ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Hub varsity bowling team held its first practice of the 2021-22 season Monday afternoon. With several upperclassmen returning to the team, head coach Jim Lyles said the team will look to improve upon its third-place finish in the Interstate 8 Conference and the 3-6 overall record the Hubs accumulated in match play last season.
“I’m pretty excited about this season,” Lyles said. “We have six kids who have been out for the last few years and I’m happy to see them back out here. A lot of our boys practiced over the summer and they’re throwing the ball pretty well. I’m looking forward to this season.”
All three wins from last season were from conference matches, with Rochelle sweeping Kaneland and splitting the home-and-home series with Ottawa. Seniors Sergio Guevara and Devansh Patel are the most experienced varsity players returning this season. Junior left-hander Evin Odle also returns after earning a starting role on varsity last season.
“I’m looking for leadership from our returning guys,” Lyles said. “They’ve already been helping our new kids who aren’t as strong of bowlers and I’m looking forward to seeing more of that.”
The Hubs will have three varsity spots to fill after losing four seniors from last season including All-Conference honoree Keith Holland. Seniors Luke Orlikowski and Max Orlikowski are two players who bowled on the JV team last season that could move up to the varsity level this season. Rochelle will open its season against Oregon on Monday, Nov. 8.
“We want to win a few more matches,” Lyles said. “We didn’t win any matches in my first year, but we won three matches last year and I think the kids are more excited now because they know they can perform well. We’re hoping to get a few kids out of the regional tournament too.”