Franklin High School won the 2023 Unified Invitational Bowling Tournament in Smyrna on Friday, defeating Maryville in an instant classic that came down to the final frame.
Brian Fisher, a junior, was the athlete who completed the incredible comeback in the 10th frame of the second game. Coming into that last frame he knew he had to be almost perfect, and almost perfect is just what he was.
“I was thinking, I’m trying to win again,” Fisher said, with a hint of a knowing smile showing up on his face.
Fisher ended up doing just that, starting off the 10th frame with two strikes to put himself in a position where if he knocked down more than five pins on his final bowl of the frame, he would put Franklin High ahead in the Final.
He knocked down eight pins, which was just enough to help both him and his school to a second straight championship, 281-278 over Maryville.
The scoring was simple for this tournament, as each team would play two games and then add up their scores from both games to get the final score, and whoever had the higher score won. The Baker Trio format used by TSSAA for team bowling competitions was also in play here, so the athlete, Fisher, would bowl frames 1, 4, 7, and 10, unified partner one would bowl frames 2, 5, and 8, and unified partner two would bowl frames 3, 6, and 9.
Reilly Everhart, a freshman, was one of the unified partners for Franklin High, and despite her youth, had a strong mindset coming in.
“Considering that some of the people bowling today, such as myself, had never bowled in Special Olympics before, we were definitely a little nervous, but I would say we all felt pretty confident, said Everhart."
With Everhart being a freshman, this also was her first time participating in Unified Champion Schools high school Special Olympics events.
“It was a really positive experience,” Everhart said. "Everyone is really nice and supportive, and all of the teams played great.”
Fisher also wanted to shout out Special Olympics, thanking them for the “opportunity to bowl competitively,” while also wanting to thank everyone who “supported us in this area.”
“Definitely looking forward to celebrating and having fun,” Fisher said, as he embraced his mother in a very happy hug.
Franklin and Fisher certainly earned the right to celebrate, as they won their first two match-ups handily, beating Hixson 222-122 in the quarterfinals and then beating Valor College Prep 223-172 in the semifinals before edging out Maryville in the championship round.
Fisher will be a senior next year as well, and he will be looking to lead Franklin High School to its third straight state title next January.