Working at the bowling alley, watching bowling on television and going to bowlingtournaments to soak up the sights, JessicaHowell is dedicated.|
The enthusiasm all startedwith a strong supporting cast for Howell, this week's Metro Metro Pacesetter for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, to reach her level. The Moline sophomore bowlerfound guidance in her family.
In particular, her late grandmother.
"My grandma Judy (Robuck) was my support and she would have loved to see me now," Howell said. "She was a bowler and she was the one who bought me my first ball. She was a big supporter."
Howell's grandmother wasn't the only onewho has supported the sophomore up to this point.
"My parents are big supporters of me," Howell said. "They push me and encourage me to do well. They're at every meet and they never miss any of them. It's the support of those three people that have gotten me to where I am."
Last season, Howell's average was in the 170s. After all of the hard work this season, she is sitting around the 210 mark. Howell's improvements haven't went unnoticed this season. Moline coach Matt Woods sees theimprovements in all aspects of her game.
"Mentally she has improved," Woods said. "She was catching some bad breaks, so she has been working on picking up her spares, which is great. She's working very hard and the team has helped her mentally.
"She's a major contributor and she holds the highest average on the team," Woods added. "She's always there cheering on the team. She keeps on improving. She's the hammer of the group. We have her bowling last, because right now she's the most consistent."
After her 79th-place finish at the state meet last season, Howell spent a lot of her time at the bowling alley over the summer tuning her game.
"I've been practicing a lot," Howell said. "Anything that I could do to really learn, I tried to better myself. I bowled eight to 10 gamesa week in the summer, trying to learn different oil patterns. I'm really happy with improvements I've made. I've worked really hard to be where I am today."
Last weekend at the Galesburg Invitational, she had thehigh-single game, knocking out 268 pins.
"I kept working at it and working at it," Howell said. "I keptpicking up my spares. I finally found my shot in the sixth game and I rolled it off. You have to be patient and with ourteamwork, we pulled offtheteam win on varsity and JV. It felt great to win."
Working hard is one thing, but Howell is a leader for the Maroons bowling squad.Outside ofpracticing, she does all she can to make everyone around her better.
"We have a very strong team," Howell said. "We all push each other andwe're very competitive about bowling because we all want to be successful. We kind of push each other because we want to be better bowlers. I push my teammates to work hard and they push me back to work harder. We're a great team and we come together."
Still justa sophomore, Howell is bowling ata high level. She's looking forward to the postseason and her future.
And as far as bowling goes, she sees better things ahead.
"We're feeling very strongfor Western Big 6 as a team," Howell said. "We want to place as a team in the sectionalso we can go to state as a team. I love bowling so much and I will doeverything for it. I always want toimprove my game to guarantee me for college."
Metro Pacesetter -- Moline's Jessica Howell
Favorite food: Pretzels
Favorite movie: "Rudy"
Favorite class subject: Math
Favorite music: Fun
Parents: Rodney and Rebecca Howell, Coal Valley
In the running
Adarios Jones, Moline: Repeated as the 285-pound champion at the Geneseo Invitational.
Michael Cole, Rock Island: Won the 170-pound title at the Mahomet-Seymour Invitational.
Jen VanWatermeulen, United Township: Tallied 16 points and six steals in the Panthers' 56-39 Western Big 6 Conference win over Quincy.
Milan, IL Details
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