Shaler senior Shannon Roche emerges as standout bowler

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Thursday, February 6, 2020 | 7:25 PM


Bowling was a nice change of pace for Shannon Roche.

The Shaler Area senior decided to stop playing basketball and take on the sport as a 10th grader.

Working to perfect her game on the lanes provided the individual aspect of a sport she enjoyed. It also provided her an opportunity to have some fun with her grandparents, Ida and Regis Fowler.

Roche’s grandparents were active in a couples bowling league for years and enjoyed the game. Over time, Roche brought her average from below 140 up to 167 and committed to bowl at Mount Aloysius College.

Roche still practices with her grandfather one day a week.

“When I got actually teaching on how to bowl, I made a big improvement,” Roche said. “My coach when I started (Samantha Smyers) showed me all the right techniques, and I took that on my own time and practiced with my pap until I got it corrected.”

Roche has the sixth-best average in the WPIBL’s North section this season with a 167.63 with a high game of 229. She is second on Shaler’s team behind Bella Pilyih, who leads the section with an average of 180.67.

“Shannon wasn’t a bowler before she joined the team,” Titans coach Shawn Pilyih said. “She came out just to do something fun. Shannon would be the first one to tell you she came out just for the hell of it. She’s improved a lot and is going to Mt. Aloysius, which I think is a good fit for her.”

Roche was nervous when she started bowling, in part because she was on varsity right away. Adjusting to the level of competition took some soothing.

“I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to do good and let the team down,” Roche said. “I had to push through it and try to be the best I could.”

Having that level of experience may help with the next transition.

Moving up a level will provide Roche with another challenge of increased difficulty.

She expects to have to alter her game in a big way for the college level.

“I think it’s going to be difficult because of the oil patterns they use for college,” Roche said. “I’m going to persevere. I’m going to work hard in practice and adjust to the conditions.”

Until then, Roche feels like Shaler has some unfinished business. The Titans, who finished second in the section behind Butler with a 9-2 record, hope to have a long postseason run ahead of them.

Shaler has reached regionals in Roche’s tenure but hasn’t found a way to go to states yet.

“I’m looking forward to making it to states,” Roche said. “We fell short of making it last year. If we all work together we should be able to make it to states with no problem.”

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