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Springfield girls bowling team aiming at another league title

12/12/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Last year, the Springfield High School girls bowling team finished with a 17-2 overall record and a perfect 10-0 mark in the Portage Trail Conference (PTC) Metro Division. The team won its second straight league title and qualified for the state tournament, where Springfield ended the season as the 14th ranked team in the state.

Head coach Matthew Graves said he would love to see this year’s squad achieve that kind of success as well, but stated the team’s goals start on a smaller scale.

“Our goal is to get better every day,” he said. “There are a lot of good bowlers, and I love to see them improve and grow as a team. We have nice young ladies that make it fun.”

Looking to help lead the team this season, Graves said, are a pair of seniors.

“Kylie Jackson missed much of last year, but has been on the team for two years. She has worked hard to improve and is bowling quite well,” the coach said. “Jenna Messenger is in her second year of bowling. She’s come along, and she continues to work hard. She’s at every practice trying to get better.”

According to the coach, the strength of this year’s team is the quality of its junior class.

“We return a lot of juniors, including PTC Metro Bowler of the Year Chelsea Crihfield, and second team All-PTC bowler Savannah Nestor, who is a very good bowler and has not gotten the league recognition she deserves,” he said. “Junior Ami George is in her second year of bowling. She bowled mostly JV [junior varsity] last year, but improved last year and contributed on varsity. Now, she is a starter. Hannah Jordan — a junior in her third year of bowling — is also now bowling varsity. She has made quite an improvement over the last year.”

One major concern for the team, however, is the injury of first team All-PTC bowler Amanda Smith, who is scheduled to miss most of the season due to a knee injury.

“We have some depth issues and we are inexperienced,” Graves said. “When Amanda has to have her knee surgery, we will need someone to step up. A couple more weeks and she’ll be done probably.”

Springfield got out to a 3-2 start to the season, and Graves said he is seeing signs of continuous improvement.

“We struggled there at the very beginning — we lost to tough teams in Garfield and Jackson that have gone to the state tournament and will go again this year — but we are getting focused and starting to bowl really well,” the coach said. “We just beat Lake [on Dec. 10] and we bowled our highest score ever. We hit a school record by bowling a 2,611. We have a couple of young bowlers who weren’t on the team last year, and they’re starting to get their confidence. They’ve worked hard in practice, and they’re bowling much better.”

Also of note this season, Graves said, the team has made a new addition to its coaching staff.

“We have added Rob Crihfield as an assistant. He is very knowledgeable and a great teacher of the sport,” he stated. “Kerry Bever, who has assisted for the past two years, is still on staff. Kerry is also a great coach.”

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