Bowling team ends season proud despite tribulations

The women’s bowling team brought its season to a close Saturday after the 2007 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference bowling championship in Norfolk, Va., ending the season with a 14-22 record and eighth in the conference.

The team’s fight for victory came to an end the second day of the MEAC Bowling Championship at the AMF Military Lane after going down in a best-of-seven match during baker play to defending champ University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Assistant coach Paul Williams said the ladies put forth maximum effort and gave it their best shot with what they had to work with.

“We needed a solid five to compete, and we just didn’t have it,” Williams said. “As far as heart goes, you couldn’t have asked for any better.

“Considering all that went wrong, one was sick, we could have fared better had we had a healthy five. The skill of the bowlers was about an average (of) three and a half with five bowlers,” Williams continued.

Williams, who has been with the bowling team six years along with coach Novella Brown, also said he feels a large part of the championship’s results has to do with the southern region’s seasonal differences from the northern region.

“When it comes to championship bowlers, we can’t get people to come this far south,” Williams said. “They want to stay close to home. The North has better bowlers because the season calls for more indoor activities. Here in Florida, everyone wants to be out in the sun year round.”

Williams also said bowling should be a priority in Florida in order to have a stronger recruiting option in the future.

“We need to recruit better bowlers,” Williams said.

Team captain Dominique Boatman, a senior psychology student from Apopka, agreed that the team’s loss of a player did add to the tournament’s disappointing outcome.

“We did better the first half of the season,” Boatman said.

“Then we were down a player and picked up somebody else to pick up the slack.”

Boatman also said this season her performance was not her best and there is always room for improvement. Boatman was noted for her high average: 3,554 total pins and an average of 177.700. “I didn’t do my career best, but I steadily improved,” Boatman said.

As for the season itself, Williams said through all the trials and tribulations, the team still managed to pull through.

“We’ve lost several bowlers since the beginning of the season, and that continued to plague us because we had to spend way too much time trying to get up to speed and having to bring in less experienced bowlers into competition with experienced bowlers,” Williams said. “(However) they kept their faith and kept their energy up to bowl even though we were short a few bowlers. They never lost heart.”

The women’s final score in the MEAC roundup was 822, and the team had a high average of 24,271 for eight events. The team completed its season with 28 overall wins, 69 losses, 16 baker wins and 41 losses.

Although the outcome of this season isn’t as strong as the team’s previous years, Williams is very optimistic about the upcoming season.

“We’ve recruited experienced bowlers who will quickly rise to the occasion,” he said. “We will be a force to be reckoned with, formidable, and we won’t be short-manned.”

The team currently consists of 5 members: Dominique Boatman, Nina Gilbert, Shakir Williams, Sheritta Johnson and Arleasia Carter. The ladies are looking forward to their upcoming season and hope to bring home a championship while growing stronger in the coming years.