Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MHS Bowlers Start Strong This Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MHS Bowlers Start Strong This Season

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Boleky

Mandarin High is no stranger to regular playoff victories and state tournaments, from cross country to softball. It's a competitive atmosphere that promotes success. And the reigning power of the fall season at Mandarin High? Try bowling.

The girls bowling team is coming off a second-place finish at the Florida High School Athletic Association Championships last fall and is hot again in this early season. Through Tuesday, the Mustangs had accumulated 23 of a possible 35 points in their five matches.

Cindy Jaxon has taken over for the retired Mark Stephens as head coach, and admits that with this group, micromanaging is not needed.

"The girls who come out are serious bowlers," she said. "They have their own leagues. They have their own balls. If there's something I see, I try to help. But, truthfully, they bowl better than I do."

Senior Kaitlyn Degel leads the group and has already put up a 240 game this season in an opening match against Andrew Jackson High School. She says her top career game came in 2007, a 258 effort during the regular season.

Degel was an all-district performer in the 2007 playoffs, but it was the now-graduated Stephanie St. Angelo who powered Mandarin to its runner-up state finish behind DeLand. St. Angelo rolled 762 in four games and placed 12th in the state.

Degel, a nine-year veteran in the lanes, said her team holds an advantage because all the girls belong to a Saturday morning youth league at Bowl America on San Jose Boulevard. That extra practice has paid off for the Mustangs, giving them victories in the lanes, and some props from their classmates.

"The students react a lot different than I thought they would," Degel said. "They'll announce something we did [at school] and we'll have kids come up in the hall and say, 'Good job.' I thought that bowling would go unnoticed. …

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