(Council Bluffs) -- A dream season with a heartbreaking finish is an unfortunate way to describe the St. Albert bowling season.
However, KMA Sports is here to honor the dream part of the year for the Falcons and Saintes with our inaugural KMAland Bowling Coach of the Year Award going to St. Albert’s Mike Klusman.
“It started last year,” Coach Klusman said. “They wanted to make it to state. We missed going to state by five pins last year, and we started this season with the same goals in mind. Just to get better. With each and every week, the kids bought in and worked really hard to improve every week.”
The Falcons did just that throughout the season, relying on a lineup that was as deep as it was talented. Freshman Evan White – a “phenom” according to Coach Klusman – led the charge, but he was joined by a group that had four others post a high series of at least 437.
From sophomores Adam Denny and Jackson Wigington to junior Nate Kay to senior Jake Denny – and on down through the junior varsity group – the Falcons displayed outstanding balance all season.
In fact, their high team score of the year came when a pair of junior varsity players stepped into the lineup against Tri-Center.
“Wanted to get some experience and some depth,” Klusman said. “Hayden Piskorski and Cole Pekney came in, and we shot a St. Albert team-high. That was like, ‘Holy cow. We’ve got something special here.’ They just work so hard and kept buying in.”
While St. Albert cruised through the regular season without a loss – winning the Council Bluffs City Tournament in the process – the finish was not quite what they expected. The Falcons took second behind Denison-Schleswig at the Hawkeye Ten Tournament before narrowly missing state following a 3025 score at districts.
“We had one loss in the Hawkeye Ten, and that was in the tournament,” Klusman said. “That’s kind of hard to swallow. The Hawkeye Ten comes down to one day and your whole season comes down to one day, and that’s just how it is. Clarinda bowled phenomenal (at districts).
“We can’t hang our heads on that. We wish it didn’t end that way. We were hoping to be the at-large qualifier, but we found out the next day we didn’t make it. We’ll take the positives out of it, and we’ll get ready for next year.”
In addition to the success on the boy’s side, Klusman led the girls to a 14-win improvement and a fourth place finish in the Hawkeye Ten Tournament.
Listen to the complete interview with Coach Klusman linked below.