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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 24, 2009

BKW bowling is rolling under the radar of mainstream sports

By Jordan J. Michael

BERNE –– Bowling is constantly overshadowed by mainstream sports. But, it’s just as challenging and competitive as any other sport, bowlers say.

The Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ team is off to an impressive 7-1 start and is a serious contender for the Western Athletic Conference title. The Bulldogs have put plenty of time and money into bowling and it’s starting to pay dividends.

“Some people say that bowling isn’t a real sport, but they’re wrong,” said Head Coach Matt Decker on Tuesday. “Some of these kids bowl five days a week and everyone is working real hard. Bowling is a challenging activity that requires discipline, just like any other sport. We’re not sitting around, drinking soda and eating pizza like everyone thinks.”

Bowling is a professional sport that gets airtime on television and it used to be part of the Olympics, said Decker; it’s just different.

“Bowling has a different skill set. Maybe we get a bad rap because we don’t sweat as much,” Decker said. “I wouldn’t ask a bowler to dunk a basketball and I wouldn’t ask a basketball player to bowl a strike.”

Bowling is a life-long sport like golf and it’s very rewarding. “You can do it anytime all year long,” said Decker. “It’s an activity that is both fun and challenging.”

Decker told The Enterprise that bowling is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. “You have to be able to adjust to multiple conditions,” he said. “You’re going through all these different angles in your head and you don’t even realize. You throw a different shot every time.”

The Bulldogs never know what to expect when the team walks into a bowling alley because the conditions of the lanes are always changing. A lane can have 100 different looks, due to the way it is oiled. The ball can roll in any, which way and the players have to adjust.

“We’re always looking for ways to change our shots,” said Decker. “It’s the random nature of the game –– play to the conditions. You never know how the lanes were treated that day.”

Since lane conditions are always changing, BKW never really has an advantage when the team bowls at its home alley in Cobleskill.

“You have 15 to 20 different things to think about on the approach to a shot,” Decker said. “A small change to the hand can throw the entire shot off. It’s like a foul shot in basketball –– how much wrist.”

Fast lanes

The Bulldogs’ only loss so far this season was to Middleburgh, and the team will have a rematch on Jan. 20 in Cobleskill. Senior Tim McIntyre leads BKW with a 201 average. He’s been bowling on varsity since eighth grade.

“I see McIntyre’s average going up,” said Decker. “He’s a power bowler with a tight shot. He knows the lanes well.”

Behind McIntyre is junior Josh Denyfe with a 196 average. “He is very demanding of himself,” Decker said. “He wants every pin possible.”

Junior Geoff Bentley is third on the team with a 191 average. “He really wants to deliver in sectionals,” said Decker.

Rounding out the starting five is junior Chris White with a 177 average and senior Chet Ferriero with an average of 170.

“We need to prove ourselves this year by bringing home the title and doing well at sectionals,” said Decker. “I think they have the talent to do that. Any of those guys can post a high score.”

BKW also has a girls’ team, but Decker says they’re in rebuilding mode. The team has many first timers and they need to develop strength and experience. “They do well, but they need another year,” Decker said. “They’re still cooking.”

Freshman Danielle Hubbard leads the team with a 132 average and senior Courtney McDermott is second with 127.

Decker’s dream is for the boys to reach the state tournament, something the Bulldogs have never done. The team would like to compete with the big-time bowling programs. Only one team from Section II can make it to the state round.

“It’s amazing odds, but we can set our goals,” said Decker. “All we need is a true leader and we’ll have a shot. We don’t pick captains on this team; they pick themselves.”

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