Girls’ varsity bowling team ends strong, statebound team member places third

Shubhangi Joshi, Business Manager

Just a couple hours before 9 a.m, Kaitlyn Rudy ’16 was trying to keep herself calm. She knew that this state tournament was important, but she kept reminding herself that it was simply another tournament in the season. Yet by the end of the weekend, Rudy placed 3rd in the girls’ state bowling tournament in Rockford on Saturday, Feb 21. She rolled 2,639 pins across 12 games, with an average of 219.9 pins.

Rudy said most of her family participates in bowling, and she has been bowling since she was five years old.

“She’s been steadily improving,” Regina Johnson, girls bowling coach said. “She’s a very determined athlete and extremely dedicated to the sport.”

Rudy started her high school bowling career with a 177 average her freshman year. During her sophomore year she bowled a 192 average and during her junior year, her average increased once again to 209.

Johnson said that the difference in number of pins between an athlete who makes top 10 and an athlete that doesn’t is very little. Since the margin of error is so small, the odds against a statebound athlete are high. However, Rudy was very consistent on both days of the competition. Although Rudy missed state qualification last year by 28 pins, she qualified this year with an average above 200.

“My goal throughout the season was to medal at every tournament,” Rudy said. “But my goal at state was just to make it to the next day, and I exceeded my expectations by even placing in the top ten.”

Since the team has had the same players for two years in a row, the team’s relations improved significantly throughout those two seasons, Shu Wang ’15 said.

“Everybody’s very supportive of each other,” Wang said. “Even though we’re in different grades and classes, we connect with each other through bowling.”

Many of Rudy’s teammates supported her at the tournament even though the varsity team did not make state. Rudy said that the support from her team was reassuring and ultimately helped her compete better.

“If I wasn’t doing well, I felt like my team had my back,” Rudy said. “I wasn’t as worried about [competing] this year as I had been in previous years because our team was so strong.”

Johnson said that that the team bowled a 1,000 in five games this season, and four girls on the team bowled over a 300 average. Out of the 14 years Johnson has coached so far, the girls varsity bowling team only bowled over 1,000 pins in two other games outside of this season.

“Even when people were missing, the team managed to pull it together and play exceptional games,” Johnson said.

The winter season ended with a victory for Stevenson varsity bowling. Rudy also achieved the personal goals she set throughout the season.

“Doing well at state wasn’t my goal,” Rudy said. “My goal was to work hard to get there.”