ROCKINGHAM — On paper, the pins line up for the Richmond Senior High School girls’ bowling team to have another successful season.
With six returning starters, all of whom are multi-year bowlers, the Lady Raiders are up to the task of trying to reclaim the Sandhills Athletic Conference title this winter.
Perhaps more impressive, those same bowlers helped the Lady Raiders finish as the runner-up in the state championship tournament a season ago.
But the team and fifth-year head coach Ralph Butler know the Lady Raiders have to perform on the lanes if they want to build off of an historic season.
An eight-bowler roster is highlighted by seniors Riley Bohman, Ashlyn Bouldin, Molly Erwin, Addison Massey and Cadence Thompson — who is also the reigning SAC singles champion.
Massey and Thompson were also named to the All-State team at the end of their junior season. Both the team and singles titles were the first in Richmond’s history, which began during the 2017-18 school year.
Sophomore Ava Thompson, who was a big contributor last season, returns to add depth, while senior newcomers Savannah Jordan and Carley Leggett will look to contribute.
Richmond, and the six other SAC teams, will bowl against each other twice during the regular season. All matches will follow the Baker format, which will see five bowlers roll two frames apiece during each match.
Rolling four games, a point is awarded for each victory. The team that has the highest pin total will also receive another point for a possibility of five points, which determines the conference standings.
The team has spent the last several weeks preparing for the upcoming season, putting in dozens of games at Striker’s Bowling Center.
In order to claim another conference title, Butler expects teams like Pinecrest and Scotland high schools to continue to be perennial threats. He’s also not discounting the level of play of the other four schools — Hoke County, Lee County, Southern Lee and Union Pines.
Last season, Scotland finished second in the conference standings and Richmond defeated the Lady Scots in all three meetings, including the conference championship match.
The Lady Raiders averaged a game score of 132.8 pins last winter, and notched an average of 435.8 pins for each match.
The Lady Raiders officially begin their regular season on Thursday at the Sandhills Bowling Center in Aberdeen. Richmond will face Southern Lee and Pinecrest, starting at 4 p.m.
The Richmond Observer will continue its coverage of the Richmond girls’ bowling team this winter.
Below is the complete 2022-23 schedule for the Lady Raiders. All matches are against SAC opponents and will be played in either Aberdeen or Laurinburg, beginning at 4 p.m.
Dec. 1 vs. Southern Lee, Pinecrest (Aberdeen)
Dec. 8 vs. Hoke County, Union Pines (Laurinburg)
Dec. 15 vs. Lee County, Bye (Aberdeen)
Jan. 5 vs. Scotland, Southern Lee (Laurinburg)
Jan. 12 vs. Pinecrest, Hoke County (Aberdeen)
Jan. 19 vs. Union Pines, Lee County (Laurinburg)
Jan. 26 vs. Scotland, Bye
Feb. 7 SAC individual and team championships