Bowling rolls onward to continued success

Bowling has been one of the most successful sports programs at Eastern in recent memory.


Coach Datis

Girls Bowling celebrates following their Group IV Sectionals victory.

The bowling program is no stranger to success.

  The girls team has brought home the conference title for eight consecutive years, and both teams advanced to states last year. Even with the triumphs of the past few years, has bowling been overlooked? Has it been overshadowed? Well, perhaps no longer.

  Head coach Señor Eric Datis returns for his ninth year at the helm. He enjoys the competitiveness that bowling brings to the table.

  Datis enjoys the competition that bowling has with all of the different schools, and the different regions. “Bowling is surprisingly popular throughout the whole state,” he said, “and it’s just as competitive as any other sport.”

  Both teams compete two to three times per week, and play in Saturday tournaments on the weekends.

  A match is structured into three games, with five bowlers taking part in each game. The winner of each game is decided by the highest amount of total pins. Once the three games are over, the total pin count for all three games is added together, and the team with the higher count is awarded an additional point. Depending on how the numbers play out, a 2-2 tie is mathematically possible, although rare.

  Each bowler has a different story for joining. Sophomore Maddy Feldschneider, who is one of the lead bowlers, started out at a young age. She started bowling when she was five because of her dad. “I don’t really remember a lot,” she said, “but I know I always had fun.”

Sophomore Tommy Burns, ranked 35th in the state last year as a freshman, has a particularly humorous story.

  When he was nine or ten, his dad let him throw a nine-pound ball with no bumpers, and he got three strikes in a row. He then realized his bowling potential, and joined a league on Saturday mornings, with tournaments soon to follow.

   Burns made a good decision to start bowling, as he won first place at the 2020 State Individual Championships.

   Although the essence of bowling lies in the team spirit, Datis understands the profound individual characteristics as well.

  Even though it’s a team sport, and there are five people who have to bowl as part of the team., it’s so mental and individual. “Each bowler, there’s no one who can help them,” Datis said. “They’re on their own. When they’re up at the line and they’re ready to bowl, once they let go of the ball, there’s nothing they can do about it.”

Feldschneider overcomes the mental barrier by clearing her mind.

  “I just forget about what I did before if it was bad, and I just keep trying harder every time,” she said.

   In order for such a talented team to bring its skills out onto the lanes, the team keeps a loose, laid-back dynamic, but one that’s still tightly-knit. This past season, the girls team finished undefeated at 16-0, with the boys not too far behind at 12-4. Junior Sandra Garneau explained the girls’ gameplan going into the season.

  “Since we’ve won our conference for the past eight years, we really just wanted to keep that tradition going, especially after we lost some of our seniors from last year. We had to go in knowing we could do well, and that we had to step it up this year,” she said.

  Senior Colby Ackerman only started bowling in his sophomore year, but he has improved drastically in that period of time. One of his favorite aspects of the sport is also one of the more challenging skills to master.

  He likes making hard splits. “I just find it interesting how many ways you have to think about the pins to try to knock them down,” he said.

  Datis can think of no other winter sport he’d rather coach. “I like what I’m doing, and I think I’ve built a pretty good program, so I see it going on for a while.”