MINOOKA — To say the 2011-2012 season for the Minooka boys bowling team was eventful is an understatement. The team came within seven pins of winning the Southwest Prairie Conference title last year, losing to rival Romeoville.
As if that wasn’t hard enough, the next week at sectionals, bowling at their home course of Channahon Lanes, the Indians came within 19 pins of qualifying for state.
“It was difficult to take, especially because it came on back-to-back weeks,” Minooka head coach Derrick Rapksy said. “Within two weeks of bowling, we missed a conference and a sectional title by a combined 26 pins. It was very frustrating.”
Although it was a difficult pill to swallow, the Indians hope to rebound from the tough finish last year and look to learn from a disappointing end to the 2011-2012 season.
“Basically it comes down to these guys picking up spares,” Rapsky said. “If we pick up our spares, we should be going down to state.”
Not all was bad last year for Minooka, though. Zach Segatto, a sophomore last year, qualified for the state tournament, finishing 30th at the meet, averaging a 209.6 over the two days.
“It was exciting,” Segatto said. “It was something like I’ve ever done before, so it was a very new experience down there for me.”
Now as a junior, Segatto is expected to take over as a leader for the Indians, as he is the only bowler on the current roster to make it down to a state meet. With a lot of pressure to succeed, Segatto is only focused on trying to improve.
“I just have to keep on hitting targets and picking up my spares,” Segatto said. “Spares are the most important part to being successful in bowling, so I need to just keep on focusing on that.”
One thing that Segatto can improve on this year as well is his average. Although a 210 average at state is nice, Rapsky is looking for a little bit more out of the junior this season.
“I think if he can be close to a 220 average throughout the year I think that he has a shot to do even better things this year,” Rapsky said.
Segatto isn’t the only returner to the squad, as Minooka returns two starters from last year in seniors Nick Beeler and Justin Shepherd. As juniors, both were critical parts of the Indians success last year, and are both poised to have even bigger senior seasons for the Indians.
“I know a lot about the sport, so hopefully I can use my knowledge to help improve not only myself but our team as a whole,” Shepherd said.
“If we just keep on practicing, I think we can find that extra push that we needed last year to put us over the top this year,” Beeler added.
Both Beeler and Shepherd have been on the varsity team almost their entire high school careers, so experience should be on their side heading into their final “rodeos” as bowlers at Minooka.
“These guys have been varsity starters for basically four years now, so I’m hoping that they can both go out and average at least 200 for us all year,” Rapksy said.
As for the overall team, it’s going to be a tough road for the Indians to a conference title, as Romeoville sits in their path of hoisting the title. The Spartans finished fifth in the state last year and look to be the toughest competition Minooka will face all year. Other teams like Plainfield North and Plainfield East also loom poised to challenge the Indians.
“No doubt Romeoville will be our biggest challenge,” Rapsky said. “But with our conference it seems every year a team is going down to state and placing in the top five. So you never know how’s it’s going to be.”