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Warriors start with champs

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Aug. 11, 2003
Public high schools will soon have a chance to offer a varsity letter in an non-traditional high school sport after the Mississippi High School Activities Association approved bowling as a sanctioned sport last month.
The decision was announced on July 22 after an agreement was reached with the Mississippi Bowling Association to pay for virtually all the costs of the program.
The decision calls for bowling to be a team event played from scratch. Many of the details, including whether bowling will be a fall or spring sport, remain unresolved.
Since the MHSAA only recently approved the measure, it has not yet been determined when competitive play will begin. Proctor said once enough schools participate, the MHSAA will sanction a state championship in bowling.
Proctor said the first step is to develop a written agreement where the MBA pledges to pay for venues, balls, shoes and coaching.
That may not be enough to spur bowling programs at some schools. Dwane Taylor, the director of athletics at Southeast Lauderdale High School, said when the decision was announced many people thought it was a joke.
According to John Berglund, executive director of the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America, more than half of the high school bowlers nationwide do not compete in any other varsity sports.
Proctor hopes the move will encourage participation among students who have not competed before in high school athletics.
Berglund says Mississippi is only the 11th state to sanction high school bowling, although more than 30 states have club bowling in high schools.
Berglund said the national push for high school bowling has been a relatively recent one. The eventual goal is to organize a national championship for high school bowling.
Proctor said bowling will likely start off as an exhibition sport before a championship is organized.
Still, Taylor remains skeptical.