Photo courtesy of head coach Ashley Mahanna.

Emma Letzig, Online Editor-in-Chief

Just four days after the official start of the IHSA girls’ bowling season in November, the Prospect Girl’s Bowling team was told that they had to stop because of the increased number of COVID-19 cases. After a couple months of uncertainty, the team was finally able to resume practices and start competing in late January. 

“We were cramming a three month season into a month and a half,” head coach Ashley Mahanna said. “It’s very difficult to do … as coaches, we started seeing the talent that we had, the drive that we had.” 

Freshman Katie Ruszczak won the individual conference title with a season average of 201, beating out her closely matched opponent, Buffalo Grove’s Sara Clay, by only 3 points. Ruszczak has been bowling since she was three years old, but this past season she completed her highest scoring game ever, with 247 points. 

“I know I usually have one lower game each day I bowl, but for me to continuously throw 200 every game that day was just very surprising,” said Ruszczak.

According to Mahanna, Ruszczak fueled the team and gave them a competitive edge.

“[The team] realized her level and her ability, and they wanted to go ahead and reach that too,” said Mahanna.

Another highlight of the team’s season was their 3rd place finish in the MSL conference, having one of the most successful finishes of Mahanna’s coaching career.

The strong leadership and team comradery greatly impacted the success of the athletes. According to Mahanna, seniors Chloe Santillan and Marissa Robinson were key members in uplifting and encouraging the team during the unpredictable season. 

To conclude the season, the team entered in the New Trier Invitational. Due to COVID-19 the IHSA was not able to have their state tournament, and this event was run by New Trier’s bowling team in place of that. Over 80 teams competed virtually in this event, and Prospect finished in 13th place.

“[I am] really, really proud of the team, that we had the work, that they had the resilience … and then when [the season] came, [they] put their heart and soul in and everything that they had.” said Mahanna.