LANSING | Last year Kayla Garcia had one bad game in the IHSA state bowling finals and it cost her a chance to bowl for a medal.
This year, her goals are set high.
“I have a lot of goals for this season,” Garcia said. “I want to average 200, medal in every invitational, and get back to state and improve on what I did there last year.”
After seeing her average improve from 150 to the low 180s over the last two years there’s very little reason to doubt her.
It’s not just her track record that says she’s capable of improving. Garcia bowls on leagues all year and has put in between 400 and 500 games in the offseason to help make that goal a reality.
“I’ve been bowling since I was 5 years old and started in leagues when I was 9,” Garcia said. “My grandfather is a coach and he started taking me with him when I was little and still helps me in the off season to find what I need to work on and keep trying to improve.”
Garcia isn’t the only one that believes she can improve on last year’s performance.
“Kayla was second in (South Suburban) conference and third in the sectional,” T.F. South coach Bob Quayle said. “She was one bad game away from bowling for a medal at state last year; she has good mechanics and is a good leader for our team.”
Garcia has become something of a player/coach for Quayle. Not only is she the leader on the lanes, but the rest of the team has come to her for guidance.
“She’s one of our top returning bowlers,” Quayle said. “She’s someone I can lean on now, the rest of the girls know she’s good and they rally around her.”
Although not the most outspoken member of the team, Garcia tries to lead by example. She puts in the work at practice and in the offseason and tries to not only set an example for teammates, but to let them know that she is there when they need her and that she’s just another member of the team.
Even with all her personal accomplishments last year, including helping lead the Rebels to a 13th-place finish at the state finals, there are more than personal goals at stake for Garcia.
“There’s a lot of pressure but there’s only so much you can put on yourself, we have talented bowlers and as a team I think we’re capable of anything we put our minds to,” Garcia said. “As a senior I try to help the younger girls, I answer any questions they have and just do whatever I can to help them out.
"Getting to state last year was a great experience and I’d like us to get back there as a team.”