By Lily Gibson
Penn Manor High School’s bowling team is holding open gyms at Leisure Lanes in Lancaster every Tuesday and Thursday until Nov. 20 when the winter sport season officially starts.
Students who come to the open gyms pay $5 each session to play three games, during which their skills will be assessed. Students are not required to have any previous experience or training to participate in the open gyms. Once the season officially starts, team members will no longer have to pay for practice.
Coach Chris Vital, who has been the bowling team’s coach for 13 years, said that one of his favorite parts of this sport is that students don’t need previous experience and all who want to join can. No student gets turned away.
Students will be divided into the varsity and the junior varsity team when the November practices begin. However, according to Coach Vital, at any point in the year a student can be moved up to the varsity team.
Coach Vital has had to make serious on-the-spot decisions in order to allow his team to win. Coach Vital spoke of one instance where a freshman had bowled a total of one and a half games the whole season, but when he got a new ball, he started playing better. Later in the season at play-offs, one of the stronger bowlers had not been bowling very well, so Coach Vital switched the freshman with the senior, and the ninth grader bowled all strikes, winning the play-offs.
The boys bowling team won the state championship for the 2015-16 season. Senior Nick Fisher and freshman Katelyn Welsh, both members of the team, expect that this year they will again make it to compete in the Championships and hopefully bring home another victory.
Coach Vital expects that this year’s main rival will be the Warwick bowling team.
Students on the team said that they expect the year will be “competitive but fun.”
According to Fisher, playing on the team has been very fun for him and a very low-pressure atmosphere.
According to junior Michala Harvey, the team is, “really close; we’re like a family.”
For this season, training began early. Coach Vital said he began practice about a month before he has in the past.