There’s a first time for everything and Saturday Jan. 19 marked the first time the boys bowling team had ever competed at IHSA Sectionals as a team.
Although nobody from the Evanston team made the cut to get to the state finals, as Jake Rubin had last year, the season was still a great success.
“It was great that we qualified for Sectionals as a team for the first time in the history of the bowling team,” coach Harold Bailey said.
At the Glenbrook North Regional tournament, a week before the Sectional, the Kits placed third out of 10 teams with a six-game score of 5547. Junior captain Joe Leibforth bowled a 1237 followed by sophomore Aiden Cella with a 1164 and junior Zev Godzin’s 1078. Evanston finished one spot above New Trier.
The team’s finish this season was even more impressive, because the roster changed almost weekly.
“Varsity had a few players who stayed throughout the whole year,” Leibforth said. “People are hot one week and not the next week.”
Two freshman who were brought up to the varsity level were top contributors for most of the season.
“We brought in two freshman, Isaac [Clay-Barbour] and Andrew [Bartol] who both worked really well for us,.” Cella said. “We were looking for people who worked well together and that’s why we cycled through people.”
The success of this year’s team will also mean more awareness about bowling, which should help the program keep getting better.
“This has bumped up our visibility in the community,” Bailey said. “People are thinking about bowling. We go out to do clinics at elementary schools and junior highs and we are getting interest in that.”
Over the summer the boys varsity will hold a bowling camp for incoming freshmen, sophomores and juniors, anyone can come.
The varsity mainstays who participated in the postseason tournaments gained valuable experience that will help them for next year’s season.
“I think us getting the feel for those pressure situations is a huge confidence booster,” Cella said. “We’re not just another team we’re the real thing and we can expect to win.”