Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 | 12:32 a.m.
When Green Valley junior Teofisto Cipriaso stepped up to the lanes at Sunset Station on Jan. 21, he was just hoping to bowl well enough to help his team pull off an upset victory against Coronado.
It was eight frames into his first game when Cipriaso, the Gators' No. 3 bowler, realized he was onto something even bigger – a perfect 300 game.
"It was intense," he said. "My blood was pumping really hard. My legs felt like Jell-o."
Cipriaso ignored the crowd of people who gathered and proceeded to finish off his 12 straight strike, becoming the first high school bowler of the 2008-09 season to bowl a 300.
The accomplishment is a revered milestone for bowlers, as only a small percentage ever achieve a perfect game.
Clark Country School District bowling coordinator Barbara Youngman, who added Cipriaso's name to a travelling plaque for high school perfect games, said they occur about once a season.
Green Valley coach Corey Gehlken has seen only two perfect games in his eight years of coaching.
To see Cipriaso, who averages 193 a game, bowl a 300 was a surprise, Gehlken said.
"He started the season doing OK but he has been steadily improving and he had a great roll that day," he said.
The perfect game could not have come at a better time.
Green Valley (68-31) upset Coronado, the second place team in the Southeast Division, 7-2 to help lock up a third-place standing in the league.
"I wasn't even thinking about the 300. I just wanted to win," said Cipriaso, who once rolled a 299 in practice. "But somehow I just kept striking. Then I got to the eighth frame and that's when it popped in my mind that I had a chance to get a perfect game."
The team begins playoffs Feb. 12. Green Valley has been led by junior Brian Heist, who averages 203 a game.
"The last couple weeks, we have been bowling pretty well," Gehlken said. "My goal is for us to keep improving and when the playoffs come, be bowling at the top of our ability."
Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.