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Girls bowling: LC hopes depth is the key to state finals run

Lake Central's Kelly Belzeski reacts after throwing strike during Post-Tribune Northwest IndianPreseasHigh School Bowl O-Ramheld Stardust Bowl II Hobart Sunday

Lake Central's Kelly Belzeski reacts after throwing a strike during the Post-Tribune Northwest Indiana Preseason High School Bowl O-Rama held at Stardust Bowl II in Hobart on Sunday October 28, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 1, 2012 5:02PM



For anyone who knows the history and success of the Lake Central girls bowling program, the goal of qualifying for the state meet is a perrennial and realistic goal.

But if this year’s Indians reach the finals, based on the depth of the current squad, predicting the starters in the final matches might pose a challenge.

Head coach Stephanie Cooley boasts a deep roster of 12 bowlers — two of them individual state qualifiers from last year. In addition, she also has two new, but very familiar, assistant coaches in daughter Kaity Galka and former LC head coach Shon Washington.

So far in the early season, Lake Central’s depth is proving itself in big ways — the team’s B squad won the South Bend Clay Invite two weeks ago. Yet, Cooley said that the teams are very flexible and interchangeable right now.

“We’ve had some younger girls who have stepped up recently, so nobody’s starting position is safe right now,” Cooley said. “We’ve been switching them in and out with some of the usual starters, and that has been working out real good. We don’t really have a true A and B team.

“We’re not an overconfident group, but we are a group whose goal is to get to state. That’s what we’re working toward, and we have a lot of girls who are capable of playing a big part in that goal becoming a reality.”

That reality will be more likely if Lake Central’s most talented bowlers — Caroline Dienes, Kierstyn Rush, Allison Sellers, Kelly Belzeski, Jamie Zega and Laura LaVander — all perform up to their potential individually and collectively.

“Right now we’re trying different things to see which girls work best together,” Belzeski said. “We’re seeing who is bowling the best: Not just scores but who’s bowling with the right form and technique. Kaity and Shon are definitely putting an emphasis on that.

“Our goal is to not give up, but it’s also to not have sad faces when we aren’t bowling our best. We want to keep positive because we have enough talent to where all we might need to do is just strike out in the last frame to win any tournament. There’s always a chance with this team.”

Galka, who bowled under Washington at Lake Central, said that coaching along side two coaches she’s very familiar with will definitely help her communicate those truths about the physical and mental game — especially to the younger bowlers.

“My mom and I definitely understand and trust each other’s instincts,” Galka said. “I’ve been trying to teach the younger bowlers, especially about the mental game, which is something I had to journey through. This is a talented group of girls and we believe that this group can accomplish something special.”



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