When T.F. North bowling coach Matthew Pettiti set his varsity roster for last Saturday's Rich East Invitational at Lakewood Bowl, he included freshmen bowlers Capri Howard and Candice Redman.
Being short on seniors, Howard and Redman were given the chance to bowl, and the freshmen quickly proved they can be a force.
Howard and Redman finished in the top five at the invite, and Pettiti has what appears to be the cornerstones of a solid team for the next four years. The pair helped elevate the Meteors to a second-place team finish at the Rich East Invitational. Redman's 1,059 pin fall was good for third, and Howard's 1,047 captured a fifth-place finish.
"The team we bowled with Saturday was three juniors and the two freshman," Pettiti said. "For Candice and Capri to come in as freshmen and keep right up with us, and even lead the pack, is remarkable."
Howard and Redman go back a long way together and have been friends since the two were children. When they became older and took up bowling, they started to become better friends and better bowlers.
"We actually used to bowl together at Castaways Bowl," Howard said. "And last year we were at a tournament in Ohio bowling together. We were with our own leagues but ran into each other. I've known Candice since I was 6, 7. We've known each other forever, and we've been bowling together for a long time."
T.F. North has reunited the two bowlers, and the Meteors have plenty to be optimistic about in the coming seasons.
"Around 10 or 11 we broke up and went to different bowling alleys," Howard said. "We went our separate ways trying to find a better league, and now here we are back together at T.F. North."
Just making the varsity team as a freshman came as a shock to Redman, but she is quickly proving she belongs.
"I was really excited when I found out T.F. North had bowling," Redman said. "I was very excited trying out. I was so happy when I made varsity. I just didn't know if I could make it."
The confidence the two bowlers received with success at their first major tournament was a welcome byproduct of the excellent day the two bowlers had.
"Honestly, the first meet I did feel kind of nervous and jittery," Howard said. "With the type of team we have, and the encouragement that they have, they accepted me really well. To place in the top 10 at a varsity tournament with a lot of juniors and seniors, it really gave me confidence to know that I can do that."
Pettiti hopes his freshmen will continue to grow and use that confidence to help improve their bowling.
"Number one, it's hard to be on a varsity team in general, much less as a freshman to be invited to the varsity team," Pettiti said. "They're starting the meld with the team a little bit. I was skeptical at the beginning of the year, because I only had three seniors, and I didn't know where the season would take us. We have a long way to go, but if this is how some of the tournaments go, we can only go up from here."