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Buchtel girls bowling team taking aim at City Series title

12/27/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

WEST AKRON — Buchtel High School girls bowling head coach Robin Garnett said her team’s objective this season is clear: “Our goal is to win the city series.”

This year marks Garnett’s second season as the team’s coach. Last season, she said, the team “placed third in City Series play, beating East out of the ranking by 56 pins.”

“The strength of this year’s team lies with our varsity players. All of them are returning vets,” she said. “We are looking to improve by continuing to work with the number of returning veterans we have. We are working on getting their scores up.”

Another strength this season, Garnett said, is the size of the team’s roster. The coach said there were only seven bowlers on the team in 2011-12, and three of them graduated following the season.

“This year, we have 12,” she stated. “We have the option this year of moving girls around to get the best lineup. This year’s team is half and half, as far as a young team vs. returning veterans. We have seven seniors and five underclassmen.”

The seniors this year are Autym Caldwell, Martell Graham, Mariah Portis, K’Jae Robinson, Kayla Thomas, Elia Walters and April Whitfield.

“Martell is the only returning player. Out of 25 games last year, Martell’s average from last year was 129,” Garnett said. “Already this year, she is surpassing that. Her scores are all improving. And she’s the captain of the team. She cheers on the team and encourages the other players. She’s always willing to offer help.”

The coach said the team’s other seniors are all new to the sport this season.

“Autym, Mariah, K’Jae, Kayla, Elia, and April are all JV [junior varsity] players,” she stated. “K’Jae is one we’re looking to sub in on varsity.”

In addition to Graham, the team’s other returning bowlers are Shelby McMillian, Ciara Thompson and Robbi Greene.

“We’re looking for Shelby to continue to improve,” the coach said. “As for Robbi and Ciara, their scores have actually improved a lot. I can tell they have taken their time outside of team practices and worked, because they have really picked up on their games.”

According to Garnett, Marshay Shavers and Mariah Brooks are bowlers “to look out for” both this year and in the future.

“This is their first year and their scores are improving,” she said. “Marshay Shavers is a sophomore that is focused and shows raw talent. She is assertive and willing to put forth the effort outside of practices to improve her game. This is Mariah’s first time bowling and what I’ve noticed out of her is that her scores are getting better and better. We’re trying to move her up into varsity position.”

So far this season, the Buchtel girls bowling team is out to a 1-3 start.

“We lost to Tallmadge (1,878-1,691), St. Vincent-St. Mary (2,089-1,546) and Our Lady of the Elms (1,743-1,494). And we beat East (1,511-1,080),” Garnett said. “We have improved.”

To further that improvement, Garnett said, Buchtel’s bowlers are working on ways to improve their scores.

“We’re trying to get the girls to work on their approach and focusing on hitting their headpin,” she said.

Next up for the team is a match against Ellet on Jan. 7 at 4 p.m. at Riviera Lanes.

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