Saturday, May 15, 2021
May 15, 2021

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Bowling: Sparano helps Skyview make some noise

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
4 Photos
For Skyview junior McKenzie Sparano, bowling has always been a family affair.
For Skyview junior McKenzie Sparano, bowling has always been a family affair. (Photos by Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

For as long as she can remember, McKenzie Sparano has been bowling.

“I’ve been bowling for as long as I can walk,” Sparano said.

The Skyview junior’s grandmother, Kelly Sparano, was a professional bowler and operated Interstate Bowl in Portland for many years. McKenzie Sparano spent a lot of time there growing up.

And even though she’s been bowling so long, and so often — she says she bowls six days week — the sport never gets old for her.

“It’s a really good stress reliever for me,” Sparano said. “I go bowling all the time, even on Sundays sometimes. It’s fun, even if I go with my family. It’s fun, but it’s also competitive. And I am a competitive bowler.”

A two-time all-league bowler, Sparano had her big moment in high school bowling last January when she won the 4A district individual title, helping Skyview take the team title. Her 637 series (224-181-232) was the best of the day, beating out even the 3A district champion.

The team aspect is what Sparano enjoys most about high school bowling.

“In high school bowling, you get really close to your team, especially when you’re on varsity,” Sparano said. “You spend so much time together, you become like a family. You are with each other every day, you go to districts, you go to state, and you just bond. When you bowl in a league, even though you’re still part of a team, to me it’s more individual, individual, individual.”

A bout with tendinitis sidelined Sparano for a week this season. When she returned to bowling, she bowled a match with the junior varsity team to get back into form.

While there, Sparano tried to instill a little varsity spirit into her JV teammates by being especially loud with her in-match team cheers.

“I was trying to get the JV hyped,” Sparano said. “There are a couple of girls on the JV team who are neck-and-neck to be on varsity. I was telling them ‘Varsity is loud. When you’re on varsity, you have to be really loud, like really vocal.’ I was just trying to hype them up.”

The Skyview varsity team has been making noise of its own this season. Sparano is one of four returning all-league bowlers, along with Kira Glass, Athena Mantalas and Jaelyn Soto.

But this season, the bowler with the highest average is senior Nicole Hayes at 173.

“Nicole was on varsity her freshman year, but she wasn’t (her sophomore year) because she got bumped to JV,” Sparano said. “But now she’s back on varsity, and bowling really well. … I think our team will be really strong. Our goal is to win district again, and maybe win state.”

That’s a tall order, after the Storm finished sixth and seventh at state the past two years. But Sparano believes the Storm have the depth to compete.

But the biggest thing is just getting to experience state again with her Skyview family.

“Going to state together is so much fun,” Sparano said. “It was a really good experience. I think everyone should have the experience of going up to state with their team at least once in their high school career.”