their six frames. Erwin chipped in one spare.

“The girls have nothing to hang their heads about,” Butler said. “They have been one of the best teams in the state for two years. What they’ve accomplished has set the bar pretty high.

“They have been so instrumental in helping build this program and get it to this point. Those seven seniors will be missed greatly.”

Following the team competition, both Thompsons, Bohman and Massey competed in a field of nearly 40 of the state’s best individual bowlers. Each bowler rolled three games for a combined score.

Ava Thompson’s eighth-place finish, her first career All-State selection, resulted in a final score of 457 pins. She bowled game scores of 129, 169 and 159.

Winning the individual state championship was Harmony Richardson of Purnell Swett, who finished with a final tally of 618 pins.

“I think fatigue is a factor with the individual results,” Butler explained. “We did the team competition first, but we sent more people than any school for both teams in the individual tournament after competing in arguably the toughest conference. 

“When you bowl for three hours then turn around and bowl individually, I think fatigue sets in. Many of the ones who qualified for individuals didn’t have to bowl in the team portion so they were fresh.”

Butler added that the individual results showed teams like Richmond, Pinecrest and Scotland, which dominated during the team competition, “dropped off during individuals.” 

“Overall, I feel like Richmond was one of the best schools and most represented all day long. It’s been a joy to watch them all season,” Butler closed. 

“A big credit of their performances goes to Steve and Angel Thompson. They’ve been so supportive of our program and have let us practice at Strikers to get better. I would like to give a big shout out to them and encourage the community to continue to support Strikers and God Father’s. They’ve been a big part of our success.”

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.