The orange official team shirts were handed out, the students met with coaches for a pre-match huddle, then the games began when the Princeton adapted bowling squad held its first-ever meet on a rainy April 29 inside the Princeton Lanes.
The pilot program has nine Tigers in grades 7-12 bowling this season, coached by JoAnn Moats and Jade Joseph. They run virtual matches where teams bowl at their home lanes, then match scores with the opposing team for points in physically impaired (PI) and cognitively impaired (CI) divisions. Players can earn points in singles and four-person team sets during each match.
A meet has each bowler throwing two games. As Tuesday’s match progressed, the pin counts grew as much as the cheering for each other did.
“What we want is for our bowlers to work on their team and socialization skills. They are usually talking with adults during the day, so this is a good chance for them to talk and cheer with each other,” said Coach Moats. “This is a MSHSL sport, so there is a State tournament in Eden Prairie on May 16. Jade and I will probably go to that tournament to figure how we can try that with our team next season. We have no seniors on this year’s team, so they should all be back next year.”
The Tigers won their opening meet over Dassel-Cokato by a 44-10 score, including taking all 10 points in the team sets. Singles totals for the meet, which included handicap scoring additions, were: Kris Kelsey 191/185- 376; Caitlin Schultz 208/209-417; Isabelle George 200/203- 403; Johnny Christiansen 200/192- 392; Scot Bartel 189/200- 389; Timothy Achtelik 200/181- 381; Aaron Silva 188/189- 377; Jordan Pasche 186/169- 355; and Desiree Sommers 194/154- 348.
“It’s a start, and we’re very pleased with the program. I really like what I see,” continued Moats. “Next year, we might add another adapted sport, depending on who may be interested in trying that.”
Princeton next bowled against Monticello May 6, then the team matches scores with Cambridge-Isanti May 13. A fun “Parents Day” at the Princeton Lanes will wrap up this first season May 15.