Bowling catching on at Natchez High, Cathedral

Published 10:08 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2007

For the first time in either school’s history, bowling is now an accredited sport at Natchez High and Cathedral.

Both schools’ programs have been around approximately three years, and prior to this season, bowlers could not receive letters for their accomplishments on the lanes.

Ann Hash, who coached the Green Wave along with Garrett Maier and Mark LaFrancis, said while she was glad the sport has reached accreditation status at both schools, she said it was a confusing season because of multiple changes to dates and sites on the schedule.

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“We are working things out though,” Hash said. “You have to crawl before you walk.”

Cathedral competed against other teams from as far as Tupelo, Jackson, the Gulf Coast and Meridian via fax or phone. The team would bowl at home against another team that bowled at their local bowling center. Hash said the scores were sent following the match, and a winner was determined.

“You are on the honor system when you do it that way,” she said.

Natchez High head coach Cleve Williams said his team competed in the same manner, except for when Natchez faced Cathedral.

Williams, who volunteered as a coach for the past two years, said he has seen much improvement in the program.

“We had kids bowl their first 200 games,” he said. He added that kids that have been interested in bowling have also showed an interest in getting better. Williams said he had bowlers as young as eighth graders participate in the program this season.

Williams said many larger towns with bowling centers have youth programs that help bolster the sport on a youthful level, and said that helps tremendously in regards to improvement.

“The result is better bowlers,” he said.

Williams added that it is hard improve programs to an advanced level without youth involvement.

Hash said one of the reasons for a lack in participation in the sport is that bowling season, which runs from November-February, coincides with many other school activities.

For the kids that do participate, Hash said it gives them one more thing to be apart of. “Another great thing is everybody gets to play, and no one sits the bench,” Hash said.

She also said several schools and universities give bowling scholarships and have bowling teams on the collegiate level. Hash said there are more bowling teams on the college level for girls than guys.

Both Hash and Williams said they are looking forward to next year’s season and are opportunistic about both programs improving.