Girls bowling: Highland’s Lisa Dickerson named P-T Coach of the Year
BY ANTHONY NASELLA Post-Tribune correspondent March 23, 2013 11:24PM
Updated: April 25, 2013 7:26AM
Whenever a team is able to accomplish something memorable, like the Highland girls bowling team did this past season when it finished sixth at the Indiana high school bowling state finals, the head coach is usually praised for believing in the team.
While Trojans coach Lisa Dickerson preached the time-tested motivational phrase — to be the best you have to beat the best — from the first meet to the finals in Lafayette, even she confesses that her girls’ accomplishments far exceeded her wildest dreams.
“When the season began I knew the girls were good,” said Dickerson, who was named Post-Tribune girls coach of the year. “But I admit that I didn’t think we could qualify for state given the talented teams in our region.
“I’m so glad that the girls proved me wrong. They proved they belonged among the elite teams in the state. With 209 teams competing in the state this year, to finish in the top six was an incredible accomplishment.”
Even more noteworthy was that the Trojans reached state with a roster of just six bowlers — and one was unable to compete in the state finals due to a prior commitment — that featured just one senior (Kassidy Norman).
The rest of the lineup was comprised of one junior (Jessica Dziezak), three sophomores (Catie Bales, Jessi Henson and Danielle Rudnickas) and one freshman (Lindsey Norton). The Trojans remained in the hunt for a berth in the state stepladder finals, but fell short down the stretch by 35 pins.
“I don’t know if I was more excited or if they were more excited,” Dickerson said. “I get very nervous myself watching them because I know what they need to do — and they are at the level where they really don’t need to be told what to do.
“They do need help lining up to start, and some need some reminders. Overall, however, this is an amazing group of girls and we have five coming back for next season where expectations will obviously be higher.”
Highland captured the Duneland Conference and sectional titles, finished third at the Michigan City Regional — ahead of eventual state runner-up Lake Central — and snagged the sixth spot at South Bend Semistate, four pins ahead of Lafayette Harrison.
Over the course of the season, the Trojans also secured significant victories along the way that boosted confidence — most notably a victory over eventual state champion Boone Grove at the Post-Tribune Preseason Bowl O-Rama.
“I think the girls were more comfortable competing against other solid teams in Northwest Indiana because they were beating those teams,” Dickerson said. “I told them, ‘To be the best, you have to beat the best.’ The girls knew those other teams were good, but they also knew they were a good team.
“They had a good vibe before the season started and there’s no indication that next season should be any different. This season proved what we’re capable of accomplishing.”