If the word "rebuild" is part of your conversation, that doesn’t exactly point to a positive outlook.
In sports, it usually means a team is devastated by graduation and therefore, is starting from scratch.
"Rebuild" was the word Scott Krainess used for the Tallmadge girls bowling team prior to last season.
As it turned out, the Blue Devils may have been one of the best rebuilding teams in recent memory.
Despite losing eight seniors to graduation, Tallmadge was the runner-up in the Suburban League after finishing 10-1 last winter. The Blue Devils also reached Division I district play after finishing 11th at the 2018 state tournament.
The lone team to defeat Tallmadge in Suburban League play was Stow-Munroe Falls, which finished third at last season’s state competition.
"The girls did an awesome job," said Krainess, who enters his fifth season as the Blue Devils head coach and 10th overall with the team. "All of them had a great season and we saw continued improvement as the year went along."
Tallmadge won’t be rebuilding this winter. Unlike the previous season, the Blue Devils did not lose a single player to graduation.
And they still have their ace in the hole. This young lady may be considered the greatest female bowler in school history when it’s all said and done.
Leading the way for Tallmadge is senior Kirsten Moore, a two-time state qualifier who was named the Suburban League Bowler of the Year last season.
Moore finished 16th at the 2019 Division I state meet after capturing second the previous year. The gifted teenager recently signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and bowling careers at Youngstown State University.
Moore, who led the team with a 207.6-pin average last winter, and 2018 graduate Emily Kiss, who is currently bowling at Walsh University in North Canton, are the only two-time state qualifiers in state history.
"Kirsten obviously had a great season," Krainess said.
Senior Isabelle Hall had a stellar 2018-19 season for the Blue Devils, as well. She was a first-team All-Suburban League choice and was second on the team with a 180.2 average.
"Isabelle continues to get better and better," Krainess said.
Tallmadge’s other senior is Morgan Cool, who had a 123.6 average. Also returning are junior Florence Drayer, who had a 144.8 average, and sophomore Aileena Sargeant, who had a 136.2 average.
"Florence, Aileena and Morgan really stepped it up," Krainess said.
Krainess is thrilled to welcome freshmen Makayla Legg, Grace Parry and Dakota Taylor to the squad too. Thanks to assistant coaches Cindy Elliott and Rich Moore, Krainess believes all three freshmen can contribute right away.
"Our coaches do a fantastic job," Krainess said. "Cindy Elliott and Rich Moore do a great job with the girls. They have both been instrumental in their development."
The Blue Devils may have caught some people by surprise after their second-place finish in the Suburban League last winter. This time, Talllmadge won’t slip under the radar this season.
And that’s just fine with Krainess.
"I’m expecting the girls to be a force when it comes to the ultracompetitive Suburban League with the goal of bowling our best when we compete in the sectional tournament," he said.
The Blue Devils don’t plan to be too apprehensive when it comes to improving their craft. Tallmadge plans to compete in 11 conference matches and 13 tournaments this winter.
"The girls have a solid core returning, but we need to develop our newer team members," Krainess said. "The Suburban League has a very high level of competition. We have had multiple teams advance to the state tournament over the last few years so we see some of the best bowlers in Ohio on a consistent basis."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.