Hampton bowlers aiming high with deeper rosters
Saturday, November 21, 2020 | 11:01 AM
The Hampton bowling team is turning to a familiar face for a season the likes of which it has never seen before.
Coach Glenn Thomas, who started the program five years ago, returns to the helm after last year’s coach, Bob Wallace, stepped away because of covid-19 concerns for his at-risk son, Liam, a Talbots bowler who is sitting out this season.
“We didn’t want to see (the program) go away,” Thomas said. “Over the years, we would get one or two kids here and there. This is the first year that we have truly full teams. We were shocked.”
Thomas has 10 boys bowlers, including junior Kyle DiCaprio, who averaged a team-best 130 last season.
B.J. Thomas, Glenn’s wife, returns to coach the eight-member girls team. She brings back five of her top six bowlers, paced by senior Bridget Wojick, who averaged 115 per game last season.
The early days of the program were not so plentiful.
“The first couple of years were very stressful trying to encourage people to join,” B.J. Thomas said. “I mean, I drove them to practice. I drove them home after practice. I drove them to matches. I drove them home after matches, just to get people to come. It was very hard to get them.”
The Talbots boys went 3-7 in the WPIBL West Division last season, and the girls went 4-6. With deeper rosters this season — a team must have a minimum of five bowlers to compete in a match — the Talbots are looking for another push up the standings.
“I feel now we will be competitive this year,” Glenn Thomas said. “Last year if a kid got sick or something, we were down. At least this year we know that we will have replacements, and we will have a JV team, which we’ve never had before. We have depth, so to speak.
“I think for the boys a good goal for us is to be at least .500. I think the girls could compete for playoffs this year.”
Other boys bowlers include senior Will Brandeis (108.6), junior Brady Longwell (104.1) and junior Gabe Jakovlic (91.7).
“We can actually win games now,” said DiCaprio, who uses a two-handed bowling technique. “We have competition against each other. We’re doing pretty good. Our first practice, we all scored pretty high.”
Joining Wojick as returners on the girls team are seniors Sofia Koren (104.2), Lily Obendorfer (95.4) and Julia Resch (94.9) and sophomore Maya Obendorfer (84.5).
“Bridget is our anchor,” B.J. Thomas said of Wojick. “She enjoys it, and she’s good at it and she’s anxious to learn how to do it right. Some of the others are ‘Hey, I’m here for fun. I don’t care.’ Bridget cares. She is a serious bowler.”
After being in the West Division of the 54-team WPIBL last season, the Talbots, as of press time, were still unsure of their division this season. The WPIBL was realigning to minimize travel for teams because of covid concerns. The regular season is scheduled to start in early December with Hampton bowling out of Pines Plaza in Ross Township.
One thing is certain. Both coaches say having fun and competing are the most important aspects of the program.
“Our philosophy is anyone can join the bowling team, and we’ll teach you how to bowl,” Glenn Thomas said. “Some teams are cut-throat. We are more into it as fun and competitiveness. We’re going to win some. But I don’t see us — at least on the boys side right now — winning championships. But on the girls side, they have a lot of the volleyball players, so they are pure athletes and they were very good last year.”
More High School Other• Penn-Trafford notebook: Patton Graziano wins county swimming title
• Experienced duo makes difference for Penn Hills bowling team
• Westmoreland athletes of the week: Mt. Pleasant’s Lily King, Hempfield’s Eli Carr
• North Allegheny notebook: Tigers win triple-overtime thriller
• High school scores, summaries and schedules for Feb. 3, 2023