Girls bowling: Scouting the 2021-2022 season in the Northwest suburbs

By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/1/2021 6:11 PM

Mid-Suburban East

Buffalo GroveCoach: Chris VanGrondelle


Top bowlers: Ally Howard, sr., Alice Sempoch, sr., Anya Tryskyba, sr., Carly Young, sr., Nicky Howard, Jr, Vyktoria Kesheshian, Jr, Eleni Papapaschallis, Jr, Megan Stoesser, Jr, Lauren Trandai, Jr, Sofia Vartek, Jr, Jenny Waz, Jr

Worth noting: Leader of the pack for the Bison, Mid-Suburban League champions the last two seasons, will be senior Ally Howard, who was top 5 in conference last year. "She's a returning superstar," said VanGrondelle. "Ally was one of the top bowlers in the MSL and in the state last season. Her calm but confident demeanor resonates throughout our squad." VanGrondelle also had nothing but praise for Young, Papapaschallis, and Nicky Howard, saying that, "Carly has worked very hard over the past year to improve her game and gain confidence, Elena is a multisport athlete who has figured out the game of bowling and is a solid returnee, and Nicky has the power game that is not shared with a lot of bowlers."

Elk GroveCoach: Tim Redel

Top bowlers: Julia Montag, sr., Aileen Saucedo, sr., Gabrielle Perolino, Jr, Ashley Davis, so., Gabriela Galan, so.

Worth noting: The Grenadiers will be a very young team in the 2021-2022 season, as coach Redel says that some of his crew are just getting acclimated to the sport of bowling. "We're looking at a promising season of learning and improving our fundamentals," said Redel. A bright spot for the Grens this year will be Natalia Villegas, who will compete in the Wheelchair Division. Villegas finished third in state in her sophomore year, and Redel added that this season, "she'll be looking to improve on that and make a run at the state title."

HerseyCoach: Mark Gunther

Top bowlers: Sally Bornhorst, sr., Kate Hager, sr., Abby Hill, sr., Anna Wennerberg, sr., Sommer D'Anna, Jr, Hannah Gelinas, Jr, Lexi Hemminger, Jr, Mimi Hill, Jr, Olivia Klancnik, Jr Ava Johnsen, so., Molly Johnson, so., Raegan Nelson, so., Elle Murray, so., Julia Reints, so., Evie Rudy, so., Giada Whetter, so., Ava Klancnik, fr., Freedom Toll, fr.

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Worth noting: Wennerberg will be the sole returning varsity bowler for the Huskies. She averaged 170 last time out and is poised to lead her team in scoring this year. Hill and Hager were first and second in high average last season for the JV team, and are "ready to take the next step," per Gunther. "We will be a senior dominated team," added the coach, "and we look to challenge for the East Division and make some noise in the MSL conference."

ProspectCoach: Ashley Mahanna

Top bowlers: Caitlin Robinson, sr., Carolyn Glody, Jr, Emily Robinson, Jr, Emily Biondo, so., Jamie Happ, so., Katie Ruszczak, so.

Worth noting: Much of the success for the Knights will hinge on the efforts of stellar senior Caitlin Robinson. "She is one of the few on our team who know what bowling and competition in the MSL looked like prior to COVID," said Mahanna. "For this reason her experience is going to be a huge asset for us. She has an amazing way of keeping our team levelheaded, and will be a fantastic role model for our younger bowlers." Prospect will be a bit inexperienced having lost 6 seniors to graduation. "While last season had it's obstacles," said Mahanna, "we made the best of every moment. They had the drive to compete just like it was any other season. We're excited to be back and hitting the lanes, and while we are younger compared to last year, we have a lot of potential and depth."

Rolling MeadowsCoach: Eric Rosenwald

Top bowlers: Brianna Barile, Jr, Heather Stembel, Jr, Melanie Engelking, so.

Worth noting: Rosenwald says that it is full steam ahead for his Mustangs this year. As far as Barile, Stembel, and Engelking, the coach adds that "they all bowl regularly during the offseason, they're competitive, hard working, level headed, and driven." With the inability to bowl on a regular basis last season due to COVID, Rosenwald believes his roster will be able to achieve their personal bests this campaign. "With things back to normal," said Rosenwald, "the girls are doing well, and looking good thus far."


WheelingCoach: Catherine Zaworski

Top bowlers: Kaytlen Buen, sr., Kristen Dawson, sr., Darya Tsialehina, sr., Allison Wong, sr., Heidi Martinez, Jr, Isabella Moreno, so.

Worth noting: Zaworski said the Wildcats had a great turnout this year in the program. "I'm excited to see the dedication, the great attitudes and the improvement the players have put forth," said Zaworski. The coach has high praise for her team members, especially senior Tsialehina, of whom Zaworski said: "Darya is our top bowler, and this will be her fourth season. She had a strong sophomore season and made it to state as an individual qualifier. She's made some great strides over the past three years, and we look forward to Darya leading the team with her leadership and bowling skills. Zaworski added of the rest of the squad that, "their positive attitudes and effort will help contribute to the team, and we're excited to see the potential that they've shown in the first week."

Mid-Suburban West

BarringtonCoach: Dann Giesey

Top bowlers: Emily O'Byrn, sr., Tara Gutzmer, so., Alexis Homan, fr. Breanna Saunders, fr.

Worth noting: The Fillies suffered some key losses over the summer as star players Autumn Fox and Sonia Halabi moved on to bowl in college, Fox for Baker University and Halal for McKendree University. But Barrington still has one of the best local bowlers in senior O'Byrn, who rolled a 300 game as a sophomore. She also earned the fifth highest average in the Mid-Suburban League last year at 188, and is committed to bowl at the UW-Whitewater. "The rest of our team will be very young, but we'll be looking to improve coming out of the pandemic," said Giesey.

ConantCoach: Jennifer Mikrut

Top bowler: Audrey Bezella, sr.

Worth noting: It will be a rebuilding year for the Cougars, who two seasons ago enjoyed a special year when they were runners-up in regionals, second at the sectional tournament and took 12th at state. "I couldn't have been more proud of that team, it was a very special year," said Mikrut, as that state-bound square included players who, for the most part, started their bowling careers in their freshman season at Conant and grew with the program. "Now (this year)," added Mikrut, " we will be very young."

FremdCoach: Ruben Hinojosa

Top bowlers: Sanjana Kaushik, sr., Grace Moretti, sr., Mk Rau, sr., Medha Yaragorla, sr., Abi Lee, Jr, Michelle Lui, Jr, Michelle Wu, Jr

Worth noting: Hinojosa is pointing toward the Vikings Invitational on Saturday, and also looks forward to "competing for a West division (title)." His squad will be led by senior Yaragorla, a 2019 sectional qualifier, and also says that "Grace Moretti finished strong last year and has worked on her game during the offseason, and Michelle Lui is showing that she will be a big contributor."

Hoffman EstatesCoach: Dan Pfligler

Top bowlers: Abigail Gutierrez, Giana Hernandez, Nursaida Juman, Yuliya Lysa, Aima Qutbuddin, Abigail Wehrle, Aiman Zainab

Worth noting: Coach Pfligler is in his 18th season, and his Hawks teams have finished Top 10 at state eight times, including a state championship (2006) and two runner-up placements (2005, 2018). Now this year he'll be coming in to what looks to be a complete season (after last year's shortened go-round) looking for good things from his team. "Our goal is to be competitive," said Pfligler, "and get better each and every week."

PalatineCoach: John Burke

Top bowlers: Tarrah Phillips, sr., Payton Prospal, sr., Natalia Smielinski, sr., Ashley Juarez, Jr, Lenys Solis, Jr

Worth noting: The Pirates won the MSL West last season, and Burke returns all five starters from that championship squad. "It's nice that they got some playing time last year," said the longtime coach, "so they're not just being thrown into the fire this time. " Burke adds that it will be different for the competitors in the 2021-2022 campaign, as most duals and meets will be back to admitting fans. "Our kids are used to having people watch them bowl, but now the crowds will be bigger," said Burke, who will be counting on the prowess of Phillips and Prospal. "Payton and Tarrah are really close friends," added Burke, "they bowl together all the time. They're like two peas in a pod."

SchaumburgCoach: Katie Kotecki

Top bowlers: Meliah Moore-Rozier, sr., Grace Biester Jr, Ella Heiser, Jr, Bri Linnemann Jr, Lorelei Masouridis, Jr, Addison Rathmann, fr.

Worth noting: It's the first year in charge for Kotecki, a 2000 Schaumburg graduate and a competitor on the Saxons' bowling squad all four of her high school years. "I'm very excited for the upcoming season," said Kotecki. "We have a few players coming back from last year's team, and we're excited to how we progress this year."


LeydenCoach: Chris Aylward

Top bowlers: Jazmine Rivera, sr., Ailyn Aguilar, Jr, Emily Luu, Jr, Breanna Pimentel, Jr, Lynn Respeto, Jr, Emily Rivas, Jr

Worth noting: Pimentel is team captain and one of the top area participants. "She's capable of things that are simply out of other bowler's range of abilities," said Aylward. " Breanna has a flawless technique and a true competitor's attitude." Like a lot of coaches, Aylward bemoaned last year's shortened season. "Unfortunately there was no state series," added Aylward, "so our story remained untold. I am looking forward to this season with these terrific young ladies." Of Aguilar, the coach said that, "she did an excellent job last season filling in on varsity when one of our girls was out, and does not let things bother her much at all. She is able to repeat shots as a result, as nerves do not play a factor."

St. ViatorCoach: Andrew Weber

Top bowler: Francheska Davis

Worth noting: The Lions do not currently have a girls team (they hope to have one by next year), but Davis -- who bowls on the Viator co-ed team -- is one of the most dynamic bowlers in the area. According to Weber, she "has the highest average on the co-ed team (184.22) and half of her games in the first two weeks of competition were above 200, including a 234 high game." Davis also excels in the classroom, as she is in the Viator Querbes Scholars Program, which is composed of students with exceptional academic promise. "Francheska has never backed down or been intimidated when competing against the best of the best varsity bowlers in the boys' league," said Weber. "In fact, she lives for it, and is a good student of the game."

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