Women’s Bowling team falls short to Carthage in CCIW tournament, but reminisce on a memorable season

Jannae Mehaffey

The Augustana women’s bowling team had a very successful 2020-2021 season, going 23-5 and making it to the CCIW championships. Although they fell short, losing to Carthage in the CCIW tournament, they still had a memorable season and accomplished a lot. 
Senior Alex Buffington, says their success was because they were relaxed and had fun. There schedule was different than past seasons because of COVID-19 which took away some of the pressure and allowed them to relax and focus on the game they love. 
“I think a lot of our success this season has to do with our adapted competition schedule. We’ve been competing against the same teams all season, which is much different than a normal year. It’s also more relaxed, so we can focus on bowling and having fun without as much of the pressure that we’d normally have in tournaments. That’s not to say our success isn’t impressive – we put in a lot of work at practice and have a big motivation to be at the top of our conference.” Buffington said. 
Freshman Delaney Walsh believes the success the team has this season has not only to do with everyone’s hard work, but also with the team’s chemistry. All the underclassmen were good friends with the upperclassmen and there was no divide amongst the team. Not all college teams are so close and this team chemistry set them apart from many of the teams they faced. 
 “A huge factor would definitely be the initial start of the season where the connection between the freshmen and upperclassmen grew. If we never built up just a great bond with each other and became so close with one another, the season would not have been as successful as it was,” Walsh said.
Buffington on the day of the loss against Carthage had a lot to say about not only what the team’s goal was, but what her individual goal as a senior was as well. “We are finishing the season today actually in the second half of our conference tournament. The goal all season has been to win our conference, so that’s what we’re working for today. Other than that, more personally, it’s my last season since I’m a senior and my main goal is honestly to just enjoy college bowling and the competition one last time.” Buffington said. 
Even though they didn’t win their conference, the friendships Buffington made because of college bowling made it all worth it. Wins and losses are important, but in the long run, the experience of playing a college sport and the relationships made with teammates is what matters the most.  
“I really like college bowling because it lets me continue to do the sport I love and gives me a community from being part of a team. It’s really special for me since the program started my freshman year, so being on the inaugural team is something I’m very proud of. It’s also given me one of my best friends at Augustana.” Buffington said. 
Other bowlers, such as senior Taylor Kies, cherish the memories they were still able to make with a season during a pandemic. Everything from traveling with the team to away games and celebrating all the close wins, are moments that Kies and the rest of the team will remember for a long time.
“My favorite part of college bowling was being with the team and while it was harder this year due to COVID I have a lot of good memories of being on this team” Kies said. 
For many athletes, they come to Augustana not expecting to play sports and then get the opportunity to keep playing the game they love. Buffington didn’t think she was going to bowl entering her freshman year at Augustana. 
“I never planned on bowling in college, but when I decided to come to Augie it just worked out that they were starting a bowling team. It became an awesome opportunity to still bowl while getting an education,” Buffington said. 
Although this season the team didn’t win the CCIW as they would have hoped, this gives them an opportunity to work hard and do even better next season. “For next season the team hopes to have a higher spare percentage in competition and continue working to go farther in conference,” Kies said. 
The team didn’t let the COVID-19 restrictions get in the way of their hard work. They had restrictions for practices and games but made up for them by staying late after practice. They also made the most of their revised season schedule and didn’t get frustrated with the circumstances they were in because of the pandemic. 
 “There would be days where we would stay after practice to make sure we get all of our spares or work more of certain skills that were troubling. Overall the team worked as hard as they can despite the pandemic,” Walsh said.