Sports

Cougars striving for consistency

By AARON MANAGHAN

Sports editor

Few things make a team feel better about their start to the season than winning.

So far, that recipe is working for the Central Kitsap girls bowling squad, as the Cougar rollers improved to 5-0 following Thursday’s 7-0 win against Foss on the road.

“We’re doing well,” CK coach Bruce Welling said. “It’s nice to start off the season. We’re being pretty consistent right now so it’s nice.”

With 11 rollers on the team, six returners, Welling said he’s got a good mix of youth and experience.

Back this year for CK are sisters Angie and Ellie Holland, Jordan Borland, Melissa Beers, Becky French and Sarah Menger. That core group, plus some key newcomers, are hoping to get CK back to state, where they last went as a team in 2005, taking seventh place overall.

“It’s just nice,” he said of having more than half his team back. “They know what it’s about. A lot (of newcomers) have bowled on the weekends, but high school is a little different.”

Last year, the team fell just shy at districts, advancing only graduated Cassie Ogle to the top tournament. Getting close could help CK by way of a little extra motivation, but Welling said he doesn’t believe that extra push will kick in until the postseason nears.

“There was some success last year, but there was also some bittersweet in the end,” Welling said. “So right now it’s not, but it will be.”

Another Ogle is back to help out this year though. Cassie’s dad Mark is back again to help CK work on the technical fine-tuning of the game. That allows Welling to prepare the girls on a mental level.

“He goes a very good job with the kids on the technical aspects of bowling,” Welling said. “I’m trying to get the girls to get better mentally. Physically, they’re all pretty good.”

One newcomer already making her impact felt at CK is Wendy Ellison. The freshman led CK to a Narrows League win against Lincoln Tuesday, with her high game of 194 and high series of 361 fueling a 725-598 and 749-594 base win. CK went on to sweep the Bakers and total pins points as well.

Both the Narrows and Olympic leagues have adopted a new scoring system this year designed to better prepare bowlers for the postseason.

Last year, each team rolled two full games with a Baker game used in a tie-break situation. The change is meant to prepare kids for Bakers, which play a large role in scoring at districts and state.

“I like it,” Welling said. “You can get two Bakers in. It’s good.”

In Thursday’s win against Foss, it was Angie Holland taking charge, rolling a high game of 190 with a high series of 338.

All those early signs have Welling feeling good about CK’s Narrows League chances.

“I think we’re gonna stack up very well,” he said. “I think we can compete for second place in the league.”

Of course, the league’s top spot remains occupied by Wilson until a team can prove otherwise. Although that’s not likely, Welling said.

“Wilson is out of our league,” he said. “They’re in a league of their own.”

Last year, CK finished fifth in the Narrows League. Welling said he’ll be relying on each of his bowlers to continue their improvement to help CK get back to state.

“All those girls are ones we’re looking for to keep on going, keep consistent,” Welling said. “If they do that, we should do very, very well. If they do that, the whole team should make it to state.”

That consistency is the key, he said.

“We’re all very, very consistent,” Welling said. “Consistency is the name of this game. You have to be consistent, be mentally tough.”

CK will get its first big Narrows test Tuesday when Bellarmine comes to town for a 3 p.m. match at All Star Lanes & Casino.

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