End of an era in Glen Este bowling leaves behind shimmering legacy

By Chris Chaney
Sun staff

A banner year for the Glen Este Lady Trojans wrapped up at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl on Saturday, March 8 when the team finished in 14th place in state qualifying. The season didn’t come to a close, however, before senior Leslie Campbell picked up one more lofty accolade: First Team All-Ohio.

A tough lane pattern and shot combined with the nerves of competing on the state’s biggest stage was a daunting task not only the Lady Trojans, but for the majority of the competitors from around Ohio.

“I think it was a lot of things,” Glen Este head coach Kathy Demarko said of what produced lower-than-expected scores. “I think the shot was very tough. Only one girl (Centerville’s Megan Cook) shot a really high score and she’s from the area; she bowled well, a 670.

“Leslie shot a 609 and came in fifth place. That’s below her average and she made First Team. She’s better than that and the other girls are better than that as well. I consider the shot to be very tough. You had to learn to adjust and it got tougher as the day went on, so yeah, I think with the nerves and the tough shot, it made it harder.”

Coming out of the three-game regulation round, Glen Este was in 13th place and within striking distance in the baker round before the elimination bracket was set. Bowling to their baker average of 185 per game would have had the Lady Trojans in the hunt for a place on the bracket, but the nerves and frustration that came with missing some spares became too much to overcome.

Despite failing to qualify for the finals, Demarko looked back on the season as an outright success.

“Yeah. Duh,” she said when asked if the season was a success. “We set a goal during (our seniors’) freshman year that we wanted to make state. With Leslie at a 220, Haley (Vogelgesang) at a 190 and everyone else around a 160-something, I consider this a successful year.”

Following four years of Campbell, Vogelgesang, Gabby Ruehlman and April Belanger on the girls’ team as well as Blake Huber, Andrew Aubrey and Ryan Stroup on the boys’ side, the Glen Este bowling program is left in mint condition. Among those also riding off into the sunset will be the longtime coach, Kathy Demarko, who, after 14 years at the helm, is holding true to a promise she made to the miniature versions of Leslie, Haley and Blake.

“I made a promise to Leslie and Haley and Blake when they were little kids hanging around (Cherry Grove Bowling Lanes) on Saturday mornings,” Demarko explained. “I made a promise that if they stuck it out bowling through high school that I would get them through high school, into colleges and that they would make it state.

“That was a bold statement, but the first time I saw Leslie throw a bowling ball when she was about six, I thought, ‘this little girl is going to make it.’ Then I saw Blake and then I saw Haley and they were all the exact same age and all coming up through the program, so I promised I would get them through and I promised my husband once I got them through, I would step down.

“For 14 years, I’ve dedicated a lot of my time — a lot of my family time — to Glen Este and this program. I wanted to build something that was worth leaving behind and I feel like I’ve done that. I feel like I left more than a sport behind me, I feel like I’ve left a legacy behind me.”

Assistant coach Tony Kellerman has kept up the statistical side of the program while Demarko dealt more in the making memories business, and by Kellerman’s records, Demarko has racked up 397 wins and coached 60 All-Tournament Team members.

That’s some legacy she’s leaving behind.