SMNW bowlers ready to roll
With tryouts for the 2012 season almost under way, Shawnee Mission Northwest bowling coach Britt Haney has already begun taking stock of what is in his arsenal for the upcoming season. What he’s found has been a boatload of veteran presence that figures to keep his teams in contention for the Sunflower League championship — and possibly more.
Last season, the Northwest boys finished with a healthy 11-5 mark, including head-to-head wins against Olathe East and Olathe North — two of the top three teams at last season’s Class 6A state championship meet. However, a rough outing at the 2011 regionals kept the Cougars at home during state, leaving behind a feeling of unfinished business for the team.
The Cougar boys lost two senior varsity members from last season, but they return the top three bowlers from that squad. Senior Marcus Paccapania returns with an average near 190 while fellow senior Patrick Nachtsheim returns with his 188 average. Rounding out the top senior returnees is Gerald Bellucci who qualified individually for state last season.
“On paper, we’re in the middle of the pack, but we still have the ability to take down the big dogs,” Haney said. “We have a really high ceiling, but for us sometimes it has just depended on the day. We’re searching for more consistency.”
Though the girls side lost district, Sunflower League, and regional champion Jamie Queral and state medalist Hope Wooten to graduation, the Cougars still return a powerful lineup for the 2012 slate.
Sophomore Cassie Queral returns after medaling at districts, league, regionals and state. With a 202 average in 2011, Queral was ranked second among high school girls in the Kansas City area. The Cougars also return senior varsity members Kaylee Trost, Jessica Prater and Liz Nelson who sported averages of 171, 168 and 165, respectively.
“We will still be a very deep team,” Haney said of his girls squad. “I’d consider us one of the top five teams in the area, though we’re going to need to find some consistent girls to fill out our last two spots.”
The Cougars will begin their tryouts the week of Dec. 6 at Park Lanes. Haney and his staff plan to run four days of tryouts, after which the top 12 boys and the top 12 girls will be assigned to the varsity and junior varsity squads.
According to Haney, some familiar names should be near the top of the Sunflower League and area races.
“Olathe North and Olathe South return a lot of experience,” Haney said. “Those were the other two state qualifiers from our side. Sumner will be the top girls program we face. We bowl Sumner in January. That will be a great test for our girls.”
Both the boys and girls squads will face tough challenges fresh out of the gate as the two teams will head to Wichita on Jan. 7 for the Bishop Carroll Invitational. There they will be matched up against 23 other schools in the largest meet of the season outside of the state championships.
“We’ll know pretty early how we stack up,” Haney said.