The Anacortes High School girls bowling team has 10 active bowlers this year, with more interested in joining.
The 10 includes six returners from last year's team.
Not bad for a team that had only one bowler in the 2020-21 season.
The winter sport starts weeks earlier than other sports, kicking off practices at the end of October.
"It has been great working with all different levels of experience this year," coach Teresa Syms said in an email. "The athletes that were brand-new to bowling last year have shown so much growth. They know the routine and they jump right in to practicing."
The Seahawks won their first two games this year. They beat Ferndale 3-0 Monday, Nov. 14, and Cascade High School from Everett 3-0 Tuesday, Nov. 14. It played Monday, but results were not available at press time.
Up next, it plays at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, at Squalicum, hosts Mount Vernon (in Mount Vernon) at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, and hosts Seattle Preparatory School at 3:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.
The team is young this year, with one senior, one junior, seven sophomores and one freshman so far. The team accepts new competitors as the season goes on and there is no cutoff, so people can still join now, Syms said.
The regular season goes through January, with the postseason competition on the first weekend in February. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it comes to competing, the team must be made of up of five bowlers and two alternates. This year, the AHS team has enough bowlers to field both a varsity and a junior varsity team, something that's very exciting, Syms said.
During the season, the team competes twice a week and practices at Riverside Lanes in Mount Vernon once a week.
Since the Anacortes bowling alley was demolished in early 2021, the team travels to practice together and to host its home meets. It also practices twice a week in the AHS commons.
"We use carpet lanes, weighted plastic pins and weighted rubber balls," Syms said in her email. "We learn the foundations of bowling such as hand release of the ball, arm swing, footwork and putting it all together with the correct timing. Since no one bowls the same, I work individually as well to adjust each of the foundations. Then when we go to Riverside Lanes, we put all of what we've learned into practice there."
Though those practices at the high school are a little different than they would be if the bowling alley was still standing, the team has found moments to shine. Syms said one of her favorite things she's seen so far this year has happened during the practices at the high school.
"The returning athletes have become mentors to the new athletes," she wrote. "When I'm working one on one with someone, I see the girls working together to help pinpoint what they may have done wrong. They notice if they don't walk straight, if they drop the ball too early, or if they twist their hand. They are coaching each other and it's amazing to watch."