The high school bowling season is rolling along, and local teams are preparing for the push leading into Christmas break.Pictured is Columbia sophomore bowler Cameron Touchette, who advanced to the state tournament last spring as a freshman. (Teryn Schaefer photo)
Hawks head coach Tom Fanara’s teams are in a bit of a rebuilding year after graduating his entire boys varsity team two years ago, and his entire girls varsity team last year.
“My varsity boys team has some experience, so they’re going to do well,” Fanara said. “The varsity girls team only has one girl who has bowled before, so it’s going to be a challenging year.”
The boys and girls records so far on the season are 0-2 and 0-1, respectively.
“Juliana Holman is the only person who has bowled in the past,” Fanara said. “I expect her to be the highest average. This is her third year, so she has some experience and she’s doing well.
“Caleb Weiler is a senior. I would expect him and Austin Doerr to be very similar in average. They’re our experienced bowlers and have improved quite a bit over the past few years. Connor Meehan is also improved, and Adam Zevesky has also moved up from JV to varsity this year and has improved quite a bit,” Fanara said.
The Hawks took on Freeburg on Tuesday night, Cahokia on Wednesday and Lebanon on Thursday, all at home, and resume action after the holidays on Jan. 8, in Cahokia.
“These are the last three matches we have before Christmas break,” Fanara said. “Hopefully we can get some wins under our belt and look forward to the start of the new year and build on that.”
The Eagles bowlers are undefeated on the young season, with the varsity boys and girls boasting 2-0 records.
“So far the season is going as expected,” said head coach Bruce Jeffery. “We have a few new bowlers that have stepped in and took the place of last year’s seniors. We have three returning seniors that have really improved on their mental aspect of the game and have shown both leadership and maturity.”
In years past, the three local teams of Columbia, Gibault and Waterloo would be preparing for the annual Monroe County Cup tournament, but this year’s match has been cancelled, and each school is doing its own thing.
The Eagles will hold their own tourney this weekend, the Columbia Kegel Challenge Tournament, headed up by new assistant coach Keith Jeffery.
“So far we have teams coming in from as far as Taylorville, Freeburg, Alton and Belleville East, to name a few. Then in January we will be participating in the Panthers Invitational Tournament,” said Bruce Jeffery.
After this weekend’s Kegel Challenge, the Eagles will be on a break until Jan. 7, when they take on Cahokia at West Park Bowl.
The Bulldogs are off to a “great start,” in the words of head coach Matt Beck, and he has a great deal to be proud of his teams for.
“Both (boys and girls) varsity teams are posting very impressive numbers,” Beck said. “We are working hard as a team to get a win each night.
The girls varsity team, with an overall record of 3-0, finished in fourth place out of 23 teams in the Kahok Tournament in Collinsville, which is the highest any Waterloo girls bowling team has ever finished in the annual tournament, according to Beck. The boys’ record is 4-1.
In terms of average, Gabbie Hoge, Michael McGarry and Hayden Bode have led the way for the varsity teams.
“There is not one true captain of each team, as they work well as a team and all help each other out when one is struggling,” Beck said.
He said his bowlers are looking forward to competing against Highland, Mascoutah and Jerseyville in upcoming matches.
“Each of these teams are very tough in conference each year,” he said.
The Bulldogs take on Triad Wednesday at West Park Bowl and Highland Thursday at West Park Bowl, travel to East Alton Dec. 16, and will play in the Alton Invitational Dec. 23, before taking a break over Christmas and resuming play Jan. 4, at the Panther Invitational in O’Fallon for the boys, and both girls and boys against Metro-East Lutheran Jan. 6 at home.