Girls Varsity Bowling
PREP BOWLING: Redbirds teams setting different goals
AHS boys, girls approachingseason with different outlooks
Pete Hayes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Telegraph File Photo
Alton High bowler Alex Bergin, center, in congratulated by teammates at the 2017 IHSA Girls Bowling Regional Tourney at Bowl Haven. Bergin claimed the individual championship at the regional and is one of three returning seniors on this season’s team.
ALTON — Alton High’s Dave Meyer is getting a first-hand look at just how much versatility is required of a prep bowling team coach.
Meyer, whose AHS Redbirds bowlers split with Edwardsville Thursday at Bowl Haven, has a wealth of experience on his boys team, while the girls are facing the season high in potential but lacking in numbers.
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“We have seven seniors on the boys varsity team and at least four of those bowled at state last year,” Meyer said. “On the girls team, though, we have just five bowlers total; that’s the team. There’s no junior varsity, but they’re coming along, improving each week.”
Thursday against the Tigers, Alton’s boys team posted a 39-1, while the Redbirds girls team lost 25-15.
With the situations varying between the boys and girls teams, Meyer has found the need to set much different goals for each.”
“For our boys, the first goal is a threepeat as regional champs, wherever we go,” he said. “And we also want to go back to state, but we want to set a goal of advancing to the second day.”
The Redbirds’ seven seniors include four-year varsity bowler Matt Engdale, as well as Chris Duke, who’s been placed in the anchor spot by Meyer.
“(Engdale) can be a leader,” Meyer said. “He’s been there four years and he’s bowled at state twice. he knows what it’s like and he knows what it takes.
“Duke is solid; he’s also a leader and I’ve put him in the anchor spot. Along with Gavin (Taylor), those three can help us reach those goals and can help the rest of the bowlers, too.”
The other four seniors include Trevor Vallow, Lance Perkey, Jared Cochran and Ta’varion Ward. Sophomore Danny Leslie will also see varsity action.
Thursday in his team’s victory over Edwardsville, Duke led with 612 and Cochran was close behind with a 608.
The AHS boys rallied from eighth to finish third over the weekend at the Abel Lincoln Tournament in Springfield. Following Thursday’s action against Edwardsville, the Redbirds will head to Belleville’s Bel-Air Bowl for the Southern Illinois Classic Saturday.
“We’ll know more about our team after this weekend,” Meyer said. “We’ve got a chance to do well. We’re getting a lot more positive and our competitiveness continues to improve.”
At the Abe Lincoln Tourney, which was a six-game affair, AHS finished 50 pins behind second-place O’Fallon. Cochran finished fifth and Duke was seventh.
The Redbirds girls team, meanwhile, has followed the lead of seniors Alex Bergin, Robi Dublo and Ashley Westbrook early on. The rest of the lineup include junior Sami Dublo and freshman Regan Spinks.
Against the Tigers Thursday, Bergin led Alton with a 632 series. She also had high game with a 246. Rylee Lengendorf led Edwardsville with a 573 series and a 222 game.
As a junior last season, Bergin claimed the regional individual championship and helped lead the Redbirds to the fourth and final team slot at the ensuing sectional tourney. She posted a score of 1,246 to claim the regional crown. Robi Dublo was next-high for Alton with a 956 series.
With Bergin’s high score setting the pace, the Redbirds beat out Edwardsville for the final sectional berth, 4,894-4,620.
And while Bergin didn’t follow with a state-qualifying score at the sectional, the groundwork was in place, according to Meyer.
“Our first tournament, the girls finished 11th,” Meyer said. “The last one, we moved up to seventh. It’s steady improvement.
“We, of course, always want to qualify as a team for state,” he said. “But for sure, we’d like to send individuals.”
Westbrook finished third at the Abe Lincoln Tournament and Bergin was right behind her in fourth, three pins back. Bergin also had the fourth-highest game with a 268.
“Alex and Ashley are really helping the other girls keep their emotions in check while they’re bowling,” he said. “I’m much in favor of the bowlers getting excited for each other and there’s a lot of that.”
“But I coach, and it was taught before I got here, that when you step up to the lane, you tune out everything else.”