Woodridge girls bowling team aiming high in PTC
PENINSULA — Woodridge High School girls bowling head coach Keith Shovestull said he likes the way his young team has been progressing this season.
Through Jan. 20, the team was 4-7 overall and 3-0 in the Portage Trail Conference (PTC).
“I feel like the team is doing very well,” he said. “The expectations for us weren’t really high going into the beginning of the season, because we didn’t have a lot of experienced bowlers. We only have one senior, who has bowled on the varsity team for three years, and we have two juniors. We also have two sophomores and two freshmen, so really we are a pretty young team.”
The squad’s lone senior this season is Pauline Barry, who has been a team captain for two years.
“Pauline has come a long way,” Shovestull said. “When she first tried out, I believe her tryout average was below 100. Now, she is currently averaging a 146. It’s fun to coach Pauline. She’s very dedicated to the sport and she gives 100 percent all the time.”
In addition to Barry, the team’s other co-captain this year is sophomore Maia Steadman.
“Maia came out as a freshman last year, and she is a natural-born bowler,” the coach said. “She hadn’t done a lot of bowling before she came out for the team during her freshman year, but she is our highest-averaged bowler right now. She is currently averaging a 173, and she is, in most matches, our anchor.”
According to Shovestull, the only other bowlers on this year’s team with previous varsity experience are juniors Reyam Hadi and Katelyn Rinella.
“Reyam is a solid bowler. She currently averages a 109, which is a little bit low after finishing last season around 125, but she’s a pretty consistent bowler, and she’s dedicated to the sport. I’m glad to have her on the team,” the coach said. “Last year was Katelyn’s first year on the team, and she has our second-highest average this year with a 151. Katelyn has a unique style of bowling. She’s a right-hander and throws a backup ball, but she does it very well. I have tried to convince her to bowl the traditional style, and she tried it, but she seems to do better with the backup ball.”
Shovestull said the fifth spot on the team “fluctuates” between a trio of underclassmen: sophomore Ranya Hadi and freshmen Kaylee Alheit and Becca Kinney.
“One of those three usually rounds out the starting five,” the coach stated. “All three are brand new bowlers with no experience at all. I don’t think any of the three have even bowled in a league, so they are very new to the sport of bowling. Their goal is to learn something new every practice and improve their skills every practice.”
Next up, the team will take on Garfield High School tomorrow, Jan. 24, at 4 p.m. at Legend Lanes, and Shovestull said his bowlers will need to play their best to win over their league rival.
“I think the main thing for the girls team right now is converting their spares,” he said. “At our most recent tournament [the Rootstown Rover Sectional Preview], we left a lot of open frames and, of course, those open frames can kill scores. So I think being more consistent in converting spares will be the thing we work on most in practice this week.”
The league tournament will take place Feb. 1 at Bill White’s Akron Lanes, and Shovestull said his team will look to finish in the top two of the PTC’s County Division.
“That’s kind of what we’re shooting for,” he said. “The goal is to give Garfield a run for their money for the championship and, hopefully, finish no lower than second place.”
The team’s top realistic goals for the remainder of the season, the coach said, are to get better with every practice and to “do well at the sectional tournament” Feb. 8.
“If we can place in the top five at the sectional tournament, that would be great,” Shovestull said. “Really, we’re also building towards next year. With only one senior leaving us, all of these girls will hopefully be back next year. They’ll continue to work on their games and continue to get better.”
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