Boys’ bowling prepares for senior-heavy season

The 2018-19 boys’ bowling team won second place at the state competition last year, and hope to achieve the same goal this season.

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The 2018-19 boys’ bowling team won second place at the state competition last year, and hope to achieve the same goal this season.

Ella Fixsen, News Editor

As the De Soto High School boys’ bowling team begins its season, many members of the team are setting high expectations for their senior-filled unit. This year, returning seniors are dominating the roster, with a few new faces being added to the team.

Head bowling coach JR Kindred believes that the upperclassmen on the team will achieve a lot this season. The team placed second at State in the 2018-19 season, and Kindred hopes to reach those expectations once again, if not exceed them. 

“With so many seniors that have been together since freshman year, they know how they bowl, and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work with them, so I think this season is going to be even better than last year,” Kindred said. 

Although the season hasn’t officially started, Kindred has already seen the impact that the seniors are having on new members of the team. 

“At tryouts, it was very encouraging to see that the seniors were actually helping out the underclassmen,” Kindred said. “During tryouts, it’s every man for himself, but it was nice to see them [the seniors] helping those out that were new.” 

Kindred was not the only person who noticed this atmosphere at tryouts. The seniors also realized their ability to help the newer bowlers. 

“The environment of the team this year is very relaxed and fun. Everybody was helping each other at tryouts, and I think it will be the same at practice,” senior captain Tyler Lovegren said.

Along with the amount of talent the seniors bring to the table, they also bring experience and leadership that can help the underclassmen members heighten their skills. 

“A big positive with so many seniors is that they can help groom the freshmen and sophomores that are being added to the team,” Kindred said. “We have two teams, varsity and junior varsity, so I don’t get the opportunity to spend as much time with every person. But having those senior leaders there, I can pair them up with underclassmen and they can give them some of the tips that I would want them to have.”

Another benefit of having so many experienced bowlers is the familiarity they have with the sport, which can transfer well to many of the newer members. 

“One of the biggest things [about being a successful bowler] is being used to the meet setting. Being a freshman or sophomore at a meet for the first time and having that kind of pressure is difficult. You have a lot of spectators around and a lot of competition, as far as other schools,” Kindred said. “So the seniors help to put them at ease, because they have been there before, and showing that they can perform well will give underclassmen encouragement.”

A lot of the younger members are appreciative of the seniors, and hope to meet high standards with their guidance.

“[The seniors] have all given me great tips. I am looking forward to learning how to be welcoming and observant to help me do better,” freshman member Colby Lovegren said. “I want to make State, and I think we can do it with this team.”

Having so much talent on the roster gives the team high hopes of winning something they have long awaited: the Cat Cup. The Cat Cup is a bowling competition between DHS and district rival Mill Valley High School, in which a winner is decided based on combined team scores. While many of the seniors have been on the team since their freshman year, they have never received this award. 

“I am most looking forward to beating Mill Valley in the Cat Cup,” senior member Brody Boehm said. “We haven’t been able to do that since I’ve been on the team, and I joined my freshman year.” 

“I want to get that Cat Cup, definitely with this team, because they’ve been there since the beginning,” Kindred said.

While having experienced seniors may be highly beneficial to the team, they are expecting to face various challenges throughout the season.  

“The biggest challenge this year to going to be trying to prepare and coach the underclassmen,” Boehm said. 

Another challenge is getting a team of this size to State. 

“I think the hardest thing this year will be getting the entire team to State, but also figuring out who to take to state since there are so many kids that can improve or are at the point to be on Varsity,” Tyler said. 

Even though Kindred has high expectations for the returning boys, he does not want them to feel more pressure because of their status on the team. 

“The biggest challenge is going to be trying not to live up to the standard of last year. We did really well last year, and it would be awesome to have another season like that, if not better,” Kindred said. “I just think the biggest challenge for them will be to not hang their heads if they don’t perform quite as well or don’t achieve the things they feel like they are required to. I just want them to do their best.” 

For Kindred, coaching the team this season will be exciting, but also very sentimental due to his strong connection to many of the senior boys. 

“The bittersweet thing about this year is that this is my fourth year as coach, so this will be my first full cycle of students that I’ve had since the beginning. It’s been a blessing to see how they’ve developed over the last three or four years,” Kindred said.