By Chris Chaney
The Glen Este bowling teams have established a reputation around Ohio’s Southwest District as one of the best programs going, thanks in large part to the dedication of their athletes under the tutelage of head coach Kathy Demarko and her staff.
“My biggest goal is to win one match at a time,” Demarko said. “All our coaches are trying to be on the same page when it comes to working with all these kids. I don’t care if they have an 80 average or a 280 average, our goal is to make them able to pick up their spares and (do it without) us having to tell them to move two (boards) right (or) two (boards) left, we want to teach them to stand on their own two feet when it comes to being able to know what to do.”
This individual accountability has bred itself into a team becoming accountable for one another. As Demarko explains it, each bowler is not an individual contractor with tunnel focus on his or her games exclusively.
Quite the contrary, in fact.
Part of the deal with being a Trojan is having your teammates’ back and picking them up when they miss a shot and being there to give them the ball they need for their next shot.
“I expect them to be able to read the lanes in terms of knowing what their bowling balls will do, lane condition-wise, how long they go and where the break point is for each ball” Demarko said. “I expect them to know their ball speed and I expect them to know how to help each other. When somebody says, ‘hand my spare ball,’ those kids each need to know their spare ball and everyone else’s on the team.”
The camaraderie and teamwork have led to both the boys’ and girls’ teams getting off to quick starts in their respective seasons. Between the two teams, they have two loses combined, both of which came at the hands of a tough Loveland team.
“We’re doing well,” Demarko said of the beginning part of the season. “We both have one loss to Loveland, both the boys and the girls have one loss each and other than that, that’s the only loss we have.”
Both teams are sitting pretty at 6-1 on the year and near the top of the league in the inaugural season of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.
Aside from their regular season matches, Demarko has been a big proponent of getting her team to face off against the best competition she can, which means entering as many tournaments as possible.
So far this season, the Trojans have taken part in a pair of tournaments and have earned a pair of solid finishes for both teams.
On Dec. 8, the teams took part in the Holiday Classic at Western Bowl where both teams finished in the top-10 out of around 30 teams. The boys finished fourth and the girls finished seventh.
Leading the way for the boys’ team were Tyler Clark and Blake Huber, who finished third and fourth, respectively, as individuals.
A week later, Glen Este took their talents to the Team USA Experience Tournament at Poelking Lanes where the boys’ finished 11th and the girls finished 13th. Individually, Blake Huber had himself a day, finishing second overall as an individual, buoyed by Leslie Campbell on the girls’ side, who finished in ninth place individually.
Huber and Clark on the boys’ side and Campbell and Haley Vogelgsang are leading the way for their teams, but they have plenty of company towards the top of the ECC standings.
“From what I know now, Leslie and Haley and Blake and Tyler are all sitting in first through fourth in scoring average (in the ECC) and all of them are doing really well,” Demarko said. “(As it stands today), it’s looking like we will have four and four for the All-Conference team. Obviously, things can change between now and the end of the season, but right now, they’re doing well.”
Also having good seasons for the boys are sophomore Kyle Smith and junior Ryan Stroup. For the girls, aside from juniors Campbell and Vogelgsang, senior Erin Hunley and two more juniors, Gabby Ruehlman and Amber Walters are also in the top-10 in the league in average.
The Trojans still have a lot of bowling left and while Demarko is preaching one match at a time, she doesn’t see a reason why her teams shouldn’t win their league and their tough schedule should prepare them to make a postseason run.
“My goal is to make them better and we do that by bowling against better teams,” Demarko said.