AHS Bowling Team Looks to Build on Successful Year
Writer / Melissa Gibson
Photographer / Wendy Gretzinger
Avon High School students have a unique opportunity through the Avon Bowling League, coached by Charlie Dorton — a long-time bowler and youth coach for more than 10 years.
Dorton, owner of Spectrum Print and Marketing (a printing company housed within Avon High School) got involved three years ago as the former coach stepped down.
“A lot of people don’t know that we have an Avon team,” Dorton says. “We currently have six in the men’s program and five in the women’s. With a maximum of 10 per team, and five playing at a time, we’d love to have some more involvement.”
It’s an all-inclusive sport.
Many students have been involved in youth leagues as children (offered at most area bowling facilities) but it’s not uncommon to join as a teen or adult.
“We currently have two guys and one girl that have never bowled in a league,” Dorton says. “We see all heights, sizes, disabilities, if you can follow your coach, focus and repeat with practice, anyone can join.”
Best of all, the smaller teams help form the camaraderie and friendships to last a lifetime.
“When they get out in the lanes, they’re on their feet the whole time,” Dorton says. “The team is unified. They’re cheering each other on. At some point, it becomes a mental game and I tell them, they have to lift each other up and support each other.”
The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) does not currently recognize bowling as a sport, but teens in Indiana feel otherwise.
Indiana is home to the largest population of high school bowling leagues with 197 teams competing, and, while they hope to be recognized in the coming year or two, there are several advantages of being considered a club among athletic organizations.
For example, high school students can compete for college scholarships.
“We have a sixth grader at River Birch that already has at least $1,500 in his scholarship fund,” Dorton says. “Brian Edwards, a former Avon student, is currently attending Marion University on a full bowling scholarship and Eric Stuffle is also attending Marion with a scholarship.”
If IHSAA adopts bowling as an official sport for the organization, those opportunities will be restricted to specific off-season events and school notoriety and publicity will increase.
Dorton says last year, the men’s team took many by surprise by finishing 14th in the State.
“I was very proud of them last year,” he says. “They just seized the moment and helped each other through. When you’re playing with only five per team, every ball and every player has an impact.”
This year, the men have lost two seniors and a junior and are in a rebuilding phase of the team. According to Dorton, the girls have just completed a team building and are well on their way.
He believes as the season progresses, ending in late January, several men and women will advance to regional, sectional and beyond.
For more information on following the team or joining, email Dorton at firstname.lastname@example.org.