In York-Adams League, opportunities for female bowlers are growing
York-Adams League bowling fans may want to circle Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, on their calendar.
That will be the first time two YAIAA girls' teams face each other on the lanes, as Spring Grove takes on Dallastown at 3:30 p.m. at Lion Bowl.
Last year, the league's inaugural season for bowling, only Spring Grove fielded a girls' team. Dallastown added one this season.
If a school doesn't have a girls' team, the girls must compete on the boys' team. Central York captured the Pennsylvania State High School Championship last season with sisters Maddie and Kamryn Brenneman competing on the boys' team. Central York was the only team among the top 12 in state competition to field a co-ed squad.
"I'm pleased we had 12 or 13 girls interested in forming a team," Dallastown coach Justin Zelger said. "I would like to see as many girls involved with bowling as possible. It gives them a chance to compete against other girls."
Zelger said the majority of female bowlers have difficulty competing against male bowlers.
"I believe in expanding opportunities for girls, not shrinking them," Spring Grove coach Jason Baker said. "It's tough to compete on a co-ed team. In high school sports such as basketball, swimming and track, we don't have co-ed teams. We have a boys' team and a girls' team. I believe that should be the case in bowling."
Baker believes there's a different mindset, competitive experience and camaraderie when girls compete against girls.
"I'm in favor of having girls' teams, but it boils down to how many girls come out," Central York coach Julie Carson said. "If we had enough interest, we would form a girls' team. The more students involved, the better."
Carson said bowling offers a chance for students to make a school sport connection. She estimated that 70 to 75% of high school bowlers don't play another sport.
"I hope the opportunities for girls in YAIAA bowling continue to increase," she said.
At this point, the two York-Adams League girls' bowling teams only have two league matches against each other. They fill their schedules with non-league exhibition matches and tournaments.
"My ultimate goal is for every school in our league to have a boys' and a girls' team," Baker said. "That would give students the most opportunities."
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Here are the York-Adams League bowling standings as of Dec. 26:
Spring Grove 3-0
Central York 3-1
York Tech 1-1
Red Lion 0-2
New Oxford 0-3