Area high school bowlers begin tryouts


By Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist



Tryouts.

This was a scary word for many of us that ever tested ourselves in high school sports. Could we possibly be good enough to play? How good was our team already? Was there a place for me on the team? How could I ever fit, I just do not think that I am good enough!

I would imagine that many of us shared this feeling at one time or another. Then again I am not sure that high school bowling had been invented yet when I was a child but I certainly felt that way about sports in general.

It was in a word terrifying.

While I am certain that there are some similar feelings today for the high school bowlers in our area, I would hope that they do not have some of the same fears that those of us experienced in our high school years.

Saturday was the opening day for organized tryouts/mandated work dates. Shawnee and Bath were off to a good start and Elida and Lima Senior High will have been in tryout mode before this column gets to you. Temple Christian and Lima Central Catholic started mandatory workouts this week as well.

Once again our area is blessed with some solid teams, each dreaming of spending some time in Columbus this coming March in state play. That knowledge is not lost on the youth that are trying out for the first time or attempting to move up from junior varsity squads to replace graduated seniors.

You really have to admire the youth who are taking the process very seriously even those who should have their spots fairly well in hand. Again the nerves, the apprehension associated with the word tryout.

It is easy for parents, fans and writers to say just relax, do your best, have fun. The problem at times is simply that we have youth who want to achieve and as a result put incredible pressure upon themselves.

Thankfully we are blessed with great coaches who know how to reduce that pressure … time to let them take that task over.

For now this writer will follow suit … we have some great youth, some great teams and we will see some student-athletes from Limaland in OHSAA state play you can count on it.

First stop for the youth from Lima Central Catholic, Lima Senior High School, Shawnee and Temple Christian will be a singles battle this Saturday in Minster for youth affiliated with the West Ohio High School Bowling Conference. Cecilia Riepenhoff will be back to defend her title in the young ladies division.

The trained eye of Louie Boughan …

He is concerned by many as a genius, the best of the best of the great bowling coaches in our area. Over the years he has taken the time to learn the game, the method of play, of many bowlers in our community.

I have had the opportunity from my perch at 20th Century to see Uncle Louie unselfishly work his magic over any number of bowlers in our area. While Louie may have his own view as to how the game should be rolled he is linked as well to what it is that brings out the best in the bowlers with whom he works.

Louie is a rarity in that he has thrown a 300 game with each of his hands, and also is one of the few bowlers in the USBC, the only bowler locally who has a league average over 200 using his left or right hand.

It certainly can be said that he is a legitimate two handed bowler!

I am not sure that it has ever been more in evidence than the recently completed Lima USBC Team tournament at Norada Lanes in Ada.

The first place team in the handicap division was reportedlThe first place team in the handicap division was reportedly captained by Boughan. Joining him on the championship squad were Sue and Bill Meeker as well as Richard Parrish and Matt Albright. Bill is recognized as one of the better bowlers ever in our community and wife Sue is a highly rated bowler among the ladies in our area. Parrish is a relative newcomer to the game and Albright has battled back from different injuries to be once again competitive.

Boughan has supplied the magic needed for Albright and Parrish. Boughan would be the first to point out that it was the effort of the students that makes the teacher look good.

The second place team in this event did their best to maintain the tournament excellence of Norada bowlers and to defend home turf. Jil Wolber and Fred Wolber linked with Gerold Barnett, Tom Hiidebrand and Jeff Oestreich effort in chasing the victors to the title. Teams from Ada also finished fourth and sixth in the event to show the folks that call Ada home have not lost their touch.

Now back to Louie …

The scratch division of the tournament was captured by a group that are not strangers to finishing first.

Jimmie Ebeling who is doing his best to battle collegiate foes while rolling for UNOH had the golden opportunity of competing with four of the more iconic names in our area. Don Boyed, Steve Kniola, Derek Dukes and Brian Sharp … it just does not get much better than that … captured the team gold. I am pretty sure that it was not the first rodeo with any of them.

One of the names that interested me the most in this group was Kniola. Steve is clearly one very talented individual. Like many in our area he felt that his game was getting away from him some.

Kniola, instead of sitting on the sideline and wondering where he fit, if he would be able to compete, as many would do instead went to Coach Louie and got some fine tuning by the man with a watchful eye who knew his game.

Somehow there is a lesson in that … those facing high school tryouts have that same confidence in your coaches. They will give you that same championship boost.

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By Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist