In its second season, the bowling team made great strides, sending three bowlers to the district tournament. On the girls side, senior captain, Aly Rock, finished in a tie for 26th ending her career on a high note after barely missing the district cut last year.
Two boys, both underclassmen, also qualified. In his first season, freshman Aaron Brown finished 67th while sophomore Max Berk made his second appearance at the district tournament a top-10 performance, placing 8th overall.
Given the relative youth of the program and each team, it’s a remarkable accomplishment.
“This year the boys team was young, and we were better, which is a great combination,” noted head coach, Dan Olexio. Only two upperclassmen, seniors Kevin Beaulieu and captain Victor Liu, anchored the seven-man squad, but the group ended up with a better win-loss overall, and individual scores also improved across the board.
The girls will have an exciting race in the preseason to see who makes it onto the varsity team, as four spots will be vacant after the departures of seniors Rabia Khan, Audrey Patterson, Rock, and Carolyn Vara.
“It was good that we were able to maintain some momentum,” remarked coach Olexio, especially considering his observations about other other schools where interst in the bowling program quickly fizzles out.
In fact, interest has only seemed to increase, almost to a breaking point. “We almost have more people than we can accommodate,” coach points out, although this provides healthy competition for a varsity slot and also improves team chemistry.
It’s a quality Olexio is ecstatic about, especially since bowling is often considered an individual sport. He compares it to his time working with the cross country team, a sport that calls for a similar style of coaching.“In cross country there are very prescribed workouts at practice, but in the off-season, there’s the individual, practice-on-your-own kind of sport, and bowling has that element,” says coach Olexio.
Sometimes, this leads to an emphasis on individual results, but so far, Olexio has seen more focus on the team, and praises them for it: “More athletes are starting to see the team aspect of both of those sports, and I hear them articulate this to other people.”
Another big change for next year is that bowling will have two divisions, so Academy will no longer be facing the likes of Gahanna and the Westerville high schools in the postseason. Given the strong team performance last year, this shift puts Academy in a prime position to qualify as a team to the district tournament for the first time on both sides.
Look for the bowling team to continue its upward trajectory, as it continues to strike down milestones.
Written by Andy Li’13