For the Belle Plaine Bowling team, this season has been rife with serious competition and not-so-serious moments alike.
In their conference championship outing, the Belle Plaine varsity team consisting of Derek Hoffman, Ethan Hoffman, Michael Glynn, Aidan Heidecker, Lucas O’Brien and Ben Davis, bested their friendly rivals in New Prague for the first time this season, earning them the conference title.
For junior Glynn, who has been in the program since it began five years ago, the conference showdown was as much a rivalry as it was a lighthearted competition.
“There’s no seriousness when we bowl against them,” Glynn said. “It’s always really relaxed.”
Glynn noted the opposing teams have grown to know each other over the years and often jokingly tease one another inside and outside of competition. Still, the win was a nice cap to the latter part of Belle Plaine’s season for Glynn.
Senior and fellow five-year Belle Plaine bowler Heidecker shares Glynn’s satisfaction with the conference win. But with the team preparing for the Super Regional on Saturday to determine if they make it to the state competition, Heidecker knows the team has to bring everything they can in order to place in the top 12 of 20 teams, the qualifying threshold.
“We’re all definitely nervous,” Heidecker said. “We think we’re going to do well, we’re planning to do well.”
Heidecker stated that the lanes in Austin, where the Super Regional competition is set to take place, will be made from wood. Given that the team has primarily played on lanes made from synthetic materials, Heidecker thinks the change might pose a challenge for the Belle Plaine squad, at least early on.
But coach Kris Davis has confidence that the upperclassmen on the team can rally the team like they have done all season.
“Going into regional's, I hope they continue doing what they’re doing,” Davis said. “I really rely on the boys to know how they’re feeling on that runway.”
Davis also noted the more senior bowlers on the team have been instrumental in improving the skills and outlooks for the younger, less experienced members of the team.
Thursday marked the team’s final practice before heading into the Super Regional. This year is the first in program history that the team has been made up exclusively of Belle Plaine bowlers. In previous years, the program was held jointly with Jordan.