The bowling season may have just begun, but area coaches have high hopes for their teams on this young season.Click here to purchase your bowling team photos.
The Hawks are returning only two senior bowlers — Julianna Hollman and Caleb Weiler. On the girls team, the rest of the team is new this year.
“Some of the new bowlers are sophomores, so this year will be good for them in that they will gain the experience of varsity bowling,” coach Tom Fanara said.
The boys have several familiar faces in junior Austin Doerr and sophomores Adam Zeveski, Connor Meehan and John Harbaugh.
“All of the bowlers have worked hard over the summer to improve their game. All indications are that they will have a successful year,” Fanara said.
The team’s goals are simple but important — to improve over last year, mainly by reducing or eliminating entirely open frames.
“One of the biggest things that I try to impress on the bowlers is to pick spares,” Fanara said. “Not every ball will be a strike, but a missed spare is a lost opportunity. By bowling a clean game, the chances we win the game are that much better.”
Fanara also expects to see the bowlers become more adept at making mental corrections as matches progress.
“Last year’s team was a hard-working team that was very supportive of each other, where they were having a good day or had a day where they were struggling,” Fanara said. “I think that it is important that the bowlers are supportive of each other’s efforts.
“A good attitude is contagious and a bad attitude is destructive.”
The Columbia Eagles are returning senior boys bowlers Spencer Jerome, Dallas Schroeder and Grant Phelps, as well as sophomore Cameron Touchette, who made it to the state tournament last year, and head coach Bruce Jeffrey reports has continued to improve over last year.
For the girls, seniors Rachael Ribolzi and Miranda Rodenhofer are back and poised to play important roles on a team that is already strong, Jeffrey said.
“We also have a few freshman boys and girls that are very talented and bowled in the off- season in leagues and tournaments,” Jeffrey said.
The team’s goal this season is to continue to improve and to bring former junior varsity and entering freshman bowlers up to a higher level of competition, Jeffrey said.
As last year’s team found its groove last year, Jeffrey noted they became more cohesive and confident. He expects this year’s team to build on this confidence and overcome obstacles, while becoming quicker to adapt to changing lane conditions and different characteristics of the road venues where they bowl.
And as long as his bowlers are able to retain focus and bounce back from the odd disappointing roll or match, he feels they will have a successful season.
“There are a number of athletes that if they keep working hard they can perform at a higher level of competition and may qualify for some scholarships,” Jeffrey said.
The Bulldogs are returning a team full of experience this year: Gabbie Hoge, Payge Hunter, Megan Vogt, Clare Jouglard, and Sam Matzig on the girls side, and Joe Baldwin, Hayden Bode, Michael McGarry, Tyler McIver, Zack Reichert, and Troy Aldridge are back for the boys.
And with all that experience comes high hopes from head coach Matt Beck.
“Our goals for the team this year are to come in first or second for boys and girls within their conference, the Mississippi Valley Conference,” Beck said. “We have very capable teams that are able to score big when the pressure is on.”
One quality Beck expects to see carry over from last year’s squad is the connection and teamwork among the players.
“Last year, both (the girls and boys) teams were able to help each other out reading the lanes and helping each other adjust,” Beck said. “I’d like to see that continue.”
He also will be looking to the girls this year to post higher scores while he expects the boys to fill in some gaps left on the roster.
“Two freshmen, Kristen Goersch and Makensy Umscheid, are taking two of the varsity roles, as well as Clare Jouglard, who has improved her average and skills tremendously,” Beck said. “When we combine these with the already high averages of the other girls, we should be very successful.
“We also have Tyler McIver and Troy Aldridge out for a portion of the season. Some of the JV players will have to fill their spots, so I will be looking to those players for increased dedication and time spent working with the coaches and players.
To realize the success Beck knows this bowlers are capable of, they are going to have to keep of their confidence and remain determined.
“They must believe in each other as well, and pick each other up when bad breaks happen,” he said. “Overall, to be successful they must be consistent and learn to adjust to changing lane conditions.”