For the DeKalb boys bowling team, bake sales and 50-50 drawings are almost as important as spares and strikes.
In their second year of existence, the Barbs aren’t receiving any funding from the school, so they have to pay their own way by holding fundraisers and working for tips at amateur bowling meets. While it can be a pain for high schoolers to give up their Saturdays, coach Ernie Pinne thinks working to earn money for lane time and equipment has its upside.
“I think it gives them a little more sense of pride and a little more work ethic,” said Pinne, who is volunteering for the second straight season. “They have some sweat equity in this, and I think that really helps.”
While Pinne hopes funding from the school is somewhere on the horizon, he doesn’t see it coming any time soon.
Money doesn’t appear to be an issue for now. The Barbs were so successful in their fundraising efforts last season they have money left over.
Last season, the Barbs were worried about raising money and establishing a new program, so Pinne didn’t set many goals. The team produced results despite having no expectations, finishing third at the Northern Illinois Big 12 tournament before bowing out in sectionals.
“We were starting a new program, so I didn’t really set any goals other than finishing fourth in the conference,” Pinne said.
This year, expectations are higher with several returners, even if they are young returners.
Junior Seth Pinne is the oldest returner on the team, and he’s joined by three returning sophomores, including Sean Mattingly, who finished sixth at the conference tournament.
While the Barbs lost three seniors from last year’s team, Pinne is setting his sights high, targeting a second-place finish in the conference and at sectionals, which DeKalb is hosting, and challenging four of his players to raise their average to 210, about a 20-pin increase from last season.
He thinks they can do that simply by working on picking up spares, an important facet of the game that he said players seldom want to emphasize.
“I firmly believe they can do that if they work hard and pick up a couple more spares each game,” Pinne said. “At that level [a 20-pin improvement is] pretty steep. If I didn’t believe they could be there, I wouldn’t try to put pressure on them.”
While the expectations are growing at DeKalb, there’s little pressure on the current group to win this year as all of this year’s returners are slated to return next season.
But Pinne thinks that if things go right, this season has the possibility of being special.
“If we can get everything together, I think we have a really good chance of qualifying for the state meet. If we don’t this year, we definitely should next year.”
2012 BOYS BOWLING TEAM PREVIEW CAPSULES
Coach: Ernie Pinne (second season)
Last season: Finished eighth at the Oregon Sectional
Key returners: Seth Pinne, jr.; Will Cotz, so.; Sean Mattingly, so.; Michael Belluzzi, so.
Impact newcomers: Gabe Olalde, so.; Ranzy Collins, fr.; Scott Belluzzi, sr.; Sean Zarek, sr.; Kelan Graddy, jr.; Rob Olsen, so.
Outlook: The Barbs lost three seniors from last year’s team, but Daily Chronicle All-Area bowlers Sean Mattingly and Seth Pinne return to what should be an even better DeKalb team in the program’s second year. The team finished third at the conference tournament last year, and Pinne is expecting an even better finish this season.
Pinne’s take: “We’re young this year … My expectations are that we’ll finish second in the conference, second at the conference tournament, and second at the sectionals.”
Coach: Aaron Williams (sixth season)
Last season: Finished sixth at the Oregon Sectional
Key Returners: Brendan Fank, jr.; Kyle Bonnell, jr.; Alex Burchard, jr.; Zack Kroeger, sr.; Colin Eggleson, sr.
Outlook: The Spartans have loads of experience returning and may make a run at the state meet after a disappointing finish to the season in 2011. Sycamore will have to fill in for last year’s Daily Chronicle Boys Bowler of the Year Tony O’Donnell, but they have plenty of returners who can make up for the loss.
Williams’ take: “I expect good things to happen with this team this year, they all work hard in practice to improve their game, they are all friends outside of the bowling alley … It's just going to come down to our team sticking together when we bowl bad and picking each other up when that happens.”