North Central Women’s Bowling Season Recap

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Individual CCIW Bowling Honors

When end of season athletic awards are handed out, they’re usually concentrated among the top couple of teams in the standings. But North Central Women’s Bowling crashed the party this year, taking home several College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin honors in a season where they finished fifth. In his first full season at the helm, head coach Jacob Sandborn was named CCIW Coach of the Year for his role in helping a still young Cardinals program take a significant step forward.

“It was definitely an honor to be recognized as the coach of the year in the conference knowing the caliber of coaches that we have in the CCIW and just for me, we are trying to  mirror some of those other coaching staffs that have come before us and then also in our athletics department trying to uphold that level of success,” said Sandborn. “The reason I’m winning this award is because of our bowlers and the work that they put in.”

Foremost among those bowlers is sophomore Jessica Ramirez. A transfer from St. Xavier University, her scoring average of 177.9 set a new single-season program record. Ramirez was named both to the All CCIW First Team and as the conference’s First-Year Student Athlete of the Year.

“I’m very flattered and honored to be able to represent NCC with this award,” Ramirez said. “It’s a really great experience to allow myself to be able to help the team and I really appreciate that feeling of having my team beside me the whole time, always supporting each other is huge.”

“We had that plan in place to bring her on and make that immediate impact that trickled down into our first year bowlers and returning bowlers to set that standard of this is what hard work looks like and this is what the time and commitment on the lanes looks like and those results that you can get from that,” said Sandborn. “So it was everything we’d hoped for and some that she’s brought to our program and it’s been every bit of value that we’re looking for.”

“I guess athletically I would say I worked on things like my release, that was a big contributor to helping me on the lanes,” Ramirez said of the keys to her success. “And confidence was a huge thing for me in general. I think just knowing what I can do and going to do it and being confident and having a position mindset was a big contributor to a successful season.”

Progress on Their Own Terms

The team may have narrowly missed out on the final day of CCIW competition where only the top four teams qualify, but even without the awards they know that they’ve made significant progress in the teams’ fifth season of existence, exemplified by a new season-high 23 dual competition victories.

“We’re more competitive than we have been in the past, obviously last year was kind of a washout because of COVID,” said junior Talia Roti. “But everyone’s so much more motivated, and the bonding on the team also is phenomenal and we just want to support each other all the time and it makes us all want to do better, I feel like.”

“I think what I hope they got from the season is a little bit of that extra drive or push,” Sandborn said. “They got a little taste of success, and then going into the offseason that momentum continues to build and build and build into the next season and competitions for next year, shaping our goals as a program and continuing to mold our culture within our program.”

“We have definitely improved since my freshman year,” said Roti, who has been a member of the team for a majority of its existence. “We have been growing slowly. We have the most members we’ve ever had in program history this year, which is awesome. My freshman year there was like five people, just enough to bowl. And now we have so many more, so many opportunities and I’m loving it.”

The team did have the opportunity to end the year on a high note, taking part in the 2022 music City Classic in Nashville hosted by Vanderbilt University. The Cardinals had the opportunity to test their skills against a variety of Division I and Division II competition, a good parting reminder for the season about where the team hopes they’re headed.

“We were bowling against a D1 school and we were neck-and-neck for a majority of the time, and that was thrilling to know that we can compete on the level of D1,” Roti said. “That was awesome.”

“I think it was a really great experience to be able to just see and compete against all those bigger teams, even D1, D2s that have won national championships,” said Ramirez. “I think that’s not only a great experience but a great motivator for us to continue to improve our game each and every day. That’s a huge aspect for us to keep moving up, keep moving forward.”