Traditional high school winter sports are usually limited to basketball and wrestling.

But at Brookings-Harbor High School (BHHS), students are starting to get involved in the third winter sport - bowling.

For the third year now, BHHS is offering bowling, with more students participating this year than ever before.

andquot;I'm really excited for this year,andquot; Coach Randy Scruggs said. andquot;We've come a long way from our first year.andquot;

The bowling team will be able to field three boy's teams - one varsity and two JV teams - as well as a varsity girl's team.

andquot;We did terrible our first year, in terms of numbers,andquot; Scruggs said. andquot;But this is the fastest growing high school sport in the country. And it's an alternative for kids who don't play basketball or wrestle.andquot;

Scruggs is in his third year as coach of the team and is an accomplished bowler himself.

andquot;It's just a game I absolutely love and adore,andquot; Scruggs said. andquot;And I love coaching because hopefully I can make a positive influence on kids' lives.andquot;

This year's team is an experienced group of bowlers, with many of the core members of the team having been there from the start of it all in 2005.

andquot;We have a lot of experience this year,andquot; said junior Jake Campbell, who has been with the team all three years. andquot;We're starting to mature in our games and picking up spares we might not have two years ago. We should be able to make the semis in every match for varsity.andquot;

The goals are set relatively high for the team this year, but despite the expectations, the mood is generally light.

andquot;It's all about having fun,andquot; Scruggs said. andquot;What I want to see the kids do this year is get better, have fun and compete.andquot;

Senior Andrew Tompkins, another three-year member of the team, agreed that enjoying yourself and having a good time is one of the best parts about bowling.

andquot;It's a friendly environment and most of the teams usually get along,andquot; Tompkins said. andquot;Most of us bowl to have a great time. And if you have a good attitude, you'll usually bowl better.andquot;

While some may think that bowling meets are a serious, intense matter, full of focus and concentration, Scruggs sheds some light on the lighter side of bowling.

andquot;It's not prim and proper like some bowling leagues,andquot; Scruggs said. andquot;It's about having a good time and making some noise. It gets contagious.andquot;

Bowling fans and spectators will get a chance to witness the infectious fun experienced at a bowling meet as Azalea Lanes plays host to the first meet of the year, starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18.

Both the boys varsity and JV teams will be home while the girls will be bowling at Roxy Ann Lanes in Medford.

BHHS bowls in Oregon's District 4, which encompasses most of the Southern Oregon schools such as North and South Medford, Grants Pass, Crater, Roseburg and Ashland among others.

andquot;We bowl against a lot of bigger schools,andquot; Scruggs said. andquot;But I think it makes them more gung-ho and I think we have a good chance against those schools.andquot;

The format for these bowling meets begin with three full games, involving all five members of the team.

After the three games are bowled, athletes take a lunch and then resume by bowling 12 baker games.

A baker game is where each member of the team bowls two frames.

After 12 of these games are completed, the scores from the morning and afternoon are added up to determine which teams advance.

The top four teams move on to the semifinals.

In semifinal play, the fourth seed plays the third seed, with the winner moving on to play the second seed.

The top seed after the preliminary games automatically advances to the finals, facing off against the winner of the second and third/fourth seeds.

So, for bowlers, a team's preliminary performance may be just as important if they want to do well in the semifinals.

The five regular season meets this year are just tune-ups for the all-important district meet in early February, where the top three teams advance to state.

andquot;This is bowling,andquot; Scruggs said. andquot;You have your good days and your bad days, just like any other sport. But we're just ready to have some fun and bowl.andquot;