Pictured is the 2015-16 Civic Memorial bowling team, (back, from left) head coach Shawn Callies, Gage Jenkins, Isaac Vancil, Gordon Madrey, Zac Hagan, Devin Davis, Austin Bartling, Zac “Big Daddy” Cathorall, Frank Trost, Jarrett Lacquement and Zach Meyers. The CM girls (from left) are Nicole King, Brittany Dickerson, Sonny Dickerson, Myah Patterson, Joanna Cathorall-Krankel, Bristol Dahlen, Cori Beckham, Ashley Westbrook, Kaitlyn Ambrose and Samantha Vogt.
The Civic Memorial bowling program is relatively young at 10 years old but has seen positive strides over the last two years. In fact, the 2015 season found the Eagles in the state playoffs on the boys’ side for the first time.
Led by head coach Shawn Callies, who had no background in bowling prior to taking the reins of the program eight years ago, the Eagles qualified for the state finals in 2015 and they are on their way to another good season in 2016.
Coach Callies, an art teacher at the school, said, “Eight years ago they (CM athletic director Steve Carey) asked me if I wanted the job, I said, ‘No.’ They said, ‘Come on Shawn, we need somebody in there.’ And I said, ‘I will take it for a year.’ Next thing I know eight years later, I still have it.”
To say bowling was not thriving at Civic Memorial a little less than a decade ago would be an understatement.
“Participation was really rough in the beginning,” Callies said. “Things were rough, things were low and just really bad.”
According to Callies, “things started climbing” when Christo Rice-Sanchez, a CM graduate and current senior bowler at Lindenwood Belleville, was contacted by 2015 senior Ryan Hayes about helping out.
“Ryan Hayes approached me and asked if I could help out. During Christmas breaks and summer we would meet. Whether it was one on one or five guys would show up, we would work on things, from physical technique to their mental strength,” Rico-Sanchez said.
Hayes continued to help the program.
“He took some kids and they just started a community together and doing leagues,” Callies said.
Last year during state competition CM boys started out a little rough, ultimately finishing 19th on Day 1, which was not enough to advance to the second day. Jacob Troeckler did do enough to advance to the second day individually, though.
Troeckler ended up finishing 26th out of 59 bowlers with an average of 212.6.
The entire team last year was composed of seniors, so Callies is starting with a fresh slate this season on the boys’ front.
“None of them bowled at state last year,” Callies said of the 2016 team. “I took two guys to watch, to get them some experience but they didn’t even bowl.”
Callies admittedly has not seen a spike in participation from last year to this year despite the state qualifying effort. However, the entire JV team, made up of underclassmen last year, makes up the varsity squad this year.
Their current campaign found the Eagles with a .500 winning percentage entering this week.
“Jersey and Highland knocked us off, both really good teams, but I tell you in the past these teams used to smoke us and now we are competing with everybody,” Callies said.
“Mascoutah always thumped us. Their coach even … after one of the games gave me a bowling card and said ‘here, you might want to call this guy for some coaching tips.’ We’ve beat them the last three years in a row now. I want to give him the card back.”
Although there is no one particular bowler having a standout season, they are all having good seasons, Callies said.
“We have a bunch of guys that we just can’t click at the same time,” Callies said. “I don’t think anybody takes us lightly. We can jump in there and run with the big dogs; we just can’t win them sometimes.”
The CM boys’ team is set for the Taylorville Regional beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at Spare Times Lane in Decatur. The top three teams will advance to the Cahokia Sectional on Jan. 23.
This year’s team is made up of four seniors: Zach Meyers, Jarrett Lacquement, Frank Trost and Austin Bartling.
“The JV team is killing it this year so next year could be good, could be; it all depends if they want to bowl in the offseason,” Callies said.
Continuity can go a long way in breeding success of a team and the Eagles are working with a cohesive unit under Callies this season for the first time.
“This year is the first year we’ve had one coach for both boys and girls,” Callies said. “The girls have been down big time, continuous coaching carousel. I’m the fourth coach but the third in the last three years. We have a couple good ones on there. Ashley Westbrook is a big one. She is a freshman this year averaging 177 per game. She has really put a pep into the system.”
The CM girls continue playing regular season contests until delving into the postseason at the Collinsville Regional at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6 at Camelot Bowl in Collinsville. The top three squads there advance to the Johnston City Sectional on Feb. 13.
The boys’ state tournament is scheduled for Jan. 29 and 30 at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon, while girls’ state is set for The Cherry Bowl in Rockford on Feb. 19 and 20.
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