From left to right: Coach Tony Calo, Sierra Calo, Elli Coleman, Kendal Reighard, Malayna Calo and Ally Ford.

The Bell Creek Academy Girls Bowling Team had no less than a historic season. The girls took home the district championship for the third year in a row, and then went on to the Florida High School Athletic Association state championships, where the team finished second overall, and team member Sierra Calo won the state individual championship.

The team consists of Sierra Calo (12th grade), Elli Coleman (12th grade), Ally Ford (12th grade), Malayna Calo (eighth grade), and Kendall Reighard (sixth grade).

Coach Anthony Calo can attest to the hard work they each put forth to achieve: “All of the girls attend practice regularly three days per week, plus participate in one or more leagues per week, plus have their own practice time or private coaching.”

The girls stepped up in the weeks leading up to the competition, for which Anthony focused on spares, even going so far as to implement ‘team’ penalties when an individual did not get their spare. This recreated a pressure situation to prepare them for what they would face during competition, but in Anthony’s eyes, it also emphasized that winning or losing would happen as a team.

Fast-forward to the present, and he could not be prouder: “The Bell Creek Academy Girls team really made a name for themselves at state championships. I could see them getting better and better as the season went on, but for them to come together at state championships and make it all the way to the finals was amazing. The combination of talent, teamwork and friendship really showed the entire two days. Each one of them seemed to know that they could count on the other to pick them up if they started to struggle. As a coach, it is hard to get that kind of chemistry when the pressure of competition is so intense. This was the best team I ever coached.”

Anthony highlighted the fact that Kendall, their sixth-grader, handled herself and performed amazing. She threw a 196, her highest game ever, when they needed it most.

His daughter, Sierra, is now a three-time district champion and a state champion. She averages around 215 per game.

“As Sierra’s father and high school coach, I know how much she wanted to win a state championship and how hard she has worked over the years. She had her district championships, but she really wanted to win a state championship. I was very impressed with her composure after losing the first game of the championship match only to come back with a 243 and a 246 to win. The competition was incredibly tough, and she earned her victory every step of the way.”

After high school, Sierra is going to an NCAA Division I college, and Coleman is about to decide which college she’s going to bowl with. Sierra actually got into bowling because she and Coleman were friends, and now they are both going to be able to continue the sport they love in college.

Four years ago, Bell Creek Academy started out with a coed bowling team because there weren’t enough girls for a separate team. Now, they are the winningest team at the school and are so thankful for the support Bell Creek Academy provides.

Bell Creek Academy is located at 13221 Boyette Rd. in Riverview.

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