December 07, 2011 - Expectations are high for the varsity boys and girls bowling teams.
Boys Bowling Team: Back Row (l-r): William Logan, Mitch Guzanek, Michael Johnson, Brandon Hurlburt Front Row (l-r): Sean Mckinney, Shawn Donaldson, Kyle Woody.
(click for larger version)
According to varsity bowling head coach JR Lafnear, it's a "league title or bust" mentality for the varsity girls team, while he expects the boys to turn the corner and contend for a league title.
"I'm excited. This year we had the highest (tryout) scores we ever had in the years that we have been around since 2005," Lafnear said. "We're deeper than we've ever been. I think our middle school program is helping us out tremendously and I think we are going to be able compete."
Lafnear noted he had enough student interest to create a junior varsity girls team and two JV boys teams.
"It feels good we are doing something right...we got some freshmen and sophomores that are in that program that are really going to be anchors for our team in the coming years, and some are on the varsity squad already," Lafnear said.
It's all about a league title for the girls this year.
According to Lafnear, this is the deepest girls team yet.
Girls Bowling Team): Alex Logan, Heather Lafnear, Allysa Delong, Colleen Walters, Caityln Wroblewski. Not pictured: Brooke Harris. (click for larger version)
"We got a couple of young girls that are going to get some more time on JV and more experience. So when we need to dig into the well, we got some girls with talent down there, unlike years past where we were strong top two or three, but now we have five, six or seven girls we can go to," Lafnear said.
For the girls, "the dynamic duo" of seniors Heather Lafnear and Colleen Walters will lead a senior-laden that brings plenty of experience to the bowling alley.
"Heather (Lafnear) had a sensational year last year, won numerous tournaments and had it not been for an injury, I think she would have done real well at states," JR Lafnear said. "Colleen (Walters) had a super year last year. She had a nice average and won a lot of points."
Lafnear is also excited to see what junior Caitlyn Wroblewski can do following an impressive tryout where she posted scores higher than current school records.
"She would have set just about every school record for the girls in tryouts, but the tryouts don't count for the school record," Lafnear said. "She bowled very hard and worked very hard to improve her game."
Seniors Alex Logan and Allysa Delong, along with junior Brooke Harris, a transfer from Pennsylvania, round out the squad.
This years boys squad is looking to build upon a team that went 3-7 in the Oakland Activities Association last year.
"Last year, I think we did as well as we can and...we're a lot more competitive than I originally anticipated. I think that instead of not being a force, we have a chance of being a force if the boys bowl the way they can."
The boys squad consists of two seniors, a junior and four sophomores.
However, Lafnear isn't worried about the youth of his team because the sophomores were the team's leading bowlers during tryouts. "The nice thing about the boys on the varsity team is a lot of them did extra work this summer with extra coaching and going to clinics and they worked on it all summer long," Lafnear said.
Seniors William Logan and Mitch Guzanek will captain the boys squad.
"Mitch (Guzanek) bowled quite well last year and did a great job, (while) William Logan made great progress towards the end of the year and has an opportunity to help us."
The Wildcats will be led by sophomores Brandon Hurlburt and Kyle Woody, who both made the varsity team as freshmen last year.
"Woody worked incredibly hard this summer and is poised to have a good season," Lafnear said.
Rounding out the squad are newcomers - junior Shawn Donaldson and sophomores Sean Mckinney and Michael Johnson.
The three newcomers were all participants in the middle school bowling program, according to Lafnear.
One change the programs will need to adjust to is a new division format.
Last season, all 11 teams were lumped into one division. This year, the squads were broken into two divisions, red and white, based on geographic location.
The Wildcats will be competing against Lake Orion, Clarkston, Troy High School and Troy Athens. On the girls side, Lafnear expects the league title to come down to Oxford, Lake Orion and Clarkston.
On the boys side, Lafnear sees a wide open division that could be Oxford's for the taking. Both squads opened up at home on Monday, Dec. 5 with the first ever OAA singles tournament at Collier Lanes.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.