It’s tournament time for fall varsity sports; R-P has a team ranked first in state going into their tournaments – varsity bowling! The R-P varsity team has a team average of 199.7833 with a high game of 266. They have won 12 matches and lost zero. Their game record stands at 52 wins and eight losses.
In addition, Rylan Schneider is currently the number one varsity bowler in the whole state! He has achieved a fill percentage of 93% – this means that 93% of the time he bowls either a strike or spare!
Rylan has bowled since he was seven or eight. He has concentrated solely on bowling and baseball. You will find him in the bowling alley almost every day bowling his average three or four games. As a high school senior, he is looking at colleges. At this point he’s undecided on a possible career, but is hoping to get a scholarship for bowling. Rylan noted he’s open to considering any college offers.
Regular season bowling ended November 4 at Wabasha. During the regular season, the R-P team bowled at Lake City, Wabasha, Winona, Preston and Rushford. Saturda November 11 will be the conference tournament at Preston; Saturda November 18 will be the 1A state tournament in Austin. Sunda November 19 are the JV tournament games.
The R-P high school teams were started in 1991 by Jim Kitchens. According to Jim, he “grabbed six guys off the football team, gave them some house bowling shoes and balls, and they started bowling against teams in Winona and Rochester.” At that time they competed against all the big schools in the state; now schools compete against similar sized schools in classes AAAA, AAA, AA and A. Kitchens shared that the 2004 team finished third in state overall before such divisions were made.
Jim Kitchens has made a point to purchase top of the line bowling balls for the team in 2017; the tradition continues today. HE knew the team needed quality equipment to compete at the level with other teams. Bowlers pay a fee to participate. The R-P Booster Club helps with the high school team and youth bowling and purchases bowling shirts for the teams. Nordic Lanes pays the team fees to BPAM (Bowling Proprietors Association of Minnesota) which runs the Minnesota High School Bowling.
The R-P teams have had professional coach John Chapman present a workshop in which he taught them two-handed bowling. That type of bowling produces more velocity and strength for the bowlers.
The team has grown through the years; now 15 or 16 bowlers from grades 7-12 comprise the varsity team and two JV teams. Tim Hoheisel coached the team for two or three years after Jim Kitchens; now Donata Kitchens, Jim’s daughter, is in her first year as varsity coach with her sister Danielle Rasmussen as JV coach.
Practice for the teams is held Sunday afternoons from the third Saturday in September until the weekend of November 18-19. An All-Conference team tourney will be held Thanksgiving weekend.
Scoring for high school bowling uses the Baker style. In this style, teams of five take turns bowling a game. Each person bowls two frames in the game; for example, the first bowler bowls the first frame, and another bowls each consecutive until all have bowled, and then the first bowler bowls again. The team scores a single team score. Each Saturday they bowl 10 games.
Donata does her best to keep practices entertaining; she splits the varsity team up and they choose the other bowlers for their team and score Baker style. Her goal is to keep the team relying on each other. “It’s trying to keep them positive as a group,” Donata pointed out.
Donata has chosen to coach because she wants the team to have a stable coach. Her goal is that her team members become better people when they’re done bowling for her. She makes it clear at the beginning of the season that the bowlers with the top five percentages and skills will bowl varsity. Danielle and Donata keep data on each of the bowlers themselves to make sure the teams are fairly chosen. Donata, as varsity coach, chooses each week’s lineup.
Many of the high school bowlers travel to outside tournaments as well; this helps the bowlers build their skills. Some families spend nearly every weekend at those tournaments and travel for more lengthy
tournaments over the summer.
Currently the varsity team consists of senior Rylan Schneider, junior Michael Evenson, Jr., sophomores Treyten Hegland, Isaac Rasmussen and Jace Dvorak, as well as eighth grader Joe Evenson.
With six eighth graders and four seventh graders on the team, the R-P HS Bowling team is looking forward to a promising future. Interested bowlers are encouraged to sign up to join the team next fall.
Best of luck to the entire R-P varsity team as they enter tournament play! Relying on their teammates and keeping up a positive attitude will help the team find continued success!