While some area high school teams have already hit the lanes, most will be breaking out their bowling balls today for their first taste of regular-season action.
In Amsterdam and Johnstown, two first-year coaches are hoping to improve on 2012-13 results.
Joseph Scott is taking over as the head coach of the Amsterdam bowling team this season. Scott will be looking to use a young team with raw talent to improve on Amsterdam's third-place finish a year ago.
Johnstown’s Jim Marshall bowls before a Jan. 9 Foothills Council match with Gloversville at Arterial Lanes in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
"As a first-year coach with 30 years of bowling experience, I hope to do my best to help them become a strong team that I know they have the potential to become," said Scott.
The Rams will be without Ben Patrick and Jake Cetnar, both of whom posted averages over 190 in 2012. Also lost to graduation are Zach Arsenault and Dave Hawkins. Returning bowlers Marc LaBahn, Jon LaBahn, Billy McGaffin, Dave Puglisi, Joe Spagnola, Brendan McGillan, and Brandon Little will lead the way for Amsterdam. Jon Scholtz, Dave Shaw, and Morgan Russell are the only thee newcomers to the team.
David Hayward will be making his coaching debut as the head of the Johnstown bowling team. Johnstown finished third in the Foothills Council last year and did not suffer any key bowler losses coming into 2013. Jimmy Marshall, Ben Empie and Alyssa Hadcock are three of eight returning bowlers this year. New bowlers Noah Ringer, Ethan Hadcock, Hunter Meher, and Jill Flansburg will join them.
"My goals are to raise every bowler's average by 10 pins or more," said Hayward.
Hayward is very confident in his team this season, going as far as predicting a Foothills Council championship.
Twelfth-year coach Mick Gottung will be looking for a bounceback year as the coach of the Broadalbin-Perth bowling team. Bowling without Cody Husek who had an average of 205 this past year, the Patriots will look to capitalize on an influx of young talent.
"Bowling tryouts yielded a very good turnout this year," said Gottung. "I was very pleased with the strong numbers of 9th graders who were eager to learn the game."
Brian Jordan, Austin Corcuera, and Nick Scavia are three newcomers that will be joining five returners under Gottung.
"The newcomers showed good skill and are likely to become an asset to the team," Gottung said. "I'm eager to watch this young team progress over the course of the season."
The Canajoharie bowling team is coming off a successful season; they finished third at sectionals after posting a 65-3 WAC record. To be successful in 2013, Canajoharie will have to do so without a single senior on the roster.
Travis Colegrove and Ryan Weaver are two of nine returning bowlers this year. Joining them are Nick Johnson, Chris Congdon and James Fiaschetti.
"If the bowlers work hard, we will be looking to improve as the season goes on," said head coach Dwayne Heroth.
The Canajoharie girls team lost Courtney Cyr, Jamie McQueen and Laura Satterlee from last year's team. The Lady Cougars return Kiara Putnam, Kendra Kilcullen and Rayna Lindsey from last year's squad.
"We have a young team with two juniors and five freshmen," Heroth said. "If the girls work hard, we look to improve on last year's record."
Fonda-Fultonville is another team that will be relying on a roster full of young bowlers. Despite losing no one from last year, the Braves are welcoming eight new bowlers including Zach Nizet and Brandon Koons.
"I'm looking forward to helping them learn the skill and put their best foot forward," said second-year coach Lisa Dumar.
Shelby Whipple, Pamela Congdon, Ethan Gifford and Jesse Hayes are among the returning bowlers this season. Dumar is relying on seven returners to act as role models for and assist the younger bowlers.
"While winning is always the main goal, what matters most is getting out there, doing something you love, and trying your very best at it," said Dumar.
The Fort Plain bowling team is also full of new faces in 2013. Nine females and one male are new.
According to head coach Rob Jenks, senior Sabrina Richtmyer and junior Beth Mallett are two returning bowlers who figure to compete for a top-five average in the WAC.
"We really hope to be competing for the WAC title this year," said Jenks.
Gloversville is losing two bowlers from last year in Ben VanNostrand and Mike Marotta.
Nick Ferrara, Tim House, and Devon Davis highlight a large group of returning bowlers, while Robert Ward and Scott Gibson are new to the team.
Head coach Donna Bekkering says that while the varsity team is primed for success, the JV team is looking stronger than ever and loaded with potential.
"I hope we have a good season but I want them to have fun as well," said Bekkering, who is entering her fifth year as coach.