Woodridge boys bowling team looking to take home league title
PENINSULA — Head coach Keith Shovestull said he “will be disappointed” if this year’s Woodridge High School boys bowling team does not win the Portage Trail Conference County Division title.
“That’s our main focus right now, and I think this team has the ability to win a league championship this year,” he said. “We’re probably one of the more solid teams in the conference, and the other teams are shooting for us.”
Through Jan. 20, Woodridge was 1-0 in conference play and 5-4 in all games.
“Overall, I think we are right about where I expected to be,” the coach said. “We have bowled some pretty good teams and we’ve bowled in some pretty good tournaments.”
Shovestull described this year’s squad as “a very young team with experience,” led by team captains Landon Leipold and Brandon Fleming.
“Landon is our lone senior and after this season he will be a four-year letterman. He is having a solid year. He is currently averaging 185, and he’s kind of the sparkplug for the team,” the coach said. “Brandon Fleming is a sophomore, but he has bowled in a lot of youth and junior tournaments. Brandon, who has probably been bowling since he could walk, is averaging a 216. He is our anchor and our go-to guy.”
Sophomore Alex Rager and junior Caleb Francis also have varsity experience, Shovestull noted.
“Alex bowled with us last year, and he is averaging a 190. He’s also bowled in a lot of youth tournaments and junior league tournaments, so he has a lot of experience on the lanes,” the coach said. “And this is Caleb’s second year bowling for us. He is a much improved bowler this year. He has developed some very good mechanics.”
Shovestull said freshman starter Alex Fuller has bowled in leagues prior to joining the Woodridge boys bowling team and brings good experience to the team in his first year, while sophomore Michael LaGuardia and junior Matt Pope are in their first seasons on the team.
“Michael and Matt are the type of bowlers who come to practice early and they want to stay late,” the coach said. “Those two are very hard workers. They want to learn the game and become better bowlers. They have improved immensely.”
Shovestull said he likes how hard the whole team has been working.
“I like their work ethic, especially here in the last few weeks,” he said. “After one of our practices, the boys stayed and had their own little tournament amongst themselves. That just shows me that their hearts are really in it and they are really excited about bowling. They really want to get better.”
In addition, Shovestull credited assistant coach Tina Fleming with helping the team to improve throughout the season.
“She has been my assistant coach the past two years,” he stated. “She brings a lot of bowling experience and knowledge and has established a good rapport with the bowlers.”
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