Penn Hills bowling teams leading East division

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Friday, January 10, 2020 | 12:53 AM


In recent years, the Penn Hills bowling program has been one sided. This year is a different story as the Indians sit atop of the East section both in boys and girls bowling.

The girls team hasn’t skipped a beat coming off a season where it qualified for the state team championship. It was the first time the team qualified for the tournament in five years.

This season, the girls team has jumped out to a 5-0 record with wins over Valley, Plum, Gateway, Redeemer and Burrell.

The girls have taken the team approach as one bowler looks to pick up her teammates. However, junior Taylor Parco has shown the ability to be more of a consistent bowler for the Indians.

Parco leads the team with a 183.75 average through four weeks. The average is third best in the division behind Plum’s Shannon Small (220.08) and Burrell’s Lydia Flanagan (213).

Junior Ashley Hepler is second on the Indians with a 156.50 average, senior Audrey Grainy is third with a 151.82 average and senior Lucy Urbansky is fourth with a 141.33 average.

Girls coach Nancy Lindsay has stressed to her team the importance of converting spares when they get deeper into the season, especially if they have their sights on returning back to the state tournament.

“They need to convert their spares. We will be working really hard over the next couple of weeks fine-tuning our spare-making ability because when you get to the state level, you need to be able to make spares,” Lindsay said.

“If we want to get that far, we will need to work on converting spares and putting a couple strikes together. They just need to be confident they can go up there (and do that).”

The most surprising part of the bowling season thus far is the performance by the boys bowling team, which also has started 5-0 and has four of the top five bowlers in the East section.

Junior Ethan Grainey, a Plum transfer, has led the Indians. Grainey has the second-highest average at 207.42, which is two pins behind Valley’s Andrew Russell (209.92).

A trio of seniors round out the top four bowlers for the Indians — Noah Houghtelin (196.33), AJ Collins (194.50) and Ryland Amato (190.11).

Boys coach Mark Diehm attributes the team’s turnaround to the amount of work they put in during the offseason in junior league tournaments on the weekends.

“I think a lot of it is their attitude. They’re hungry. They want to win. In the first match against Valley, it was a little closer than we anticipated and then we had a really good match against Plum,” Diehm said.

“From that point on, they realized they have a pretty good chance to go on and do well. They are bowling more, and they’re very coachable kids.”

Diehm was proud of the Indians’ ability to defeat Plum for the first time in close to a decade.

The boys and girls team hope to both participate in the Western Pennsylvania Regional team championships Feb. 12-13; the singles championship will occur a week later Feb. 19-20.

“It’s kind of fun to see the boys and the girls together doing well,” Lindsay said. “Sometimes in the past, the girls were doing well and the guys were struggling. It’s really rewarding for both Mark and I when both teams are doing well at the same time.”

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