By Chris Chaney
After a banner year for the Glen Este bowling program last season, head coach Kathy Demarko has set the bar even higher for the 2013-14 edition of the Trojans.
“I’ve got everybody back, especially on the girls’ team,” Demarko said. “Almost every one of them are seniors, but we also have a few freshmen coming in.”
Demarko, who was the Coach of the Year on the girls’ side last season, brings back not only the reigning Bowler of the Year in Leslie Campbell, but also two other First Team All-ECC performers in Hayley Vogelgesang and Gabby Ruehlman.
Junior Emily Doppes and Courtney Chaffin stepped in for the Lady Trojans in the early season so far.
The boys’ team also brings back some heavy hitters with reigning Bowler of the Year Blake Huber back as well as senior Ryan Stroup. Junior Kyle Smith and sophomores Cole Hunley and Brady Dunigan have stepped into some roles vacated by a few graduated seniors.
“My plans are to win one match at a time, as always,” Demarko said. “I never look to far ahead. Obviously, I want to win state, that’s my goal always, but one match at a time.
“With the leadership of (Campbell) and (Vogelgesang) and (Stroup) and (Huber) on the boys’, we should win the ECC with no problems. You can quote me on that.”
While winning the ECC is a good starter goal, the Trojans have their sights set higher, specifically further north.
“I really believe that we have the strongest team on this side of town,” the coach continued. “We should be in the top rankings and there shouldn’t be a question. (Our team members) have the highest averages.”
The girls’ team advanced out off the sectional tournament each of the past two years and the boys’ team were district tournament qualifiers last season. The problem, Demarko says, is that her team has gone into the district tournament perhaps a bit overconfident, expecting to show up and advance.
“We get up there each year and then (choke),” Demarko said as she put her hands around her neck. “I do think (something is different this year). I think they are stronger (mentally) and (have more heart).
“When we get up to Dayton, we need to realize it’s a completely different level, it’s a different mindset. That’s really hard to teach. It’s something that is inside of you that these kids need to reach in and pull out of them because these kids have been the kings of their little kingdoms for 15 years.
“This year is going to be different.”
Demarko’s confidence stems from the pure talent she puts out on the lanes as well as the experience that each of her upperclassmen have gathered by advancing to districts and generally disappointing themselves.
As the coach said, this year could be different. For the majority of the Trojans’ roster, this is their last hurrah.
It’s not district tournament appearance or bust, it’s state or bust.