Ephrata bowlers look to defend title

By on December 17, 2015
Ephrata’s Lee Enck is one of the top returnees for the Mounts.

The Ephrata High School bowling team is one of the school’s two varsity section champions over the last year.

And this year, the team may even be better.

But it wasn’t always that way. Just two years ago, the first under head coach and former pro bowler Bryan Dissinger, the Mounts only had four bowlers on the team, not even enough for a full starting lineup. The result, a 2-82 record going against the top five from each of the Section One and Two teams, was not unexpected.

Last year was a different story.

Then freshmen Lee Enck, Logan Molchany, Samantha Heindel, Tyler Walton and Zach Oberholtzer joined the team as a 21-0 record over the final three matches led Ephrata to a narrow championship margin with a record of 64-27. The eight-member team reached the second round of the Lancaster-Lebanon League team championships, falling to eventual champion Penn Manor.

The five are back as experienced sophomores and welcome three additional freshmen, bringing the roster total to 12. With only two seniors, including co-captain Ian Wettlaufer, and one junior, the Mounts’ cupboard promises to be full for a couple of years. Wettlauffer, Enck and Jared Bigley were named Section Two All-Stars for the 2014-15 season.

One of those freshmen, Cameron Zwally, has an ambitious goal for himself and his mates.

“My goal is to have the high average for the section and to help the team get to the state championship,” said.

Those goals may seem a bit lofty until you hear what he did recently.

“I had my first 300 game three weeks ago on Saturday at the Dutch,” he said. “I had a pretty big crowd by the 11th ball.”

Coach Dissinger also has high expectations for his young charges.

“The goals are pretty much the same as last year,” he said. “Win the section, and go a little deeper on a team basis. With the experience from last year, we could go to regionals. The top six from there go to states, which is the ultimate goal.”

To reach those goals, the team is working to fine tune mechanics.

“We’ve been working on a lot of spare techniques,” said Dissinger. “Also, our strategy for playing the lanes. When they’re bowling well, they can see the adjustments.”

Each of the team members that we talked to had a variation of what they worked on with Dissinger.

“Basic fundamentals,” said junior Jared Bigley. “Where to stand, keeping yourself planted to the ground and keeping your balance.”

“Mostly with my ten pins,” described Zwally. “Positioning and alignment, plus taking my time.”

“For ten pins, keeping my feet slower,” added Enck. “When my feet were fast, the ball would go in the gutter.”

“For me, coach worked on keeping me to stay down (shoulders),” described Heindel. “If I pull up, the ball doesn’t go where I want it to.”

Pace was also a priority for Molchany.

“For me, slow down and not speed through things.”

As to the team they would like to beat this year and why, the Mounts were near unanimous in their goals.

“Penn Manor…mostly because they’re the toughest team to beat,” stated Enck. “They’re young also, which makes it quite a challenge.”

“Last year, they beat everyone,” added Molchany.

“They’re the best,” chipped in Bigley. “They just seem to be a step above, but I think we can give them a run.”

“If we beat them, people would know we’re to be reckoned with,” said Zwally.

Dissinger also acknowledged the importance of beating the Comets.

“You have to beat them once to give them a little doubt,” he said. “We have one match with each of the Section One teams and two with the other teams in Section Two. If we bowl as expected, we should do well.”

The only dissenting vote was Sam Heindel.

“I’d probably like to beat CV the most,” Heindel said. “The first time last year we were intimidated by them. But, the second time they were intimidated by us.”

The team completed tryouts for starting spots the week before Thanksgiving with the new found depth providing flexibility for Coach Dissinger.

“We really have a top seven,” he clarified. “The top three are the base, and the next four will rotate, depending on who gets hot.”

The other advantage is a fully competitive JV squad rolling each match. With 10 battling each other (and the opponents) to stay sharp, the bench is more prepared to step up when needed.

The final factor may boil down to confidence.

“Team confidence is the most important,” noted Enck. “We can easily pick up for one person if we’re all feeling good.”

“Bowling is really a mental game,” added Molchany. “If you’re confident, you’re successful. If you’re angry, it throws your game off.”

“Confidence is very big,” echoed Bigley. “It drives people to excel. If you feel bad, you don’t perform to your potential.”

Dissinger realizes this group has potential, despite their tender age. They also have a target on their backs, something he shared with the team after last week’s practice.

“We’ve got to want it every game, because they’re going to want us,” he said.

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