Adapted bowling: Alexandria athletes eager for chance to grow

Alexandria bowler Jenica Bostock is all smiles during a meet at Garden Center Lanes on April 2, 2019. Bostock is one of five seniors on this year's team with Jett Thurston, Alex Eggert, Mercedes Nelson and Marcus Decker. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

The Alexandria adapted bowling team was all ready to provide an opportunity for its athletes to grow through competition with each other when things were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

The Cardinals had the opportunity to practice four times together until things came to a halt. Alexandria has a roster this spring that is led by five seniors in Jett Thurston, Alex Eggert, Mercedes Nelson, Jenica Bostock and Marcus Decker. Head coach Wade Traphagen was once again looking forward to watching his athletes grow throughout the season.

“My expectations pretty much stay the same for my bowlers year after year. We want our bowlers to not be afraid to take risks and step out of their comfort zones,” Traphagen said. “This is relevant for both the competitive and social aspects of bowling. Making adjustments to their bowling approach and being a great teammate are two challenges that we present to our bowlers each day. Lastly, we expect our bowlers to have fun and make this the best experience possible and the results will speak for themselves.”

That approach has led to a lot of success over the years with the Cardinals consistently being in the running for singles, doubles and team state accolades. If there is any kind of a season this year, the Cardinals would adjust accordingly with less time to work with players on the roster.

“We would have to adjust the learning curve, especially with our less-experienced bowlers,” Traphagen said. “Other spring sports are able to do some training when at home. Bowling training is a little more complicated without access to a bowling alley. For our less experienced bowlers, we would be starting fresh, and even our experienced bowlers it would take some time to get back into their groove.”


Alexandria had 21 total students start the season on the roster. Robert Goor, Liam Olson, Evan Larson and Grace Johannes are juniors. Sebastian Billings, Jon Hansen and Rebecca Breezee make up the sophomores. Morrigan Reinke, Trenton Tuey and Joe Mello are freshman, while eighth-graders Lizzie Floden, Zechariah Davidson, Logan Usher, Carson Snitker and Cheyenne Reinke and seventh-grader Alexander Billings round out the team.

“My heart goes out to our seniors,” Traphagen said. “As part of the adapted bowling program, we have the unique opportunity to work with these kids at the varsity level when they are in 7th-grade. This year we have a few seniors that have been with us for 4-plus years, and in that time we've gotten to see them go from children to young adults.

“Since day one, their goals have been to one day be the captain of the bowling team. They know that they are only eligible to earn this title their senior year. These bowlers have overcome so many obstacles on their journey to becoming a senior, and to potentially have their senior year taken away from them is devastating.”

(Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota State High School League spring activities season is suspended through at least May 4. Whether a season will be played at all is very much up in the air, but these spring preview stories are meant to give coaches for area teams an opportunity to share what they think their players might be capable of if any type of season is played this year.)

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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