New coach carrying on family tradition for Hampton bowling team

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Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 3:53 PM


Two years ago, Glenn Thomas wanted to start a bowling team at Hampton. The impetus? His sons, Garrett and Jacob, wanted to bowl. New coach Bob Wallace will follow in those footsteps.

Wallace will take over a program still in its infancy, though the team started to gain traction last year, winning its first game and fielding a full team.

His motivation is his sophomore son Liam, who is a special needs student.

“He loves bowling and we’d like to get him involved in a sport with the other kids in high school and it worked out,” said Wallace, who also serves as meet director for the Hampton Dolphins swim team.

Bowling is a sport that Liam seemingly took to out of nowhere a few years ago.

“A couple years ago, he would come home on the school bus and the bus driver would tell me he’s going bowling this weekend,” said Wallace. “I said, ‘Really, what?’ He had never said it in the house. So I asked if he wanted to go.”

This isn’t Liam’s first try. He bowled last year as a freshman, so he understands what to expect this year, and has been steadily improving his game, according to his father.

Also returning is sophomore Kyle DiCiprio and junior Jocelyn Behr, the only girl currently in the program. Teams are separated into boys and girls squads. They require five bowlers for a full team, leaving Hampton with plenty of open roster spots for those interested.

There is a team and individual aspect to the sport. Players with a good enough average qualify for the WPIAL championship, even if their respective team forfeits every match.

“We won one game last year,” Wallace said. “If we get enough people this year, maybe we can win a couple games, but it’s not something I would consider the highest priority. It’s just, ‘Let’s have some fun, go knock some pins down and see what we can do together.’”

The team will bowl out of Pines Plaza in Hampton Township. Since the team shares lanes with neighboring teams such as Shaler, Wallace said eight of the team’s 10 games will be at its home lanes, allowing for minimal travel. While Wallace understands the basics of bowling, he notes that he’s not an expert.

“I’m not someone who’s out there bowling 230s and 240s and is going to give advice on how to put it in the pocket,” he added. “I want to have fun. I want the kids to have fun.”

The team starts practice the second week in November on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from roughly 3 to 6 p.m. The first matches start in December and run through February.

The team itself won’t be better off without Glenn Thomas’s kids — particularly Garrett, who participated at WPIALs, traveled to youth championships in Dallas and now bowls for Muskingum University in Ohio. Still, Thomas was not going to leave Wallace empty-handed.

“I think he has very kindly helped to offer to transition me into the position this year,” Wallace said. “My motivation is the same thing. I want to see Liam bowl. There needs to be a team. If there needs to be a team, there needs to be a coach.”

Anyone interested in being involved in the program can contact Wallace at bwallace66@gmail.com or call at (303) 902-9764.

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