Article by Elizabeth Menne
Since its start on Drury’s campus in 2015, women’s bowling has been no stranger to a myriad of successes, setbacks, and firsts. This semester has been no different.
Due to the relative newness of the program, Drury women’s bowling is continuously growing and has gone through several changes. The biggest of these is that this semester, they competed at the NCAA level for the first time.
This year, the team was faced with the loss of several previous members and the challenge of integrating four new freshman into the team. This change would surely result in an entirely different dynamic which, to some, may have seemed daunting. However, sophomores Madalin Tiltges and Taylor Bradway said that the change was a welcome one.
“Last year, we had a lot of problems with cliques and struggled with coming together as a cohesive unit, so the addition of new faces and personalities has made the team better in a lot of different respects,” said Bradway.
Tiltges echoed a similar sentiment, saying, “We just lacked chemistry. This year, I feel like we are more of a team and we get along a lot better which has been really helpful in the development of our game.”
Freshman Kyla Owens says that forming the team that they have now wasn’t easy. “I feel like, at first, our team wasn’t really connected but as the season progressed, we’ve gotten very close and we’ve bonded well.”
Freshman Caroline Conrad also emphasized the importance of this connection that she feels on the bowling team.
“Now that we know each other personally, we understand each other’s games a lot better.” Conrad said. “If we can tell that one person is frustrated, down or just not having a good day, we can boost them up and encourage them because we have a different type of connection with them.”
A Learning Experience
Conrad and Owens say that this semester has definitely been a learning experience for them in their sport and has not been without challenges.
“It’s definitely different from high school bowling. It’s a lot more intense and competitive and you have to focus a lot more.” said Conrad.
Conrad continued, saying that the size of the team has also been an obstacle that the team has had to overcome.
“With only 7 bowlers, it’s hard because you have to stay focused and you can’t get tired and need to be on your game at all times.”
Owens believes that this season and playing at a high level has helped her grow as a bowler.
“This semester has been a great start to our collegiate career.” said Owens. “I’ve learned a lot about teamwork and what it means to be a team player. I’ve also learned a lot of new skills and terminology that I didn’t know before.”
When asked what they are most looking forward to next semester, Owens and Conrad both said that while they look forward to continuing to play the sport that they love, it’s the people on the bowling team that make them most excited to continue in the spring.
“I’m looking forward to improving and growing as a team and also spending more time with my teammates. The people are definitely my favorite part of the bowling team,” said Conrad.
Owens is excited to travel with her team.
“I’m looking forward to traveling, especially to Chicago, IL on Mar. 23rd because that’s where I’m from,” said Owens.
If you are interested in following the adventures of the Drury women’s bowling team as they compete in tournaments all over the United States, Conrad has established a YouTube channel dedicated to documenting their progression in each tournament in an entertaining and fun way.
To see the videos, referred to as ‘vlogs,’ type “Drury women’s bowling” in the YouTube search bar and subscribe to “caroLINE vlogs.”