On Saturday, February 6, all league play ended for bowling as next up for the Alley Cats is Sectional play on February 13. As league play came to an end, the Wildcats took home some hardware as they were named the most improved team of the 2020-21 bowling season.
The big question coming into the 2020-21 season was how the Alley Cats were going to fare without their Head Bowling Coach Jim Viets. Viets tested positive for COVID-19 in November and is still recovering from the virus. Our prayers are with Viets to get back to full strength. This season, Head JV Coach Chris Nagy took over as interim head coach for the varsity Alley Cats.
The Alley Cats performed well this season and had some significant production from junior Shaun Ward. Ward is a member of the Saint Ignatius football program as well as bowling for the Cats. Ward on the season bowled an average of 225, helping the Wildcats become contenders in sectional play. Ward was ranked second in the Tournament Scratch Top Five Finishers as league play wrapped up on Saturday.
“The confidence level is at 100%, the chance to take this team to states is a possibility,” says Nagy. “This team is excited and I am proud to coach a team that comes to practice locked in and excited to bowl.” The Wildcats bowling program has taken a major jump in the past year. Both JV squads have won their league championships, and now varsity has the opportunity to make a run for states.
Three Alley Cats finished in the Tournament Handicap Top Five. Gabbe Virant, Ryan Wallenhorst and Danny Keller were ranked two, three and four respectively in the standings. “Wallenhorst turned the corner this year,” says Nagy. “After last season, Ryan locked in and trained himself and he has made himself into a big factor for this team.”
Junior Mason Cook will be brought off the JV one squad and set as the number six bowler for the varsity team for sectionals. “Cook is beyond focused,” explains Nagy. “Bowling is 80% mental and 20% skill and these young men have the focus of being great bowlers for this program.”
The Wildcats are set for sectional play this upcoming Saturday. One thing is certain, the Wildcats bowling program is on the rise with plenty of young talent, and fantastic coaching. The Alley Cats are focused and primed to make a run for the state championship.