By John Knebels
Special to The CS&T
Grab the ball. Set your feet. Find your mark. Deliver, and follow through.
To the millions of bowlers out there, the game plan is indeed simple. But the reality is that unless you dedicate significant time to practicing both strikes and spares, your average probably won’t elevate much higher than a decent 150.
When she was 7, Jules Feltwell started bowling. A decade later, she is still bowling. For that, Little Flower High School is mighty appreciative.
Behind the foursome of junior Liz Stout, sophomore Ashley Sipos, senior Tara Flaville and senior Feltwell, the Sentinels captured their second consecutive Catholic League bowling championship, topping Cardinal O’Hara by 298 pins at Northeast’s Thunderbird Lanes Feb 21.
A four-time, first-team All-Catholic who raised her season average from an already outstanding 188 as a junior to a somewhat surreal 205 this winter, Feltwell said she and her teammates felt confident from the start of the season.
“We had three (of four) starters back,” said Feltwell. “There was no reason why we couldn’t repeat.”
Well, perhaps there was one possibility.
“I didn’t think there was any real chance of any of us taking the match for granted,” said Feltwell. “All of us know that anything can happen in this sport. You could bowl a little lower than usual and the other team could bowl great. But I don’t think we worried about that, and that’s not because we are cocky. I just think everyone wanted it and went out and bowled great. We had control of the situation and definitely made the most of it.”
Classmate Flaville, a product of St. George School in Port Richmond, agreed.
“The way all of us worked in practice, plus having three returning starters and someone (Sipos) who increased her average by 30 pins over the summer, I didn’t see us being overconfident,” said Slaville.
Little Flower finished 68-4 in match play and for the second straight season placed four starters as first-team All-Catholics. Last year, then-senior Katie Brady received the honor.
Sparked by consistent performances by Flaville (181 average), Sipos (177), Stout (174) and Catholic League Most Valuable Player Feltwell, Little Flower set several league records this year.
In a regular-season victory over Archbishop Ryan, the Sentinels established all-time bests in a single game (a sizzling 913) and three-game series (2,395).
Long-time Little Flower coach Jack Rooney enjoyed watching the team crystallize last year and then take complete charge this year, beginning at the first practice.
“This was a great team effort,” said Rooney. “The girls really worked well together. They decided that they were not going to lose.”
As for Feltwell, a graduate of Presentation B.V.M. School in Cheltenham, Rooney realized the program will be missing an all-time great.
“She had a great four-year career,” said Rooney. “This year was her best, and that’s saying something.”
Both senior starters remain undecided as to their college destination, and although both are desirous of competing collegiately, it appears as though that won’t happen.
In the meantime, Feltwell and Flaville will bask in the memories of dominating the Catholic League in their fourth and final season.
“We were willing to do the hard work and at the same time have fun,” said Flaville. “That was our approach, and apparently, it worked.”
That’s putting it mildly.