Girls Bowling Starting to Struggle


Rachel Nelson, Editor-In-Chief

Scroll towards the end for updates as the season goes on!


The girls bowling team had their first tournament of the season on Black Friday. The NIC-10 Pre-Season Tournament was held at The Cherry Bowl this year and schools competed at the JV and Varsity level. Unfortunately, North’s team doesn’t have enough bowlers at the moment to fill both a Varsity and JV team, so just the Varsity competed. 

The team consists of Rachel Nelson (‘20), Kalaya Smelter (‘20), Valeria Walters (‘22), Jackie Sagona (‘21), Jessica Schardl (‘20), Paige Stolp (’21) and Julianna Harkin (‘22). 

This year, North doesn’t have as strong of a bowling team as they have had in the previous years. With a lot of girls who are still pretty new to bowling, this will be more of a rebuilding year as they work their way back to the level they used to be at. 

Coach Andrew Jensen has been working with the girls during practices to better them and help them understand more of the bowling game. This is Jensen’s third year coaching for Belvidere North. He coaches with his assistant Keith McGriff. Both have been bowling for the majority of their lives and have successful bowling careers. 

Some of the returning bowlers are Nelson, Smelter, Walters, Sagona, Schardl and Stolp. They are hoping to have a good year and make it to sectionals and maybe even state. 

“My goal this year is to make it to state. I have made it to sectionals the past three years and have been so close to qualifying for state the last couple years. Sophomore year I missed the cut by 9 pins and junior year I missed it by about 30, so I am really hopeful that this year I will finally be able to make it,” said Nelson. 

At the Pre-Season Tournament, the team took 7th place overall. They shot a 4466 for the day. Nelson finished in first with a 1266 averaging 211. She also tied for high game with a 256. 

The NIC-10 Conference is one of the toughest in the state on both the boy’s and girl’s side. The Harlem Huskies have taken first in the state for the past three years for the girl’s and also had a girl place first in the state individually the last few years as well. The Huskies took first for the boys last year, while the previous couple years, Harlem had taken second at state. For the boys, Hononegah has been the first place finishers in the years that Harlem took second. 

With Harlem losing 3 of their top bowlers last year, that opens up the field for other teams to win tournaments and state while also leaving it open for other girls to place first individually. 

At the Jefferson Invite on December 7, North placed 10th with a 3867. The format was 3 traditional games and then 12 baker games. Nelson finished in 5th individually with a series of 607 averaging 202 for the day. 

North had their first conference match against Jefferson on December 10. Some of the girls didn’t start out very strong, Nelson only had a 181, but she turned it around by the end when she had a 258 to end the day. Her series was a 609 averaging 203 for the day. Schardl had a good day, shooting over 600 as well. Game two for her was a 230 and the first and third games were just below 200. Her series for the day was 614 averaging 205. North beat Jefferson 2119-2760. 

On the 11th, the girls versed Marengo. They lost 2783-2572. High girl for the day was Nelson with a 572 averaging 191. They followed this up with a loss against Belvidere on the 13th. The score that day was 3025-2526. Nelson was high for the day with a series of 667 averaging 222. 

On December 17, North versed Auburn Knights. They won by a mere 62 pins with the score being 2700-2638. Nelson had her record high game with a 277 and also had a high series for the season of 692 averaging 231. 

They following Thursday, December 19, they versed Hononegah Indians. North lost this meet 2999-2768. Schardl had her PR for both game and series with a 236 and a 646.. Her games were 201, 209 and 236. Nelson also had her PR for series with a 730 going 236, 236 and 258. 

Over winter break, North traveled to a few different tournaments. They started at the East Invite on December 21. They didn’t have enough girls show up that day to field a team on their own, so they had a girl from Geneseo join them and they became a team of individuals. They took 7th that day finishing with a 4718. Individually, Nelson placed 3rd with a 1233 averaging 205. Smelter also had a good day placing 23rd, shooting 1009 and averaging 168. 

Next they went to the Harlem Invite on December 27. The girls didn’t do as well at this tournament as they were hoping. They placed 16th shooting 4556. None of the girls placed individually at this tournament. 

At the Belvidere Invite, the day went better than the last few tournaments. They placed 11th, but they had their highest team score this season with a 947. Nelson won the survivor event at the end of the tournament, but she missed making the top 10 by 8 pins. She shot an 1155 and it took an 1163. Stolp had a great day as she shot her high game of 203 and her high series of 992. She placed 37th. 

Their first match back from break was on January 6 against Woodstock at Kingston Lanes. The lanes were oiled more than what the team faces at any of the Rockford area houses. It took them all at least one game to figure out a good line. Nelson started off with shooting a 156, but came back the second and third game with a 201 and a 255. She shot 612 for the day averaging 204. North lost to Woodstock 2548-2440. 

“That first game was really tough, I couldn’t figure out a good line to play and I didn’t know which ball to use. I’m just glad I was able to come back with the 201 and 255 to shoot 612,” said Nelson (‘20).. 

Next, they went against the Harlem Huskies at Forest Hills Lanes on January 8. The Huskies are 3 time back-to-back-t- back state champions and are also back-to-back-to-back national champions. North lost to Harlem 3554-2456. The day didn’t go well for many, with only two girls out of both teams shooting 600. High bowlers for North that match were Nelson with a 517 and Schardl with a 479.  

The next day they versed the Guilford Vikings at Don Carter Lanes. This day went a little better for everyone. Nelson was high with a 556 while Stolp had the high game for the day with a 197. Another high series came from Smelter as she had a 555. North won this match 2838-2574.