SYCAMORE – Sycamore girls bowling coach Lance Webb was impressed and pleasantly surprised as he walked along the lanes at Four Seasons Bowling Alley during tryouts last week.
Webb thought depth would be hard to come by this season, but when he watched freshmen Kelly Drake and Kendall Colness, he saw their consistent motions on each shot and he could tell he had some experience on his hands.
“With bowling, it’s about who has a nice shot, not necessarily just who’s scoring the highest,” Webb said. “The people that are easiest to work with have a nice, robotic shot, it’s the same shot every time you throw it. Those are the ones that you know you can work with.”
Both Drake and Colness had experience in Saturday leagues, but Webb didn’t realize they’d be coming out for the Sycamore team this year.
The quantity of bowlers was also a shock.
Having enough experienced bowlers to fill up a varsity and junior varsity team has been a challenge in previous years. The opening day tryouts usually draw around 10 bowlers, if that, but this year, the number was 18.
Usually, the amount of bowlers coming out for Saturday leagues is a good indicator, but those numbers were down, making the influx of bowlers even more surprising.
“[In previous years] there weren’t a lot of girls there in general,” senior Kayla Webb said. “This year, this whole 18-girl thing is crazy … It definitely is [more fun with more girls]. You get to see different personalities and help each other out.”
Along with fellow 2011 Daily Chronicle All-Area selection Danielle Pivonka, Kayla will be counted on to lead the larger group of Spartans this season. She has improved significantly over the offseason, and she bowled a 279 just before the season began.
Her improvement in picking up spares has her thinking she can make the state meet this year.
“I worked on [picking up spares] really hard all summer,” Kayla said. “I practiced a lot during the week, just picking up all of my spares. I was out there all summer.”
The Spartans will have to make a big leap this year to contend for the state meet after finishing eighth at the DeKalb Sectional last year, six spots away from a qualifying spot.
But with a surprising influx of experienced bowlers, the Spartans are thinking big.
“When you have girls that are in the Saturday leagues that know what being on varsity is all about, they’re excited to get up there,” coach Webb said. “For us, if we’re up in the middle-upper, last year we were okay with it, and this year we’d like to be closer to the top in each tournament.”
Coach: Lance Webb
Last year: Finished eighth at the DeKalb Sectional
Key returners: Kayla Webb, sr.; Danielle Pivonka, sr., Lindsey Yunker, jr.
Impact newcomers: Brittany Hearn, jr.; Kelly Drake, fr.; Kendall Colness, fr.
Outlook: Coach Lance Webb knows he can count on Kayla Webb and Pivonka to carry the team, but he’s hoping he can get the two freshmen to contribute solid performances. It will take a significant improvement to qualify for the state meet, but at the very least, Kayla and Pivonka both have a chance to qualify individually.
Webb’s take: “We have a lot of girls who went out … I was kind of shocked at how good the freshmen were.”
Coach: Bill Holland
Last year: Finished 15th at the state meet
Key returners: Jessica Eberly, sr.; Maddy Jouris, jr.; Kodi Underwood, sr.
Impact newcomers: Kerstin Phelan, fr.; Edith Reynolds, sr.; Kacie Boken, jr.; Abby Kuzmanich, sr
Outlook: Holland has six newcomers to choose from to fill the final two spots on his varsity squad, and he thinks they’ll help the Barbs qualify for the state meet for the fourth consecutive season. Eberly returns after finishing 34th overall at the state meet, and she’s already thrown a 300 game in her Saturday league, and a perfect game in practice.
Holland’s take: “Really, [Eberly, Jouris and Underwood] could already carry us to state. We just need to put some nice glue in between those layers of excellence … We’d really like the two seniors to have four years of going to state. It’s realistic.”
Coach: Jim McKnight
Last year: Finished 13th in the DeKalb Sectional
Key returners: Angela Charhut, sr.; Ellissa Eckert, sr.; Morgan Wojciechowski, sr.; Amanda Strayze, sr.; Anne Salerno, sr.; Christy Crews, jr.
Impact newcomers: Karizza Sotelo, sr.
Outlook: McKnight is tempering the goals for his team after finishing 13th in the sectional last season, but the Knights are experienced. With six seniors and junior Christy Crews, the Knights top finisher at the sectional return, the Knights think they can be more competitive than in previous years.
McKnight’s take: “Our goal is to be competitive. We’re hoping that these six seniors that we have, along with the others are going to show their experience and make us a little more competitive.”