Per IHSA records, Harry Banks debuted as Morris girls bowling head coach in 2007-08. None of his previous teams have been as experienced as the 2013-14 edition.
“This is probably where I’ve had the most returning,” Banks said. “We got some that are really throwing good. Really throwing good. So we’ll see what happens.”
Banks expects seniors Amber Benson, Skylar Eason, Imelda Garcia and Savannah Strange and juniors Taylor Warwick and Jessica Winters to compete for the bulk of the varsity playing time. All six have previous varsity experience. Madison Colasanti, Ann Marie Hayes, Sarah Wise will, at least initially, will lead the junior varsity team.
“We’re gonna go between the six. Whoever’s throwing it the best, we’ll use that bowler,” Banks said. “They’re experienced, which makes a lot of difference. You don’t have all them growing pains that you have [otherwise].”
The experience of the upperclassmen, Strange said, might benefit the Redskins beyond what those bowlers do themselves this season.
“We have a lot of girls that are going to be looking up to our key players, and that they are gonna be basically be role models to them,” Strange said. “I mean, I don’t wanna sound stingy, but make them want what we have because they’re shooting lower and we want them to shoot higher.”
Morris competed for, but fell short of, a Northern Illinois Big 12 championship last season. Since then, its returnees spent the summer bowling regularly, which makes Banks optimistic. Strange said she bowled six games nearly every day, and she is averaging “10 pins, 15 pins” higher than the 198 she maintained during the 2012-13 school season.
“We should be all good for conference. I don’t see any problem why we shouldn’t win conference. ... If we don’t, I’ll be disappointed,” Banks said. “We missed winning conference by like one or two games last year, and we’re gonna be better than we were last year. Now, I don’t know what the other teams are, so maybe that’s me just being happy. We’ll find out.”
In the more immediate term; the Redskins are preparing for Saturday’s season opening Plainfield Invitational.
It is an event that they were regulars at until a few years ago. Banks also points to Plainfield North’s Strikefest and the Redskins’ own Butterfield Invitational as schedule highlights. Every event pales in comparison to the postseason, of course.
“We’ll be ready by then, I hope,” Banks said.