OAA means more matches, less tension for bowlers
December 01, 2010 - Youth and inexperience are the names of the game for the varsity bowling teams this season.
|Varsity Boys: Back Row L-R: Jason Petty, William Logan, Mitch Guzanek, Brandon Barber, Matthew Kessler. Front Row L-R: Coach JR Lafnear, Kyle Woody, Kevin Rein, Brandon Hurlburt, Coach Steve Burgess. (click for larger version)|
"This is the youngest team in the six years that we had," head coach JR Lafnear said. "We graduated a lot of kids off of a good team last year, so we are going to give it a whirl."
On the varsity boys side, Lafnear enters the season with an eight-man team composed of three freshmen and a sophomore new to the program. Of the four returning bowlers, only one, senior Kevin Rein, had experience at the varsity level.
"Kevin was on the varsity team last year and made great strides from the start of the season to the end, so we look for him to be a leader," Lafnear said.
The team is returning with two girls from last year's squad, Heather Lafnear and Colleen Walters.
Lafnear went to the final 16 in states last year and was a component of the girls team that went to the state tournament in consecutive years.
Walters is entering her second season with the bowling program. Coach Lafnear is looking for Walters to help anchor a team that sees last year's JV squad step up to varsity for the first time.
|Varsity Girls: Back Row L-R: Coach JR Lafnear, Caitlyn Wroblewski, Alyssa Hurtado, Ashley Darocha, Alex Logan, Coach Fred Heichel Front. Row L-R: Ashley Miller, Heather Lafnear, Colleen Walters, Emily KaLohn. (click for larger version)|
"The biggest level of adjustment for us will be the level of experience," he said. "We will have to watch kids and help them make adjustments sooner and help them recognize when it is time to make adjustments."
Despite the youth, he expects the girls and the boys to be competitive in every match.
One thing that Lafnear said is going to help move the young players along is the switch to the Oakland Activities Association, which plays more matches during the week than on weekends.
"We will be able to go to more tournaments this year and get them seasoned quicker," he added.
Instead of being grouped in multiple divisions, the 11 OAA teams get lumped in a single division. Oxford will be competing against Clarkston, Lake Orion, Ferndale, Farmington Harrison, Royal Oak, Troy, Hazel Park, North Farmington, Berkley and Troy Athens.
Another area that Lafnear thinks might help is there will not be as much tension in the bowling centers because there won't be as many teams at the matches, unlike the Flint Metro League where all 10 teams showed up at the same bowling alley.
"There will be smaller crowds, so there might be a little less tension," he added.
The season begins on Monday, Dec. 13 when they bowl at Hazel Park.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.