Watterson Roundup: New coach likes bowlers' approach
During a year of change, the Watterson bowling program has a new coach for the first time in more than two decades.
After serving as an assistant last season, Kelly Bishop took over after Jerry Wagner retired following his 20th season.
So far, she’s liked what she’s seen from her athletes as they’ve navigated through having the beginning of their season paused because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Watterson is next scheduled to compete Jan. 5 against Walnut Ridge at Sawmill Lanes.
“I’m very excited to see how both teams do this year,” Bishop said. “We have a great group of kids who are eager learners and hard workers. This year has been very unusual due to the COVID situation.
“Our kids have handled the ever-changing COVID situation quite well and they’re adjusting smoothly. My hope for the season is that all of our kids stay safe, have fun and learn something,”
Helping the transition, particularly for the girls team, is that there are several veterans competing.
The girls finished 15-2 overall last season, including going 11-1 to capture the COHSBC-D Division title and 4-2 to tie Ready for first in the CCL.
The top returnees are seniors Rachel Reuter, Christina Rose and Madison Shaw and junior Joy Packard.
At last year’s Division I sectional, Watterson finished 30th (2,563) as Reuter led the Eagles with a 421 that tied her for 68th.
Reuter averaged 136.5 and Rose averaged 135.9 in COHSBC matches.
The other senior is Hannah Ashmore, with sophomores Katie Whitsett and Natalie Zesch and freshman Bella Franklin also looking to contribute.
Isabelle Payton, who led the Eagles in COHSBC average at 162.3, was lost to graduation.
“Obviously, winning is the goal, and I’d really like to see the girls team go undefeated this season,” Bishop said. “We’ve got a great group of girls who have been bowling together for a number of years now and four senior girls who would love to finish their high school careers strong.”
The boys team went 6-12 overall and had its season end with a 41st-place finish (2,621) at the Division I sectional but lost only Jacob Garland to graduation. He averaged 148.0 in COHSBC matches.
Junior Jack Kish averaged a team-best 154.8 in COHSBC matches and led the Eagles at sectional with an 84th-place finish (490).
Juniors Peter Assaf and Quinn Brown and sophomore J.D. McMonagle also are back after competing in the postseason for the Eagles, who have no seniors this season.
Others looking to contribute are junior Blake Tippett and sophomores Ronan Ott and Michael Zesch.
“The boys team is starting to mesh well together and I’m excited to see how they do against our CCL teams,” Bishop said.
•Coach: Kelly Bishop, first season
•Top athletes: Boys — Peter Assaf, Quinn Brown, Jack Kish and J.D. McMonagle; Girls — Joy Packard, Rachel Reuter, Christina Rose and Madison Shaw
•Key losses: Boys — Jacob Garland; Girls — Isabelle Payton
•Last season: Boys — 6-12 overall; Girls — 15-2 overall
•2019-20 finishes: Boys — Eighth in COHSBC-D, fifth in CCL, 41st at sectional; Girls — First in COHSBC-D, tied for first in CCL, 30th at sectional