The Valpo Women’s Bowling Team is confident and motivated to go into their toughest year yet. The key to this year's team is unity and execution. Shon Washington enters his fifth season as head coach of the team and has big expectations for this group.
“There is no reason we can’t be back in the top ten, top 15 in the rankings. This team is one of the more talented teams and is comparable in terms of skill to the 2012 team that made it to the NCAA championship,” Washington said.
The team works hard in the offseason trying to live up to those expectations.
“We are lifting at 6 a.m. on Monday and Wednesdays followed by cardio and yoga on Tuesdays. Open lanes at Inman Bowling Alley are led by players Monday through Thursday,” said senior team captain Payton Bertermann.
According to Betermann, the schedule has been the same, just with masks as they have been wearing them at all workouts and practices.
This work is necessary with half the team being freshmen and only two upperclassmen returning. The team has lost four seniors due to personal reasons. Due to this, Bertermann has really taken on a leadership role with this team.
“I enjoy being the person they look up to. In the sense of questions about the rules of the game, about the coach, or the sport of bowling,” Bertermann said.
Washington decided to return to coach Valpo after a brief break because of the athletes and the campus environment.
“With such a young team it gives you an opportunity as a coach to get back to the basics,” Washington said.
One of the biggest focuses for this year is unity.
“This is the first year everyone was recruited by Washington. Prior to that in the past two years, they were dealing with reminiscence from the past coach in terms of mentality,” Bertermann said. “Everyone is on the same page and fighting towards one goal.”
Washington agrees with unity being a key for this year's team, but even more important is the execution.
“For this group, it is all about executing and giving it all you have,” Washington said.
This will be especially true since the bowling team does not have a home arena on campus this year. Their home meets are held at Inmans. The first tournament for the Crusaders will be held on Oct. 23.
“It is exciting to be on the road together and get an opportunity to spend more time with teammates,” Bertermann said.