Striking out for the top
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– It started out as a club activity, became a sanctioned sport by both the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU), and continues to get bigger every year. “It” is the girls and boys bowling teams at West High, under coach Mike Mellecker.
Mellecker started as an assistant coach in 2000, back in the club sport days. In 2007 he took the top spot. Since then the boys have compiled a 19-62 record while the girls have fared better at 33-61.
Four girls: sophomore Samantha Lovell, junior Brooke Kreiss, and seniors Katelyn Kelly and Mariah Shimon are back in the line-up for the Women of Troy. Kreiss earned All-Conference Honorable Mention last year while Kelly was named to the All-Conference 1st Team and All-District 2nd Team. Shimon earned an All-Conference 2nd Team berth as well as an All-District Honorable Mention. Four seniors: Hayden Bevelaqua, Alice Kolder, Morgan Mellecker and Jamie Zeithamel are joining the team this year with freshman Erica Roth.
“Katelyn and Mariah have been on varsity for the last three years, and are the leaders of the team,” Mellecker said. “With them the rest have been together for a couple years, and bowl well together.” The coach said the ladies started in the USBC Youth League on Saturday mornings. “Our weakness is low numbers. We have a hard time getting freshmen to come out, but this year we have the most from the beginning of being a sanctioned sport with four.” Mellecker added, “The kids need to start bowling in the Saturday morning league where they can start getting instructions early in life.”
The boys return five starters: seniors Noah Knosp, Ben Peterson and Zach Rohm, and junior Eric Vidhamali. Vidhamali earned an All-Conference 2nd Team slot last year along with an All-District Honorable Mention. Seniors Kaden Wesley and Josh Reid are also back in the line-up with newcomers Patrick Wood, a freshman, and senior Max Wever.
“Heath and Eric have been on varsity since they were freshmen and are the leaders of the team.” Mellecker said the new bowlers will be a great asset to the team, which should, “…be one of the best teams we’ve had in awhile from top to bottom.” The coach pointed out there will be several bowlers bidding for a starting spot on the varsity squad.
Mellecker said the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) is, “one of the strongest conferences in the state. Last year, most of the teams at state came from the MVC.” He sees Cedar Rapids Xavier, Dubuque Hempstead and Cedar Rapids Kennedy as the teams to look out for in girl’s competition with the same teams plus Waterloo West as threats in boys play. “I believe both our girls and boys teams will be at the top of the conference, and teams to watch out for. The girl’s team could be as good as the one that went to state a few years ago. The boys could be our first boy’s team to make state. I feel very good for both teams.”
The teams call Colonial Lanes, 2253 Old Highway 218 South in Iowa City, home. The season opens Tuesday, Nov. 26, against Dubuque Wahlert at Colonial at 3:15 p.m.