The local high school bowling season came to an end this past weekend at the girls sectional competition.
Columbia (12-0), Gibault (5-7) and Waterloo (12-4) all bowled in the Mt. Vernon Sectional, with Columbia coming out on top locally in 10th place. Waterloo and Gibault took 12th and 14th place respectably.
“I think they did great. Very good considering there are very tough teams in our Sectional,” Columbia bowling coach Kevin Nowak said of his team that finished the historic regular season undefeated. The Lady Eagles also ended the season in first place in the Cahokia Conference.
The top two teams and top two individuals not on the advancing teams go on to the IHSA State Tournament. In the Mt. Vernon sectional, that included Salem and Mt. Vernon, along with Rebecca Stricklin of Harrisburg and Katelyn Budnicki of Belleville East.
“The girls ended up doing well, although the competition was tough,” Waterloo coach Matt Beck explained. “Girls bowling is harder to advance to state as a team or individual because there are 19 teams that compete, as opposed to 13 that compete for boys.”
Gibault coach Tom Fanara says he was proud of his team’s showing, especially considering that no one on the team had more than three years’ experience.
“I’m sure the bowlers had hopes of advancing to the State Finals, but there were other teams that had more experience than we did,” Fanara told the Republic-Times, adding that only one of those bowlers will be back next year, the rest he will lose to graduation.
Waterloo and Columbia each had a potential at-large individual in the Bulldogs’ Gabbie Hoge and the Eagles’ Becca Krebel.
There are a handful of potential at-large bowlers picked from each sectional aside from the two automatically advancing individuals. Those bowlers are then all put in the same pool and the top at-large bowlers from across the state advance.
Hoge, the Bulldog sophomore, had a total of 1,095 pins on the day and helped lead her team to a second place finish in the Mississippi Valley Conference. Coach Beck says he is looking forward to what Hoge can bring next season.
“She has been the girls team’s high average the last two years and brings experience to the team, which is always a big step in the right direction.”
“I’m confident that we can compete at the same or higher level next year than we were competing at this year.”
Columbia was one pin away from taking another bowler to State this year.
Senior Becca Krebel’s at-large bid was just one pin shy of landing her a spot at State.
“I am very proud of her,” her coach said. “She has worked hard all four years and has come a long way.”
In addition to bowling the team’s high average for the sea- son, her reliable consistency, and being the team captain this season, Krebel had an impressive Sectional showing. She bowled a total of 1,155 pins, took fourth place overall at the sectional and was the third place individual not on the top two advancing teams. She missed going to state on an automatic bid by 21 pins.
“I felt pretty good,” Krebel said about her performance at sectionals. “After the first round I knew I had a chance.”
Even though her chance didn’t pan out Krebel still says she is proud of herself and her team’s undefeated season– the first time in Columbia girls bowling history.
“It’s awesome. Last year we were one game away and this year we did it.”
Krebel says she plans to keep bowling all year round in a league and hopes to bowl on the team at the University of Central Missouri next year.