Cresson - The Mount Aloysius College women's bowling program, a first-year sport under the direction of coach Andy Clouse, has already made an impact on the college campus both in the lanes and away from the pins.
The program began after interest was expressed in the sport by a number of students at the college. Mount Aloysius athletic director Ryan Smith started preparations to add the college's 14th sport while tabbing Clouse as the program's first coach.
Clouse held a meeting in the early part of the school year for any women on campus interested in competitive bowling, and a team comprised of nine individuals was formed.
Thus far, the team has competed in a number of matches since the beginning of November as part of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, which includes the likes of Pitt-Bradford, Penn State Altoona and Medaille. The Mount's first season will coincide with the first-ever AMCC Women's Bowling Championship. In the hunt for the first win of their inaugural season, the Mountie Lady Bowlers keep developing, showing improvement. But more importantly, the members of the team as a whole symbolize what comprises the MAC student-athlete.
"They participate and hold positions in clubs and organizations on campus, go on service trips, and many are enrolled in challenging majors or double majors," Clouse said.
Two members of the team -sophomore Ashley Skowronek and junior Jennifer "JJ" Craig - participated in a recent service trip sponsored by the Mount Aloysius Campus Ministry department to New Orleans. Their mission was to help with the ongoing rebuilding effort after the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac. Another team member, Courtney Sable, went on a trip to Ireland last summer under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy.
For many members of the team, bowling is just one aspect of their busy campus life. Kolby Wasnick, a senior from Summerhill, is active in the Theatre program at the college while balancing a prelaw and accounting major. Courtney Burkett, a sophomore in the medical assistant major, is part of the Mount's cheerleading squad. Cassie Kasic, a sophomore from Tyrone, enjoys the Mount Aloysius Sign Language Club. Most importantly, despite their many interests and responsibilities, the Mount Aloysius first-year bowling team scored a collective 3.2 GPA this past fall semester.
Prior to the season, no members of the team had bowled in an organized league. Only a couple of the bowlers had their own ball and equipment before starting. The team's bowling average has improved almost 35 pins since the first day of practice.
Clouse also serves as director of freshmen admissions and is the international student coordinator in the division of Enrollment Management.
The Mountie Bowlers participated in the Penn State Altoona Invitational in November and an AMCC Quad Match on Jan. 11-12 in Buffalo.
The women's bowling team returns to competition at the St. Francis Invitational at the end of the month.