Sports

SK deep, talented this season

The girls of the South Kitsap bowling team have had a lot on their minds lately and tough choices to make. They must, after all, pick out a new set of team sweatshirts to wear this season.

And that’s just fine with third-year coach Kathy Hamill. She sees it as a sign her team isn’t worried about the pressures of the sport and is becoming a team — a group, if you will, that is ready to win.

“We’re young, but a lot of these girls have bowled in leagues for many years,” Hamill said. “I don’t really see anyone with a 200 average right now, but they’re consistent and they’re solid, and everyone is going to have to contribute.”

After making it to the West Central District tournament two years ago, the Wolves just missed out in a return trip last year, placing sixth in the Narrows League.

But with numbers up and a deeper squad to pick from, Hamill is confident her girls can make a run to the WCD and beyond.

“We’re looking to get some solid play from everybody this year,” she said.

Hamill will have a nice mixture to work with this year, as seniors Jen Villalva and Amanda Slepko return along with junior Australia Kincannon.

All three saw plenty of time in the lanes last year, while Villalva and Slepko are the team’s captains.

Joining them this year are junior Bridgett Reinhold and freshmen Sadie Flerx, Jackie Murray, Sara Jo Wagg and Becca Pennington.

This group of eight should see the most varsity time, although the lineup will change as Hamill sees fit.

It’s Murray who could turn out to be the go-to bowler this year. Already this year, she has been instrumental in a couple of the Wolves’ wins. And she does it with a very unorthodox style, using an inside-out motion that sends the ball from left to right — something that’s not usually seen from a right-handed bowler.

“There’s one professional bowler that I know of that uses that style,” Hamill said. “I told her the first day (of practice) that we’ll see how it goes. And she just has skill. It works for her, so we’re not going to mess with it.”

While Murray has been bowling in the No. 3 spot, the anchor of the team so far this year has been Flerx, who came through in a match against Stadium, striking out in the final frame to clinch the match.

Slepko, Villalva and Reinhold have been the starting five through the first four matches and Hamill has liked what she’s seen so far.

“The kids don’t seem to mind the pressure,” she said. “When we need to pick up 20 pins, they just go and do it.”

Something else that Hamill will not mess with is the team unity she’s already seeing. With a larger numbers of girls on the team, the Wolves are finally going to meets together on a bus rather than going in a set of vans.

That means they are spending more time together, and Hamill likes that.

“We’ve noticed a huge difference that they are all talking with each other,” Hamill said. “They feel more like a team now.”

It’s a team that will be asked to consistently produce an average individual score of 150 across the board.

That would come out to a team score of 750 and that should results in plenty of wins, Hamill said.

And the team is off to a great start already, having beaten Wilson, Bellarmine Prep and Stadium for a 3-0 record. The Wolves went up against Foss late Thursday night.

Hamill said the team to beat in the Narrows League will most likely be Shelton, who has had the same core group for the last three years.

“I can see these girls heading that way,” Hamill said. “They’re young but they like to get out there and bowl.”

  

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