A Strike For Apopka

Courtesy of Orlando Sentinel

Apopka’s boys’ bowling team has had a phenomenal run going all the way to States and winning. Winning states is a huge achievement and all of the bowling players are super happy about the win. Apopka’s bowling team has always been dominant and has several huge wins, and this adds to that greatly. The top bowler of the state is Richard Caruso, who has always wanted to win State. “Over the years bowling in high school, I’ve always wanted to win a state championship. I put all my effort and the motivation from my friends and family always helped along the way.” The effort paid off in a big way, ending with both a state championship and the best bowling athlete in State. To achieve such a high level of skill practice is essential, “I usually bowl Tuesday night and Saturday morning leagues every week. During the high school season, we bowl Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for either practice or matches.” That’s quite a bit of practicing and dedication. Coaches are quite an important part of that dedication, and Coach Doug is one of the reasons why Richard did so well, “I would say the effort of Coach Doug making us practice spares truly made the difference. It’s a key part of making a 150 game into a 200 game or potentially higher. Taking your time in between shots and going through a pre-shot routine helps keep you relaxed and consistent.” Working on what you’re weaker in is key to becoming even better, and Richard’s achievement is testimony to that.


Courtesy of Orlando Sentinel

Connecting with your teammates in competition and practice improves the overall performance of the team. Kevin White describes his connection with the team, “We’re all best friends and love bowling together, so that makes practicing often really easy.” When practicing, it’s better to not be stressed thinking about your standing in the team and this raises the performance of the team. Being an athlete on such a strong team, there has to be a weakest bowler when the season starts. “ I came into this season as the weakest bowler in our starting lineup and I really worked hard to try and reach their level.” This shows signs of friendly competition and the drive to be better. To get so much better you need to practice quite often with your teammates. “Lots and lots of practice. Even before the season started, during the summer, we were meeting up 2 times a week to practice with each other.” The fact that the bowling team met during the summer to work together shows that the state win was deserved.


The team almost coaches themselves, but the official coach of the male bowling team is Coach Jenkins. Many coaches have different reasons why they coach their respective sport or sports, “Coach Todd Hauser transferred to Windermere High School and AD Wambles offered me the job and I accepted. I love coaching, the time spent helping students improve their skills and striving for a common goal is great.” Help the students you did, because it ended with a State championship, although that’s not the first for Apopka high school, “With the boys’ teams winning the state championship 6 times in the last 10 years they put high expectations on themselves,” explained coach Jenkins. Those expectations led to lots of hours practicing as a team and success. Many of those hours were outside official practice as a team, “It is a small group of students who have bonded and work well with each other. They spend many hours outside of practice working to improve their bowling skill,” says Jenkins. This amount of dedication is outstanding and most teams cannot claim the same. Apopka’s bowling team has always been strong and this year we are the strongest in the state.


Another important member of the bowling team is athlete Chase Robbins. All the athletes on the bowling team agree that the bond between them is large and one of the reasons they are so successful. “I think we’re successful because we’ve built up chemistry for all the time we’ve spent together.  As a team we just focus on what’s ahead and what we need to do in order to win.” A focus on a certain goal is efficient when combined with a high chemistry between athletes. Of course playing a sport is not just to win. It’s important to love your sport, “I enjoy bowling. It’s been fun ever since I started and all the tournaments And the friends you make on the way it’s just great.” You can’t be great alone and something that keeps you improving as an athlete is the inspiration from parents who also love the sport and coaches who saw potential. “I would say my dad inspired me to take up bowling. He’s been bowling since he was a kid too and he started me when I was young and I just fell in love with the sport. My previous coaches before Doug also inspired me. They all said they saw potential In me and they made me keep pushing and fall more in love with the sport.” Being believed in and pushed to your limits is incredibly important.


Without a doubt, the Apopka high school bowling team deserved to win the state championship when reviewing the hard work and dedication in the athletes. Another key component was raw skill and strong bonds between the athletes.

The Blue and White reached out to Coach Jenkins for information about the girls bowling team and their journey to State, but received no information. However, the girls bowling team did amazing, as well, going very far in the tournament. Next year when the season starts, be sure to keep an eye on both of Apopka’s bowling team.