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Spring-Ford’s Doan, Pottsgrove’s Swavely aiming for returns to state success

Spring-Ford's Mason Doan, left, and Pottsgrove's David Swavely were in action when the Rams met the Falcons Wednesday at Limerick Bowl. Doan is the reigning Pa. singles champion while Swavely was runner-up in 2021. (Dennis Weller - MediaNews Group)

LIMERICK >> High school bowling is relatively new to the area, especially in the case of the Pioneer Athletic Conference, which does not yet have enough teams to make it an official sport.

Despite that, the area is home to two of the best boy bowlers in the state in Spring-Ford’s Mason Doan – last year’s individual state champion – and Pottsgrove’s David Swavely, the 2021 state runner-up.

Those two were in action Wednesday afternoon at Limerick Bowl, where the Rams and Falcons met in boys and girls matches. Spring-Ford won the boys match 4-0, winning all three games and also recording the better overall total score of 3,072 to Pottsgrove’s 2,694. Doan rolled a 768 series, including a 268 in the final game.
Last year, Doan practically came out of nowhere to win the state title. This season, two of his obvious goals are to get back there and win it again.

“I started out slow this year, but I’m getting there,” he said. “I had high expectations after last year. I should not have had high expectations.”

Doan would also like to break the team’s individual record for a series of 783. His highest so far is 780. Last year he tied the single game mark of 300 and set a record for average for a season at 231.

But even more than those individual goals, he is hoping that the team can quality for states for the first time in the program’s five-year history.

“That would be amazing,” he said. “That would be my biggest goal, the team making states.”

The Rams recently won a tournament to qualify for the Eastern Regional for the fifth straight time, but they have yet to qualify for states.

That goal certainly seems to be within reach after they set team records for a game of 1,235 and a series at 3,309 earlier in the week against Norristown. In that match, three Rams – Ben Larck, Michael Haley and Doan – rolled 700 series.

“They have a good team chemistry, a good bond, and the kids seem to get along together,” said Spring-Ford coach Ryan Souder, whose team is now 43-12-1. “It also helps having Mason Doan. When you have one of the best bowlers in the state, it helps everybody get better.”

“It’s amazing,” said Doan. “After the first year I bowled on the team, everybody graduated except me. Over the years, we started accumulating freshmen. The team chemistry filled up. This year, we now have as big a chance as before.”

Swavely, who rolled a 634 series Wednesday, hopes to make it back to states after missing out last season and is working to peak at the right time.

“The best time to peak is definitely February and early March,” he said. “If you can start being really good the middle of February, it gives you a shot of getting to regionals. It’s a big goal, not only for myself at singles, but for the team to qualify for states.

“There’s definitely room for improving my scores and the team scores. As a team, we have very good chemistry. If we can focus on minor things, we should be good.”
Doan also thinks he and his team need to work on the small things heading into the Eastern Regional on March 3 and 4.

“Everybody has bad days,” he said. “Everybody misses spares. You have to work on the smallest things … working on your release, spares and spin of the ball.”

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