Senior bowling captain sets example for team

By Kristen Welsh

To a lot of people, bowling is a fun distraction to their hectic lives, but for the captain of the men’s bowling team at the school, Neil Debski, it means so much more than that.

“It’s my biggest competition sport. It keeps me competitive,” Debski said.

That competitive drive serves the team well. Last season, the men’s bowling team was undefeated, carrying a 10 – 0 record. They have had a similar start this season with a 4 – 1 record thus far.

His fellow teammates notice Debski’s worth.

“He’s respected. He’s been a big help as far as helping the other kids to better their game,” said Dave Stern, who is the men’s bowling coach at the high school and started the bowling program at the school 21 years ago.

Even though the men’s bowling team was undefeated, West Mifflin still posed a threat to them.

“They’re a lot better this year than they were last year,” Debski said.

Debski’s fears turned out to be true, as West Mifflin caused the men’s bowling team to lose their undefeated title.

Last year, Debski won singles WPIALs. The entire team made it to states, where they placed fifth.

“We could have won it,” Debski said. He said that the format is what made them lose. The rules required that only the top two teams advance, and they were in third.

Debski’s goals for this season are to win states, in addition to winning WPIALs again. He’s going to take things “step-by-step,” Debski said.

Stern agrees with him. He said Debski has to take everything “one ball at a time.”

“He has been a big part of continued Baldwin success, starting as a freshman and continuing in his senior year,” Stern said.

Bowling is not school funded and only considered a club, so the price for all of Debski’s bowling is rather hefty. But he still thinks it is worth it.

“I get money back in scholarships too,” Debski said.

Since Debski has been so successful, he has lost track of how much money he has acquired in scholarships, but estimates it to be over $2,000. He plans to use his scholarships to get into an engineering school.

This coming year, Debski will be bowling nationals in Indianapolis to obtain a spot on Junior Team USA. He also competes in the Junior Tournament Bowling Association for top bowlers. Additionally, he is a junior gold winner in the Junior Bowling Regional Players tour tournament.

Stern said that Debski will do well in his chance to land a spot on the Junior Team USA, as long as he is “keeping his head on straight. You can’t control the past and you don’t know what will happen in the future.”

Nonetheless, his success did not come overnight.

“I’ve been bowling for 14 years,” Debski said.

Currently, Debski has bowled two perfect 300 games, and two 299 games. His average is now 224.

Debski is not alone in his success, and adds that bowling is a “good team sport”.

Debski also works at Legacy Lanes bowling alley, even spending time on the lanes getting paid instead of just bowling there.

“It gives me cheap bowling, and I get to use all the stuff in the pro shop,” Debski said.

Debski also has his own personal motto: “You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.”

With such success as a young bowler, Debski’s future appears promising for him. With his current record, it seems as if Debski and his team may have another great season ahead.