Metea Valley girls bowling head coach Kristen Mansmith is treasuring her final season coaching daughter, Elizabeth, as the Mustangs prepare for the state meet. Find out more in this feature presented by Edward Medical Group.
Since the beginning of the program, Metea Valley girls bowling has been a family affair, both figuratively and literally. The Mustangs have always held a tight-knit bond between teammates as well as athletes and coaches. One of the biggest reasons for that familial environment is the presence of Metea Valley head coach Kristen Mansmith, who got her start with the team as an assistant in 2009 before becoming the head coach in the fall of 2015.
She has coached two of her daughters during her time with the black and gold, Taylor, who graduated in 2015 and current senior Elizabeth Mansmith. Getting to coach your child is a unique and special experience, which has only been enhanced for the Mansmith family due to the success of the Mustangs on the lanes.
Metea qualified for the state tournament for the first time in 2014, when Taylor was a junior. The Mustangs then qualified for state again in 2020 when Elizabeth was a sophomore. The mother/daughter duo is now heading back to state for a second time in three years after a third place finish at the Hinsdale South sectional.
Despite having an actual daughter on the varsity team for the past four seasons, what makes the Mustangs program so strong is Coach Mansmith’s determination to make every bowler on the roster feel like family.
There are other family connections to the Mustang program as assistants Rob Mickolayck and Todd Ridgway both had kids bowl for Metea Valley, just like coach Mansmith. A passion for bowling and coaching appears to run in the family as Taylor Mansmith-Lopez is now an assistant coach with Neuqua Valley girls bowling.
Making it back to state was an extra special experience for this year’s team after missing out on any kind of state tournament a year ago due to the pandemic cancelations. Plus, it gave the Mansmith’s and this inseparable group of athletes one more week to share the lanes together.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.