Hampton girls bowling team provides low-pressure fun

Saturday, January 21, 2023 | 11:01 AM

It was supposed to be all fun and games.

Two-time all-state volleyball player Emmy Schrom joined Hampton’s bowling team as a freshman because she knew it would be enjoyable.

Junior Charlotte Lomb, the school’s starting softball pitcher, joined this season as a welcomed distraction from the pressures of travel ball and recruiting.

“It was just supposed to be kind of a fun thing that was taking away from the stress that softball is putting on me,” Lomb said. “I think it still serves that purpose. But it has turned more competitive.”

The seven-member Hampton girls bowling team took a 3-4 record into its Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League match with Quaker Valley on Jan. 18. While the playoffs are a long shot, the Talbots have improved during this season, which ends Feb. 1 against visiting North Hills at Hampton’s home lane, Pines Plaza.

“We’re doing OK,” first-year coach Jennifer Schrom, Emmy’s mom, said. “We don’t have a full boys team this year, unfortunately, but our girls team is staying pretty competitive. They are doing better than they did last year.”

The boys team (0-7) graduated its entire roster from last season and has only two bowlers, juniors Frank Postava, who has a 133 average, and Noah Hollinger (97.7).

The girls team, however, is able to field a five-person lineup each match.

Schrom is averaging a team-high 131.3 and is hoping to become the first Hampton girl to qualify for the WPIBL championships since the program formed six years ago. Schrom, who trails only Moon junior Allison Lerch (141) among 32 bowlers in West Division, needs to average 140 for the season to qualify for the WPIBL championships Feb. 23 at AMF Mt. Lebanon. She has a season-high game of 184.

“We’ve done a lot better than last year,” Emmy Schrom said. “We’ve improved a lot. … I like the team because it’s more for fun. You are still allowed to be competitive, you are still allowed to want to win, but there’s a lot less pressure.”

Junior Anna Derence, who also plays softball, is second on the team with a 118 average, which ranks in the top 10 in the West Division.

Lomb is third with a 115 average, a huge leap considering she hadn’t bowled for years before joining the team and had never bowled without gutter guards. The rust showed. She scored a 65 at her first practice. But she bowled a 162 in a regular-season match and a personal-best 190 at practice.

“She throws a really hard ball,” coach Schrom said. “She blows them up sometimes. She’s a little wild. She pulls it back like she’s pitching sometimes, instead of bowling. When she tweaks that a little bit, she does a really good job. She’s put up a couple of really high scores for us.”

Other bowlers on the team are seniors Marisa Vizzoca and Madeline McGrath and juniors Juliana Valenti and Maria Nunez Sanchez.

Coach Schrom, who bowled as a youngster and helped the program under former coaches Bob Wallace and Glenn Thomas, knows the pressures of being a high-caliber varsity athlete. Her daughter is one of the WPIAL’s top volleyball players and is being recruited by numerous Division I schools. That list will grow this winter as Schrom plays for the Revolution travel club in her pivotal age-17 season.

“I think it’s good for them,” coach Schrom said. “They are still competitive and they still care and they go out and they want to do a good job. But it’s not the full pressure that they feel with their other sports.”

Lomb, who also plays for the Rhode Island Thunder Gold 18U national team, has softball recruiting visits planned to Rider, Muskingum and Otterbein.

She said the idea of bowling began as an enjoyable diversion but that all changed when she got to the lanes and lined up against teams like North Hills and Avonworth.

“It was supposed to be something that was just fun, outside of softball,” she said. “It has turned into, ‘How can I make myself better at this?’”

Emma Schrom felt the same competitive juices when the 6-foot outside hitter for Hampton’s perennial power girls volleyball program took to the bowling lanes.

“I have a hard time not being competitive,” she said. “I tell myself, ‘It’s just bowling.’ But I’m an athlete. I want to win.”


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