BANGOR JOHN GLENN 2010 STATE CHAMPS -- TEAM MEMBERS: (L/R) -- Brandon Flues, Zach Fylling, Brandon Smith, Eric Ciszewski, Zac Bonds, Hayden Block
John Glenn Bowling Team State Champs Again with Kowalski-Block Coaching
Bobcats Repeat 2005 Victory with Come From Behind Sweep of Last 3 Matches
Bangor John Glenn head coach Craig Block and lane coach Dave Kowalski are the "Mister Inside" and "Mr. Outside" of local high school bowling coaches.
But both were recently inducted into the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association Hall of Fame. They joined the Hall's fourth induction class during the organization's awards banquet April 25 at Lansing's Royal Scot Lanes.
What kind of coaching does it take for a high school team to win two state championships, one runner-up crown and five regional titles?
The kind provided by Dave Kowalski and Craig Block at Bangor Township John Glenn High School.
Dave Kowalkski, left, and Craig Block, display their state Bowling Coaches Hall of Fame plaques in front of the Monitor Lanes display of many honors their teams have won in the past decade.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)
Bobcat bowlers, rolling out of Monitor Lanes on Euclid Avenue in Bay City, won the state title again this year, after also finishing first in 2005.
The coaches have collaborated successfully for a decade, Craig, being a Math teacher at the school and a casual bowler, however providing the key connection inside the school with student bowlers. Dave, who owns Euclid Automotive, is an active bowler and coaches as a sideline that he thoroughly enjoys.
Mr. Kowalski outlined five elements that bring bowling success:
1-Great kids who will listen;
2-Great parents who support their students and supply the equipment needed to compete;
3-A school and administration that stands 100 percent behind the team;
4-Coaches who know how to put it all together; and
5-Luck of the bowling gods.
Mr. Block got started 13 years ago when asked by Judy Sheehan to form a bowling team. The following year, 1998-1999, there was enough interest for boys and girls teams and he coached the boys team.
John Glenn competes in a huge region that includes Troy, Sterling Heights, Flint, Saginaw, Oscoda, Clare, Farwell and Tawas high schools.
The team practices Tuesday nights and Sundays. The dual meet season consists of about seven or eight matches that begin the first Saturday in December. The season winds up with the state finals the last Friday and Saturday in February.
"We have been blessed with strong academic kids most of whom have bowled since they were young," said Mr. Block. "Therefore we don't have to spend alot of time teaching etiquette or how to throw or release the ball."
"The real goal is to give the kids a lifetime sport," said Mr. Kowalski. "Everything else is a bonus."
Both Mr. Block and Mr. Kowalski are graduates of Saginaw Valley State University,. where Mr. Kowalski was on the bowling team. "That was before they won four national championships," he said. Although he and his wife have bowled in a mixed league for 10 years, he said he can't compete with any of the players on the team in scoring.
Several of Zac Fylling's teammates credited him with the performance of the day during the championship competition this year. During the later stages of the second-round match against St. Clair Shores, the Shorians made a run with Fylling having one of the Bobcats' best performances as Glenn held them off to win by 65 pins, 1,812-1,747. Fylling also had the team's high game of the day of the day with a 257.
Brandon Flues also had a strong day, turning in a 241; Eric Ciszewski brought home a 233, Zac Bonds 211 and Hayden Block 203, said Mr. Kowalski.
The Bobcats finished third in the qualifying round of the team state championship held at Super Bowl Lanes in Canton then defeated Grand Rapids Union by 99 pins, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore by 65 pins and Hazel Park by 194 pins, 1,790-1,596, to reclaim their crown.
Coincidentally, both the 2005 and 2010 state championships came on the same day, March 5, he observed.
Fylling was named to third team all-state while Cizewski made second team.
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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