Kiski Area girls bowling notches historic 1st win

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Tuesday, January 4, 2022 | 10:49 AM


The date will be etched into Kiski Area bowling annals.

On Dec. 15, the Kiski Area girls team defeated host Butler at Family-Bowl-A-Way, 7-0, to log the program’s first-ever win against a full-squad opponent.

The Cavaliers were led by the fivesome of Veronica Flanagan, Alyssa Leya, Savannah Renwick, Haley Zeller and Phoebe Richard.

“We are extremely happy with the work and dedication these girls are putting into getting better and becoming a team from week to week,” said Kiski Area coach Duggie Belles, who is assisted by his wife Stefani. “They are all becoming close with each other and actually help to encourage each other on every shot they throw, which is going to be a huge part of their success this year.

“We are fortunate that four of the starters have been bowling in juniors for many years, and it helps that they have had some time to work on their game.”

Flanagan and Leya are top freshmen bowlers for Kiski Area, which operates with a young lineup consisting of one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen.

“Ronnie Flanagan has showed great leadership skills,” Belles said. “She has the most experience out of the five girls. She has competed in junior gold (bowling) for four years and has been bowling since she was 7 years old.

“And Alyssa Leya is pushing herself. Every ball she throws she tries to make the best shot that she can.”

Flanagan competes in the anchor position for Kiski with a 577 series average, thanks in large part to her blistering 619 score and 225 high game in Kiski’s season opener.

Leya racked up a 529 series against Butler with games of 181, 167 and 181. She has a 524 average with a high game of 225.

Renwick, a junior, Zeller and Richard added 457, 421 and 408 series, respectively, in the historic victory for the Cavaliers. Zeller and Richard are sophomores.

“Phoebe Richard is a first-year bowler and has been improving every day. She had a career best (score) at Butler and helped the girls get the victory,” Belles said. “Savanna Renwick has been working very hard and has great leadership skills. She is the only remaining Kiski girl that is back this year, and she has helped take the nerves off of some of the younger kids. Haley Zeller has been putting in a lot of extra work and is improving greatly.

“We also have a sixth girl, sophomore Peyton Martin, who’s been doing very well and will see varsity action at some point this season.”

Kiski Area outscored the Golden Tornado in total pins, winning by a 2,350-2,198 margin.

“The girls bowled as a team,” Duggie Belles said. “When one struggled, the next girl stepped up and that’s huge in team bowling. If they bowl as a team like that and keep improving, I think they can go far this year.”

The Cavaliers are members of the WPIBL North section along with Butler, Deer Lakes, Seneca Valley, Shaler and North Allegheny. This is the fifth year of the Kiski bowling program.

“We started the team in our son Joey’s freshman year with a group of kids that bowled juniors from the time they were 5 or 6,” Stefani Belles said. “Joey bowls with Duggie and I in a league at Mohawk Lanes in Indiana. I started bowling when my husband and I started dating, and then we started Joey bowling when he was 5.”

The leading bowlers on the Kiski Area boys team are junior Nickson McDermott, senior Brady Lutes and Jackson Bielek, and freshman Nicholas Debich.

“For the second year in a row, we only have four boys and we would love to get a fifth,” Duggie Belles said. “It’s impossible to compete without a full team, but the boys are still putting in 100% and are bowling the best they can. They are still bowling as a team and hope to qualify individually for the championships.

“My expectations of both teams is just to give 100% and do the best they can. The friendships that we see forming is definitely more important than wins and losses.

“If the kids enjoy what they are doing, the wins will come. But at the end of the day, friendships last forever.”

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