by Ken Brown
CRAFTSBURY – First year athletic director Connor Bean will put his high school and college bowling background to the test this winter as Craftsbury Academy (CA) introduces the sport as a varsity program, joining 11 other high schools in the state of Vermont.
Bean bowled at a high level at Oxbow before going on to do the same at Union College in Kentucky, graduating with a degree in Sports and Recreation Management in 2020. He served as the assistant director of High School Bowling for the Vermont Principals Association (VPA) the past year and is now the co-director, stewarding the exhibition sport towards varsity status.
“It’s very exciting to bring bowling to the varsity level at 12 high schools around the state and for Craftsbury to be one of them,” said Bean. “Unfortunately we don’t have girls’ basketball this winter so we hoped to offer our student athletes another opportunity to compete. We hoped to get eight to 10 kids to start, but the interest has been amazing with 20 currently in the program. We also have some students from North Country and Lake Region coming down and anyone from other schools who are interested are certainly welcome to join us,” added Bean.
The 12 teams around the state will compete in one division, with team and individual championships to follow the regular season. Twinfield-Cabot will also field a bowling team this season, reintroducing the sport after a long layoff from its varsity program. All 12 programs will open the season in Rutland at the Kickoff Classic on December 12. The regular season will then consist of nine matches between various schools, where individual bowlers will accumulate ranking points, with the top 32 qualifying for the Individual State Tournament on February 25 in Rutland. The team state championship will follow on March 4 at Twin City Lanes. The season will wrap up with the Senior Classic against the top bowlers from New Hampshire on March 11 in Claremont, N.H. Bean hopes to make the sport a mainstay in the Charger athletic program, as well as bring back girls’ basketball in the near future. He believes that middle school and high school athletics not only gives students a chance to compete, but also develop relationships.
“Basketball is a traditional sport and important to the student athletes and the community. We’ll continue to work at developing at the youth level and sparking interest so we have the numbers at the varsity level. In the meantime, three of our girls will be trying out for the varsity team at Hazen. Bowling is nontraditional in comparison, but it is going to give kids who would never play basketball a chance to experience the pride in varsity competition and form comradery and relationships that they never would have had the opportunity to have. I’m excited for the season and the growth in the sport across the state,” said Bean.