By: John Raffel
St. Charles bowlers optimistic
SCHOOL: St. Charles
YOUR NAME: Mark Faupel
POSITION: Boys Varsity Coach
CONFERENCE: Tri-Valley Conference (Bowling)
1.) Briefly recall highlights of the 2017-18
season; records, top moments etc.: St. Charles finished with a record of 13-1 in the West division of the Tri-Valley Conference and tied for 1st with Ithaca. Their only loss was to Ithaca (17-13), which snapped a 37 game conference winning streak which dated back to December of 2015. Top moments were winning the Tri-Valley Conference Tournament and qualifying for the State Tournament for the 4th consecutive season. Other top moments were having 3 bowlers qualify for the singles at the Regional Tournament (Michael Pratt, Drake McFarland, and Luke Martell) and
Michael and Drake making it to the round of 16 at the State Singles Tournament. The final highlight was defeating defending State Champion Vandercook Lake in the Quarterfinal Round of the state finals. After surviving a 2 baker tie breaker roll-off against Rogers City for the 8th qualifying spot, we went on to defeat Vandercook Lake in the Quarterfinal, New Lothrop in the Semi-Final, and lost to Bronson in the Championship match. It was a close and competitive match. I am most proud of the fact that after Bronson began the team game with 10 consecutive strikes (2 by each player), we did not quit and fought back to make a game out of it. We put ourselves in a position to win at the end, but we just ran out of frames. Even though we finished runner-up for the 2nd time in 3 years, I was very proud of the effort our team put forth.
2.) Name some key athletes that have graduated from last season's team and your remembrances on their contributions to the program. Alex Dittenber and Luke Martell. Alex was the first bowler in the history of St. Charles to bowl on a team that qualified for the State Tournament all 4 years of his high school career. Alex provided steady scoring from the left side and was able to deliver clutch strikes for us in matches and tournaments. Luke was only a member of the Varsity team for 2 seasons (he spent his first 2 years of high school on the JV team). Luke’s unique 2 handed delivery and competitive spirit will be missed by all. There were times when he would be able to string strikes when no one else was due to the spin he could impart on the bowl. Both bowlers (Alex and Luke) carried averages in the 190’s and they will be difficult to replace.
3.) Please mention several athletes who will be key players...name, year in school, position. Your expectations from each of these athletes this season. (Feel free to attach a roster if one is available).
Michael Pratt - Anchor bowler (Senior): Michael is the best athlete on the team and has decided not to play basketball this year to focus strictly on bowling, He is determined to lead the conference in average and qualify for singles once again at State. He has high expectations for the team and would like to end his career with a state team tournament run this year.
Drake McFarland - 4th bowler (Senior): Drake’s goal is to qualify for state singles for the 3rd consecutive year. The first year he qualified 16th and lost in the first round. Last year he qualified 3rd and lost in the second round. His goal this year is advance one more round and make a run at a state singles title and lead his team to a Team State Title.
Haden Nothelfer - Leadoff bowler (Senior): Haden has improved his game tremendously since he came out as a freshman. He bowled the first year on the JV team and since being called up to the varsity his sophomore year, he continues to get better and better. His knowledge of the game has made him a better bowler and his goal this year is to qualify for State Singles as well as lead his team to a State Tournament Team title.
Holden Huntoon - 2nd/3rd bowler (Senior): Holden is in his second season on the varsity team and his goal this year is to average 180. He has recently converted his delivery from 4 steps to 5 steps and he feels this will help him achieve the consistency he is looking for. Holden’s other goal is to qualify in the Regional for singles and make the top 16 at the
4.) What expectations do you have of your team this season?
First, I would like to see our team win the Tri-Valley West Division Championship outright - last year we were co- champions with Ithaca. I would like to see our 3 underclassmen (sophomores Bryce Coty and Hunter Bashans and junior Cody Dittenber) continue to develop and improve all parts of their game so they can lead us next year. It will take a lot of things to go right for our team to make a deep team tournament run this year. Even though we have 4 seniors, our underclassmen are not quite ready yet to fill the void left by our 2 graduating seniors (Alex and Luke). Realistically, I would like to see our team qualify out of the Regional and advance to the State Tournament for the 5th consecutive year. If we were fortunate enough to make the final 8, I would consider that a successful season, regardless of what happens after that. For us to make a deep tournament run, we would need strong production from our 4 seniors as well as improved Baker games. With very little inexperienced depth on the bench, this puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the seniors. If one or two seniors struggle at the Regional Tournament, we could be in trouble and at risk of not advancing out of the Region. With strong teams in the Region, Sandusky and Unionville-Sebewaing, it will take work to advance. My expectation is that as a team, we will put in the work this year to fully develop, as much as possible, our underclassmen. The team understands that work will need to be put in to get better. The message is, “As a team, we all need to get better this year”.
5.) What will be your team's strength? The strength this year will
be leadership. I have 4 seniors this year who are very experienced and ready to make one more try at a state title. They will be focused this year and will do what they can to help the underclassmen get better each and every week.
6.) What are some things this team needs to work on? Developing depth from our 2 sophomores this year and improving our Baker Game scores. We struggled as a team last season rolling consistent Baker games in Conference play. Our poor Baker game performance put us in a hole at the Regional Tournament and State Tournament last season. Fortunately, we were able to recover with a strong Peterson game the last game of qualifying at the Regional Tournament to move from 4th place to 3rd place to advance to the State Tournament. At the state tournament, our poor Baker games put us behind early which gave us a lower seed. This meant that we had to face the higher seeds in the first 2 rounds to advance to the final game. I have continued to stress that we can’t continue to take this path and if we do not improve in this area, we risk not advancing out of the Region this year.
7.) Your conference: How strong is it and who would you consider the league favorites? Where do you see your team fitting into the league race? The West Division is basically a 2 team race between St. Charles and Ithaca. Ithaca graduated 4 seniors last year so they are in a rebuilding year, however, they have some talented Junior Varsity players they have brought up and they will still be very competitive. St. Charles should be considered the favorites to win the division - we have 4 seniors who have experience and they know this is the final chance for them. They will be motivated to work hard
on their game and get better each and every week. The other 4 teams in the division are young and not as talented so the key for St. Charles will be not to have a let down when bowling against them. If we make the good shots and do the fundamental things right, we should come out on top.