By Kelly March
The Essex Reporter
After a successful first season, the Essex High School bowling team is gearing up for its 2013-2014 campaign.
With fifteen students on the inaugural team and slight growth expected for this year’s squad, there seems to be enough interest to support the program in a season when Essex offers eight other varsity sports. But it hasn’t yet been decided whether there’s enough interest in the state to award bowling varsity status.
Essex was one of just 10 high schools in the state to field a competitive bowling team last winter and will be one of 13 to do so this season. The Vermont Principal’s Association will consider whether that warrants sanctioning bowling as a varsity sport this spring after the conclusion of its two-year stint as an exhibition sport.
“I think it has the ability to become a varsity sport based on the interest we’ve seen,” said Justin Norris, who co-coaches the Hornet team with fellow Essex teacher Tom Preska. “And I think interest will grow as we progress.”
Whether or not its granted varsity status by the VPA, Norris believes bowling has been a positive addition to the athletic offerings at EHS.
“What we’ve seen is that the students who participate in bowling are typically students who haven’t participated in other varsity sports we offer here (at Essex High School),” Norris noted. “It’s a great thing because it allows students to get involved in an extracurricular team activity who haven’t necessarily done so before.”
The league takes a team-oriented approach to the sport by running matches in a “Baker style format,” where five students bowl two frames apiece and submit a combined score. Norris said this takes pressure off the bowlers, while facilitating a spirit of team unity.
The EHS bowling team will hold its first practice of the 2013-2014 season at Spare Time in Colchester after Thanksgiving break and will compete in its first match at 10 a.m. on Dec. 21 at Champlain Lanes in Shelburne.