|ISU club bowling works together|
|Written by Ryann Hoffenberg, Reporter|
|Tuesday, 22 January 2013 15:02|
The Illinois State bowling club is one of the few club sports that allows both the men’s and women’s team to work together, as well as apart, to achieve its goals and have fun while doing it.
The men’s and women’s bowling clubs practice separately during the week, however, when it comes to traveling throughout the Midwest for tournaments, both teams find time to spend together.
“We like to have separate practices just because it’s easier to focus, but [after tournaments] everyone’s starving so we’ll go over to Buffalo Wild Wings or something all together,” men’s captain Andy Walter said.
Walter began bowling competitively in college after working as a student mechanic at the ISU Bowling and Billiards Center.
“I caught on quick, I practice a lot and I was really passionate about [bowling], but some of the guys on my team are definitely still better than me,” Walter said.
Unlike Walter, women’s captain Ashley Femrite began bowling earlier on and competed in different leagues and tournaments throughout high school. Naturally, she joined the ISU bowling club right away.
“One of the reasons why I like [ISU] so much is that I can go to a really great school and also do what I love,” Femrite said.
Walter and Femrite both describe the relationship among ISU bowlers as a culture that is unique compared to other teams they compete against.
“I think out of every team [we compete against] we definitely have the most fun,” Walter said. “We work together really well, especially at practices,” Femrite added. “We cheer each other on and help each other out as much as we can.”
A typical tournament for the ISU bowling teams includes playing six or more games over the course of a weekend and competing against up to one hundred different teams.
Strategies for doing well in a bowling tournament are more extensive than one might think. They include considerations for oil patterns on the lanes, substitute bowlers and multiple styles of games.
Such strategies come in handy when competing against the Redbirds’ biggest bowling rival, Illinois.
“[Illinois] is at the same level as us competitively, so we are always trying to be the better team,” Femrite said. “We are usually on top of them as far as placement.”
The ultimate goal for the ISU bowling teams is to make it to the USA Intercollegiate Bowling Championships and eventually to Nationals. The women’s bowling team recently made it to the Championships, but not to the National tournament.
“It was a pretty proud achievement [to make it to sectionals] out of 64 teams in the nation.” Femrite said.
Neither captain sees the Championship in their teams’ futures this season, but it is not impossible.
The season is not over yet for the ISU bowling teams and the captains still have goals to accomplish before the school year draws to a close.
“We always come out swinging,” Walter said. “It’s hard to compete against those schools that are raking in great bowlers … We’re always setting reasonable goals, but along with that we are always having fun.”
Both captains hope to place in the top ten in one of their upcoming tournaments.
“[Tournaments] are nerve-racking, but you end up having a good time because you’re doing what you like to do … [Bowling] is a great sport to be a part of.” Femrite said.