Local Bowlers Get Practice, Opportunity

The calendar reads June and school is out. That coupled with recent high temperatures in the 90’s has many heading to the pool or other summer hotspots. But for a group of area high school athletes, summer vacation starts indoors at Bowling Green Lanes in West Chicago.

That’s the site for Waubonsie Valley girls bowling coach and former PBA pro Marty Miller’s Powerstrike 300 bowling camp. Miller says that at his camp you may not become the bowler you would like to be right away, but you can gain the means to kickstart the process.

“Let’s add a couple more tools to your toolbox,” Miller said. “What’s a realistic expectation? Get two or three things from the coaches that are working with you that you can take away, that you can work on over the summer that will help you improve your game.”

In addition to Miller, the founder of Powerstrike 300, the camp includes instruction from college bowling coaches and some of their top bowlers. The fresh set of eyes provide a new perspective for many of Miller’s pupils.

“Hearing their points of view and even hearing the college kids tell us what to do, it’s a different point of view, and then you know Marty is right,” said Waubonsie senior Marianna Guerrieri with a laugh.

Oak Lawn Richards High School senior Andrew Byland takes private lessons from Miller during the offseason, and finished in the top 30 in the 2012 IHSA state meet. He believes the different voice provides reinforcement.

“Even if it’s the same (instruction) from someone else it kind of sticks in your head more,” Byland added.

The other opportunity the college coaches provide for the high school bowlers is an opportunity to compete on the next level, even if those bowlers didn’t think it was a possibility at first.

“I didn’t think I was good enough,” said Guerrieri. I liked bowling but I was just like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I wanna do it.’ Then I realized I like competition that much that I would enjoy doing it in college.”

Miller believes the attraction of college bowling is more than just about raising the competition level. He says the financial aspect of a potential bowling scholarship cannot be ignored.

“This could be a way to help fund if not completely fund your college education,” Miller said.”Let’s enjoy the sport and at the same time, if I can bowl in college and earn a scholarship, that is a fantastic thing.”

And Miller knows the college bowling landscape by way of many of his former students. Three of his private lesson students are heading to college programs this fall, including former St. Charles East bowler Katherine Sulaitis, who will be joining 2012 5th place NCAA finisher Valparaiso.

But no one will outshine Miller’s star client, Maryland Eastern Shore interim head coach Kristina Frahm. After a successful career at Oswego East, Frahm shined in her time with the Hawks, anchoring three national title teams as a player and guiding the 2012 Hawks to another crown this season as coach.

Guerrieri, now knowing that a college bowling career is possible, sees a chance to make the most of her situation.

“Any opportunity I can get will help because I have two other siblings, so I’ve got to help my parents out some way,” Guerrieri said. “Especially because I do have that opportunity and I’m not sure what opportunities my siblings are going to have, so I want to make the most I can out of it to hopefully help them out.”

It’s that type of thinking that has more than 30 bowlers doing all they can right now to ready themselves for that type of opportunity. For Ken VandeWerken, an Oak Lawn Community High School senior, it’s all about tweaking.

“The little stuff, you know, walking, approach, just how I throw the ball, how I hit my mark,” said VandeWerken. “All the little stuff and once it comes together in college it’s going to be amazing.”


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