For the next couple of weeks, the boys and girls bowling team have the sport spotlight as the only team currently playing regular season games. Coming off an historic year in 2016, the bowling team is looking to continue it’s stellar play and make it back-to-back trips to the state tournament.
Recently, EHCSathletics.com sat down with head bowling coach, David Gee for a Q and A to get his thoughts on the season.
Coach, can you describe the experience in the state tournament last year?
Well this may be a first for Ezell-Harding Christian School…an interview with the Head Bowling Coach. Before I get into our experience in the State Tournament, I think that the road to last year’s State Tournament needs a little explaining. First of all last year’s team did not have a coach until week 1 of our bowling schedule, at that time, Mrs. Pruitt then asked me to become the coach. Will Tidwell was added as a sponsor (he was the Admissions Director at the time) and then we asked Eric Carter, our real bowler, to help us with the team. Half way through our season, we kept telling our boys that they were creating a great story to tell. We finished the season strong to the end and the next thing you know we had made it to the State Tournament. Not bad for 3 rookie bowling coaches and a team that finished 7-9 for the regular season.
It was a very exciting experience for our team to make an appearance in the State Tournament. Because of our Super Sophomore bowler Daniel Dryden, we had both an individual qualifier as well as a team qualified for the State Tournament. We were proud to see the Ezell-Harding banner decorating the Smyrna Bowling Center leading up to the first day of the tournament. The team had a sense of pride knowing that we were one of 8 teams competing for a chance to be the State Champion. Being able to share the stage with the best schools in bowling throughout the state was unbelievable! We were very lucky to have the State Tournament at our home bowling alley. Our fans were loud and supportive, which helped us win our match against Chattanooga McCallie, who finished first in our Region. The win against McCallie was Ezell-Harding Christian School’s first ever bowling win in the State Tournament and resulted in our only final four in the State Tournament for bowling. Oh finally one of the simplest sources of excitement for the coaches and our players…our name tags that had been punched 3 times. This meant that we were State Participants in all 3 days of the competition…doing this by making it to the final four.
How do you juggle the two teams (boys and girls) given that you have a very experienced boys team and a girls team that is lacking in experience?
Well, it is a very interesting Boys team this year as we have no football players or golfers that are joining us after their fall season sport. Last year Nathan Poteete joined us after football season and was instrumental in our late season run. That being said our entire boys bowling team has been practicing since the middle of August and have been ready to bowl for a long time. On the flip side, the Lady Eagle bowlers have 6 from the volleyball team and 1 from the soccer team. We actually met several of them for the first time before their match on October 9th when we played Harpeth Hall. But since then, our coaches have been working with the girls and they are letting our teaching and advice soak in. One thing is for sure our girls are having a lot of fun out there!!! It would be good if we can get our guys to loosen up and have more too.
Which teams seem to be the teams to beat in our region?
This year has brought 4 new schools into our Region, Lipscomb, Goodpasture, Nashville Christian, and Clarksville Academy have joined us this season. Some of the best teams from last year are Father Ryan, DCA, John Pope Paul, and Friendship Christian. For this year it looks like Lipscomb Academy, John Pope Paul, Friendship Christian and Ezell Harding Christian School will battle for the title in the end.
For those who have never been to a bowling match, tell them what they are missing.
You might miss seeing Kenton Gentry chest bumping his teammates (best chest-bump in the Middle Region), you might miss Jakub Szostak’s game face, you might miss the roll of Mark (the machine) Woody, or maybe Daniel Dryden clutch bowling as the team’s anchor to help the team win a key match this season. Actually what I would hope you would see is a group of guys and girls having a good time, making a few strikes and spares, and a team that represents Ezell-Harding Christian School and our God in a good way.
For a few weeks until basketball starts, bowling is the only game in town. How does it feel to have the spotlight on your program at the moment?
We love that bowling is in the spotlight right now.
The best thing that could happen during this spotlight period would be for our students to come and check out the team and maybe even bowl a game or two. We will definitely need bowlers for next season especially if we want to keep the fun going!
While we will take any type of spotlight on the program any time…our biggest time for fan support will come in December during the time of the Region Tournament and if we make it to the State Tournament in mid January.
Do you feel that bowling is gaining the respect it deserves both at our school and around the state?
As far as school recognition…Thanks to last year’s seniors Bryson Gentry and Nathan Poteete and the rest of the team our bowling team went further than any other bowling team from Ezell-Harding Christian School. Additionally, Daniel Dryden finished with the highest score 171.5 for an Ezell-Harding Christian School participant as an individual. Did you know that as the result of last years team there is now a Bowling Banner in the gym? Sweet!
As far as around the state…Our trip to the State Tournament last season and our current streak of 5 wins in a row has our Boys Bowling Team ranked #7 in Division II in the State per the TNPREPBOWLING organization. For now as coaches and players…we are enjoying the ride! Go Bowling Eagles!