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Girls bowling: Defending state champ Boone Grove starts anew

Boone Grove will defend its state title with new starting lineup consisting (from left) Taylor Howell ChristinCheek Meaghan SpallCatherine Mikos

Boone Grove will defend its state title with a new starting lineup consisting of (from left) Taylor Howell, Christina Cheek, Meaghan Spalla, Catherine Mikos and Ellie Iaanides. | Anthony Nasella/For the Post-Tribune

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Updated: November 24, 2013 6:39AM



When the Boone Grove girls bowling team captured the state title last season, it gave the Porter County school its first state championship in any sport.

But the program unfortunately looked to be in limbo with all five starters graduating and no head coach to step into the duties that had been filled by coach Mike Kraushaar.

A defunct Boone Grove program was something that Ralph DeLaFuente, father of a potential incoming bowler, couldn’t allow to happen. So the recreational bowler has taken the coaching responsibilities and will guide a very young, yet ambitious, Wolves team into the future.

Returning are Meaghan Spalla — a sophomore who was a non-starter last year — along with sophomores Christina Cheek and Catherine Mikos, Portage transfer Taylor Howell, sophomore and bowling newcomer Ellie Iaanides, and JV member Stephania DeLaFuente.

“We’re kind of newbies together,” Ralph DeLaFuente said. “We’ll show up and battle. We’ll win and lose as team. As long as they learn as a team, I’ll be happy. We’re not back down from any challenge or any team. We’ll learn, have fun and do our best.

“We have a tough hill to climb, but my wife agreed with me that we just couldn’t let the program fall by the wayside. I decided I would do whatever I could do.”

It will be a challenge to fill the shoes of the best team in the state.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls, but it’s still hard when you’re following a state championship team and one of the better teams in Indiana high school history,” he said. “It’s kind of like the 1927 Yankees being replaced by the Bad News Bears, but Boone still has a girls bowling team, and that’s good news.”

Spalla said she’s excited about the challenge of leading a young team.

“There’s going to be growing pains, but I’m willing to commit to it and to work with my new teammates and hope for the best,” she said.

Howell said she’s looking forward to getting to know teammates that she took an immediate liking to.

“My teammates are cool and fun,” she said. “I get to learn their personalities more. It’s cool coming to Boone Grove because I get to experience more and learn a lot more than I did last year.”

DeLaFuente said he was especially pleased to get Howell.

“She’ll be a big help for this team,” he said. “We were lucky to get her. I don’t know; God may have been looking over our shoulders with that one.”

Iaanides, who picked up the sport on the first day of practice, said bowling was something she always wanted to try.

“It’s been really fun, and I really enjoying having these girls as my teammates,” she said. “I just hope to get better. I always thought the sport was cool, and I wanted to try something new.”



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