Girls bowling program had humble beginnings


Minooka’s first girls bowling team competed during the 1992-93 season. This photo is from that year’s yearbook.

Daisy Kleinhoffer, Sports Media class

 A former sophomore baseball coach who had little idea how to coach bowling took a swing at a new girls program in 1992.

Mr. Ken Maas taught math at MCHS, and he had bowled in one league in college and another later near his home in Morris. But he was the name the first girls bowling coach in Minooka history, as the inaugural team launched during the 1992-1993 school year.

Athletic director Wayne Greenbeck wanted to expand Minooka’s sports programs. Greenbeck recruited Maas in order to start the bowling team. Maas said that the athletic department was very helpful through the start of the program.  

“We were the new kids on the block,” Maas said.

But being the new kids on the block came with a lot of challenges for Maas and the girls.   

Although Minooka had an intramural league in previous years that was run by physical education teachers, most of the girls on the team had little to no experience.  Maas said he enjoyed the season nonetheless. Six girls made up the varsity squad, and another six were on jayvee.

Channahon Lanes was the home of this first team. They practiced and held matches there.  Teams did not like coming there because whenever it would rain the lanes would flood. (In the late 1990s, the team would move to Town & Country Lanes in Joliet before eventually returning to Channahon).

Away meets were challenging for the girls, too. None of them had a their own ball or shoes, so they would always would have to hunt through the alleys to find a house ball with the right weight, size, and grip.  The lanes would provide the ball and the right size shoes at no charge.

The uniforms for the team involved just a simple white polo shirt that had “Minooka Indians” on it with bowling pins and a bowling ball in between “Minooka” and “Indians”.

At practices, the girls would work on knocking down spares. Maas said of course you want to get a strike every time, but being able to hit your spares is important. Maas was the only coach for the 12 girls at the practices. The practices were run somewhat smoothly despite having just the one coach at the time.

The girls only had five victories, and Maas said they competed against some more established programs.

“It has showed us that there are a lot of good bowlers out there,” Shiloh Matouseuk said in the 1992-93 MCHS yearbook.

The girls were so esatic the team’s first win felt like they won the state championship in that alley, Maas said.

The team finished 5-9 overall and 2-6 in the conference. Maas wasn’t worried as much about the scores of the game.  He cared about how the girls improved over the season.

The girls voted for Ruth Sage as the best bowler. She had the highest average from all of their girls with 142.

Maas coached until 2002, when he was set to retire the following year.  He wouldn’t change a thing that he did if he were to go back in time and restart his coaching career.

Additional reporting by Tim Flanagan and Dylan Saari