Girard bowler caps big set with perfection
By Greg Gulas
Prior to a recent match with Hubbard, Girard High School bowler Donny Bishop had twice rolled a 289.
Then came his third 289 and a perfect follow-up at McKinley Lanes, recording the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s first sanctioned 300. His 589 set established a new All-American Conference two-game standard.
“After that first game, I was just happy that we were winning,” Bishop said. “Hubbard is always a strong team.
“Going into the next game, I asked my coach [Pete Barta] if I would ever get over this 289 hump,” Bishop said. “He told me that only I have the power to do that.”
A junior, Bishop is the two-time defending AAC Blue Tier Most Valuable Player. He sports a 235 overall average and is coming off a second overall state finish in Division II a season ago.
His record-setting day included a spare in the opening frame of his first game, followed by 10 consecutive strikes and a nine count for a 289 finish.
He then capped it off with 12 consecutive strikes. He rolled 22 overall and left just 11 total pins.
“I really felt like I had a chance by my seventh shot because it just felt like I had something special unfolding,” Bishop said. “I was zoned in with every shot that I took. “I knew that I had already broken the school record by a pin after the 11th frame, feeling that if I did my job and threw the ball well then the ball would do the rest.
“The 12th frame isn’t the toughest for me frames No. 10 and 11 are tougher.”
The Indians won their first 12 matches. Barta credits a focused team and his two junior captains, Bishop and Logan Kondzich.
“Donny has 63 points, Logan 59 and both are one-two in points in the AAC Blue Tier,” Barta said. “Donny has a tremendous work ethic. He practices all the time, works very hard, is coachable and a real student of the game.
“He wants to keep getting better and wants the team to be the best that they can be. He’s been such a positive influence on the rest of the players.
Bishop noted that Barta’s brother and two-time Guinness world record holder, Adam Barta, also made an impact when he spoke to the team.
“He stressed that the key component to scoring well is when everyone scores well,” he said. “The energy escalates and you feed off one another.
“Coach is a real genie,” Bishop said. “If I’m even thinking about struggling, he’s right there to keep me on the straight and narrow.”
Conference commissioner Rick King was elated to hear of Bishop’s record-setting day.
“Over the years, we’ve had some tremendous teams in the All-American Conference and along with that, many noteworthy individual performances,” King said. “Donny is to be commended for a great two-game effort.”
Bishop hopes to study either electrical engineering or business in college and remains a strong candidate to keep his stranglehold on a third consecutive “Player of the Year” honor.
“The goal is very simple right now,” Bishop said. “I’m just focused on winning a state title, first as a team and then individually.”