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Tough competition, growth bringing out best in Firestone boys bowling team

1/16/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

WEST AKRON — First-year Firestone High School boys bowling head coach Frank Krajcovic said he has seen “a lot of growth” he didn’t expect from the team this season.

“I really see a lot of growth in so many different students overall,” he stated. “When I was bowling in leagues, you would see people going up maybe five, six or eight pins in a season. But I’m seeing kids just increasing their pin counts significantly. This one kid [John Bowen] started out in the low 150s, and now he’s up there throwing in the 190s. Right before Christmas, he actually broke 200.”

Krajcovic called Bowen, who is in his sophomore year, a “classic bowler.”

“He throws the ball nice and consistent,” the coach said. “He has really good technique, and he’s always refining that. He’s not someone who throws a massive curve and is looking for big scores all the time with one ball. And because he is so consistent with how he bowls, he’s able to make adjustments and improve every week.”

According to Krajcovic, there are two senior starters on this year’s team: Robert Hart and Bryce Johnson.

“Robert has the highest average on our team, and I think he also had that last year. He will generally throw at least one game of 200 in every match we have. He’s the only player we have with an average over 200,” the coach said. “Bryce’s high score is 198, and his current average is 156. He’s the kind of person who always likes to have fun. When things are getting too serious and people are worrying too much about bowling, he’s the guy who can lighten the mood for everyone.”

One player who Krajcovic said he is excited to watch as he continues to develop as a bowler is junior Zachary Alexander.

“His high game so far this year is 195, and his average is 165, but lately he’s been shooting in the 180s,” the coach said. “You can always count on him in one of his games to shoot at least a 180. He’s one of those people who is always working on his game, and he’s someone I could see being in the 200s next year.”

The other starters on this year’s team are juniors Kody Von Stein and Rammi Qaqish.

“Kody has gone up 20-some pins from what he was bowling last year. He always has one big game every match, and he’s one of those guys that has the potential to change a game for you. He gets better every week when you watch him bowl,” the coach stated. “And Rammi is ‘Mr. Consistency.’ I know that every time he goes out there, he is going to give me between a 140 to a 150 game. I can count on him every single game to be consistent.”

Developing consistency for every bowler on the squad is the team’s next goal, Krajcovic said.

“You’re seeing some kids with growth that is amazing, and now it’s just about gaining consistency,” he said. “There are several kids on our team that can explode at any time and have massive games, but they don’t have them every time. They’re still young, and building consistency is what they’re aiming towards.”

Through Firestone’s first eight games, the team had a 3-5 overall record, but Krajcovic said the team has bowled better than its record might indicate.

“We’ve had a very demanding schedule so far,” he said. “We’ve been bowling against the top teams in our conference so far this season, and I expect a hard match every single time we go out there.”

Krajcovic said a realistic goal for his team this season is to finish in the top two of the City Series.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we were to be the City Series champs, and it would make me extremely happy,” he said. “I could live with second, but with as well as these kids have been bowling, I would love to see their hard work pay off.”

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