Bowling ranked No. 1 in nation

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Kelli Schroeder is sixth on the team in game score average. (Photo courtesy of UCM Media Relations)
Kelli Schroeder is sixth on the team in game score average. (Photo courtesy of UCM Media Relations)

Story by JASON STRICKLAND, Sports Editor—
The Jennies bowling team is ranked No. 1 in the country for the first time since the program began in 2001,
“Being No. 1 at this time of year is great, but it doesn’t do you a whole lot of good whenever you get to the end of the year,” head coach Ron Holmes said. “And if you’re not peaking at the end, there’s a chance that somebody else can be there with you and beat you.”
Holmes said he is not avoiding the subject of being the top-ranked team with his bowlers.
“We’ve addressed it up front,” Holmes said. “We’ve talked about it instead of shying away from it and saying, ‘We’re really not going to talk about this at this time.’ Our ultimate goal is to win a national championship, and you have to perform to do that. If they’re stressing about it, then they are hiding it pretty well right now.”
The Jens have won three of their first six events, while finishing runner-up in the other three. The team isn’t just getting attention from the poll voters; other coaches are taking notice as well.
“Lots of colleagues, lots of other coaches from around the country say it’s amazing how consistent we’ve been,” Holmes said. “(We’re) not having many matches where we have fallen off or not played well. And I agree because in the past there tends to be times whenever that occurs. It’s just kind of a human nature thing, too. You have times whenever you play real well and times whenever you don’t. We haven’t seen any of that.”
The second half of the season is loaded with invitational events, so Holmes is excited for the team to play high level competition.
“It guarantees us an opportunity to play against some of the teams that we think will be there at the end of the year as well,” Holmes said.
To prepare for some of the top competition in the country, Holmes is making sure his team is trying different techniques.
“I’ve really stepped forward at this point and challenge them to make sure that they continue to not get comfortable and get complacent with what they are doing,” Holmes said.
“Our athletes like to be comfortable in the competition setting. For what we need at this point, they need to continue to push things along and challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zones… There will be things that will likely come up that could impact how it goes for us during the end of the season.”
On Monday, the Jens travel to Belleville, Ill. to take on McKendree University. Central is 2-0 against them this season, but it will have a different group of bowlers competing this time.
“This event will be exclusive for the players who don’t get much playing time,” Holmes said.
“It will give McKendree an opportunity to do that as well…I think it will help several of our players that don’t get a chance to play very much because they have decent skills, they can jump in and help, they just don’t get as many shots. They don’t get as many competition opportunities, so this was an event set up to help progress that and move that along as well.”
Players who may play Monday are freshmen Jennifer Potts and Morgan Dalhke, sophomores Shannon Dexter and Amber Magee, and juniors Courtney Shultz and Alecia Lofton.