Late last summer, I was contacted about an opening for the Head Coaching position for the Women’s bowling team of Elizabeth City State University. After an application and interview phase, I was offered the position, not really sure what I was jumping into.

What I have learned since August 1, is this pool has no bottom.

This week I want to share with you some of my experiences as serving as the head coach of the Lady Vikings’ Bowling Team. First of all the title “Head Coach” is a little misleading.

While I do give some guidance on the lanes, most of that responsibility is relinquished to our Assistant Head Coach, Chris Farrell. As you will see by my brief diary from last week, most of my responsibilities include the business and planning side of the program.

Our team spent this past weekend in Salisbury, NC, where we competed in the CIAA Round Up. While most of our conference events match teams against schools within the same division (we are in the north) the Round Up has the schools in a round robin event versus the schools of the opposite division, meaning this time we faced conference power-house, Fayetteville State, as well as Johnson C. Smith, Shaw, and host, Livingstone College.

Prior to last week even beginning, I had spent hours arranging hotel rooms through our travel agent, booking a 15-passenger van to carry 6 students, 2 coaches, and enough luggage and equipment for a 7-day cruise, even though we were only gone 3 days.

The team’s itinerary and travel roster had to be submitted to the university so the ladies can be excused from classes on Friday. I also researched restaurants for our meals while out of town.

Speaking of food, the team has to have on-lane snacks, as they will be bowling 4 one-game matches nonstop. A trip to Food Lion produced PBJ sandwiches, chips, bottled water, and some string cheese. All of this is coming from a budget that is evaporating quicker than a drop of water on a July sidewalk!

Each morning last week found me up at 4:30 in the morning, to be at practice before 6:00, prior to being off to my “real” job at Albemarle Lanes. While at practice the team shoots a game for score before practicing their most missed spares, mostly corner pins.

After four days of practice, we ere ready for our travel day — or night in this case, as we did not depart the campus until around 6:00, hoping to arrive in Salisbury by midnight.

Friday morning comes early, and it is our latest wake-up of the weekend, but not without a little concern. One of the young ladies has texted me in the middle of the night concerned that she may have a contagious condition.

After messages to our Athletic Director and team doctor, we finally confirm that she was negative and cleared to travel.

We had to be in the bowling center by 11:00 Friday, 10:00 Saturday and 8:00 Sunday, each day for about 6 hours.

Following competition on Friday night, the team had a quick take-out dinner. Saturday, we returned to the hotel for a mandatory study-hall, while I ordered dinner from a reputable restaurant to go pick up and bring back to hotel.

Overall, the weekend didn’t produce the results on the lanes we would hope for, but we did take away a few positives. After going 0-4 on Friday, we claimed wins over Livingstone College and Johnson C. Smith to escape with a 2-2 mark on Saturday.

We then took another goose-egg on Sunday, to end the event with a 2-10 overall record. During the Baker’s style games, the Lady Vikings did claim one game win versus Fayetteville State, the leagues overall top team. The win was one game of a five game match, and FSU took the match easily.

FSU went on to a 15-0 weekend record and the tournament championship.

From the local lanes, one word describes the overall performance from last Tuesday night’s Fellowship League; Wow! Nine bowlers scaled the 600-series wall, including two ladies.

Mark Tarkington did nothing to hurt his 227 average by posting a 257-693, while teammate, Jevon Simpson was busy bagging a 270-662. On the same team, Kaytee Simpson was one of the ladies on fire, claiming a 232, 620.

Another team claimed three more of the 600’s when Lake Krehel (233-646), Brittney Krehel (229-618), and Paul Lacher (225-601) accomplished the feat.

Adding to the 600-party were Stephen Marshall (256-651), John Bradley (228-625), and Starley Darnell (220-600).

In Monday Night Mixed action, Woody Heckstall diced the pins for a sweet 268-678, just ahead of Lindsay Perry’s 243-643. Linda Barrett’s 159-462 led the ladies from Monday evening, followed by Patsy Sanders’ 165-436, Noreen Walton’s 179-423, and Sharon Hofler’s 171 game.

Martin Luther King League was paced by the 220-589 from Randy Cartwright, the 235-587 from Will Swinson, and the 199-576 from Tyler Hudgins as well as top games from John Bradley (232) and Travis Clark (230).

The MLK ladies had high games from Mary Hill (192), Patsy Sanders (180), and Amie Wallace (171).

Ocie Manos led the All American Ladies with a nice 184-511, to go along with Sharon Yonek’s 163-439, Maria Madonia’s 155-432, Patsy Sanders’ 167 game and Carol Hodge’s 166 high game.

The youth league was topped by Ben Hawkins’ 196-571, Jacob Davenport’s 216-539, and Bryce Hawkins’ 162-525 on the guy’s side and Lindsay Porter’s 135-344, Elizabeth Scaff’s 119-320, and Kaylee Winslow’s 110-315 on the ladies’ side.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling!