By Chris Chaney
Rebuilding a program is hard enough as it is, but building one from practically nothing is even tougher and that’s the task that faces first-year head coach Creed Cornett and the Amelia Barons.
“We are restructuring ourselves, both the boys and girls,” Cornett said. “We’re just coming back into it because we didn’t have it last year. I have three or four people who have returned from a couple of years back when we had the program and even though they’ve played before, they’re rusty as well.
“What kept us from not having a program last year was the levy failing, of course and it being $495 per kid to play. We had kids that were interested in bowling, but there just wasn’t the money there to pay for it, so the program fell through.”
Now, with the team back in action, the Barons are trying to forge ahead with the players that they have and not worry about the problems of the past.
Cornett said that he has a solid group on both the boys’ and girls’ side that he can build the program around.
“For the girls, two of them are returners, Jourdan Dozier-Hill and Emily Partack,” Cornett said. “(Jourdan is) a senior and she’s been doing really well. She’s one of my top bowlers.
“Then there’s another one who never played on the team before. She’s really stepped up and I feel like she’s one of my best bowlers and that’s Brittany Koehnke. She has come a long way. When she’s on, she’s around a 170, so she’s done really well.”
The boys’ side is led by another returner from two years back.
“His name is Ryan Morris and he is doing pretty well, he’s the top bowler for the boys,” Cornett said. “He does around 150-160.
“And then another one who has just came into the program is Corey Harvey. He’s really stepped up and showed some potential for next year.”
Cornett expanded upon his hopes for the coming seasons saying he would like to look ahead to the next season and get the teams ready to compete next year.
Coming on as the coach just a few months before the season, Cornett was unable to do much along the lines of fundraising to make it more appealing and financially possible for other potential athletes.
“This year we did a couple different fundraisers and as the golf coach as well, I’m pretty well-known in the community so I’ve gotten a lot of help from parents and other donations,” Cornett said. “We did a coupon book fundraiser for a little while and then our biggest success was when we did a fundraiser at Suburban Bowl and let us do a fundraiser there.”
Using the money from the various fundraisers and donations, Cornett was able to drop the pay-to-play fee down to $275 for each student.
Next year and going forward, Cornett expressed his desire to get out ahead of the season even more and put on more fundraisers to try and help the team. In particular, he mentioned his desire to put on a golf outing, which he thinks could greatly help out with some of the fees.
As for this season, the coach said the teams have been competitive and the girls have won a few matches. And while Cornett is committed to this group as much as any, he can’t help but look forward to the teams down the line.
With Cornett’s connections and ambition, the rebuilding of Amelia’s bowling program seems to be in good hands for years to come.