The Ridgefield High School’s girls bowling team has set a new standard as the team tallied a record number of 1739 pins during a match this season.
Coach George Black said the team doesn’t compare itself to other teams and instead focuses on what they can do better.
“We just compare ourselves to our best selves, and if we go by that as our gauge for success, we’ve won as many games as we’ve ever won but have set a new record for the most pins, so in that sense, we’ve done well,” Black said. “Since this is only the fifth year our team has existed, we’re up against teams that have been around for 15 to 20 years. We’re still in the catch-up mode to get to them.”
This season, Black said more girls have bowled over 200 pins more frequently than in the past, despite the team’s 2-16 record.
“The team is trending in the right direction and we’re closing the gap against a lot of the teams that have been around much longer,” he said.
Black said he is doing what he can to provide the girls with more confidence. Their greatest challenge is carrying focus and enthusiasm into every match.
The team bowls three nights a week, which Black said “takes a lot out of you.”
In January, two varsity players caught COVID-19 and were absent for a week, but it didn’t deter the team.
“Some of our younger girls stepped up, and I’ll be honest, they kept us competitive,” he said. “They outperformed what our expectations were and stepped up to the challenge. The night we set our pin record, we had one of our younger bowlers step in for the varsity player who was out. She did a lot to help with our success that night.”
Black said the team, which consists of 17 bowlers, is the largest they’ve had. The team is made up evenly with newer players and experienced ones.
“The word’s getting out that this is a fun program to be about,” Black said.
Black said Ada Johnson has greatly benefited the team. Johnson was the first player from Ridgefield High School to ever qualify for the state tournament, finishing in 12th place. He said she won a sportsmanship award for the way she treated competitors. The coach said Johnson is “a great representative for the team and very humble.” He noted Johnson, who has impressed other coaches with her splits in the bowling lanes, looks at those moments as opportunities to “do something awesome.”
“It’s just that positive attitude she has that’s carried over to the other girls,” he said. “She also makes sure it’s fun. One of our core values is that at the end of the day, we want to walk away saying, ‘we had a good time. We had fun playing the game.’ She always checks in on the other girls … making sure they’re having fun and enjoying what they’re doing.”
As the team looks to improve, Black once again stressed the focus of the team is centered around each bowler doing their best.
“We have a saying that goes, ‘the other teams are going to be showing up to beat us, we’re just going to show up to be us.’ If we take care of those things and we try to compete against our best scores, the wins will take care of themselves, so we don’t worry about who’s in the other lane,” Black said. “That’s what I think the girls believe in.”
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