Rolling into the season

Mens and womens bowling teams embark on maiden voyage into MCCAA

BY NICK MISIAK
SPORTS EDITOR

IMAGE FROM ISTOCK.COM The Schoolcraft bowling teams began their season on June 30 with impressive showings in Muskegon. The mens team finished second while the womens team finished fifth.

IMAGE FROM ISTOCK.COM
The Schoolcraft bowling teams began their season on June 30 with impressive showings in Muskegon. The mens team finished second while the womens team finished fifth.

For the first time since the inception of the Schoolcraft bowling program, both the mens and womens bowling teams will have a conference they call home, the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA).

The teams have competed only within the National Junior College Athletic Association for its competitions. In years prior, the MCCAA did not have the required four teams to have the conference recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association, the governing body of community college athletics.

With Kirtland Community College, Muskegon Community College and Wayne County Community College District yielding teams, along with Schoolcraft this season in both mens and womens bowling, the MCCAA will officially be recognized as a conference.

This means that the winner of the conference will earn an automatic bid to play in the NJCAA National Tournament.

“Its something we’re very excited about because it gives us something tangible to go after. It’s definitely one of our team goals to win our conference and get into the National Tournament,” said first year Head Coach Patrick Yeslik.

Yeslik, who replaced former coach, Greg Collins after stepping down from the position in the offseason, has a strong background with bowling in high school and recreational leagues. He became the head coach of the mens and womens bowling teams over the summer. Yeslik looks to improve the Schoolcraft bowling program, and his high turnout for tryouts has given him a full roster of eight bowlers for the mens team and six for the womens team.

The mens team is lead by returners Colton Ma-Wu, Wesley Richards, Richard Rutenbar and Ben Berger. Berger has previous bowling experience with Schoolcraft, having bowled for the team three years ago. They are to be joined by newcomers Sam Berger, Josh Coffee, Leon Hutchcraft and Ben Jakes. Hutchcraft has generated some buzz with his talents, as he has bowled three 300 games in his career and received an invitation to participate in tryouts for the U.S. National Junior team for bowling.

“I feel like we have a good mesh of returners with some experience but also some first year players who are ready and eager to jump head first into all of this,” said Yeslik. “Their enthusiasm really shows on the lanes.”

The womens team features two returning players in Angela Rodriguez and Yvette Ayers. Rodriguez returns for her second year on the team after being named an All-American last season.

Bianca Greco, Ella Kearney, Bethany McCormick and Ameera Shiran join Rodriguez and Ayers to round out this season’s roster. All of the newcomers have experience since they all participated in high school and play in several leagues.

“I want to instill a competitive nature into the kids,” said Yeslik. “I like to see when the kids don’t like to lose whether its bowling or basketball or video games I want them to really take ownership of coming out on top.”

OCELOTS OPEN SEASON WITH IMPRESSIVE SHOWING

The Ocelots had their first match of the year on Friday Jan. 30 and the mens team placed second out of seven teams. The womens team placed fifth out of seven teams.

Richard Rutenbar placed highest for the Ocelots, bowling scores of 198, 220, 202 and 178 for a total of 798. Leon Hutchcraft bowled the highest score of the meet with a 265 in his final game. Sienna Heights bowler Kenny DeGraaf won the mens tournament with a final total of 947.

Angela Rodriguez finished third overall in the womens tournament with scores of 156, 224, 159 and 226 for a total of 765. Allison Caswell from Sienna Heights won the tournament with a total score of 809.

The Ocelots next match will be on Friday, Feb. 13 at Merri-Bowl Lanes at 11 a.m. when they host their own event, the Schoolcraft College Invitational.

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