Rusnack is boys bowler of the year
Updated: March 23, 2011 3:52PM
Statistically speaking Clark junior Jeremy Rusnack had about as good of a season as any high school bowler could hope for. He rolled his first career 300, had 16 games above 200 in WestLake Conference play and posted an average of 217.71.
But Rusnack, the 2011 Post-Tribune Boys Bowler of the Year, also set himself apart in the area of leadership by improving his spare game, executing in clutch moments and providing moral support for his team which almost qualified for semistate.
"His scores are a by-product of the program," Clark head coach Stan Zatorski said. "But he's the ultimate team player all the way through. He's never complained. For Jeremy it was more than bowling. It's the way he bowled.
"His attitude and work ethic was exceptional. I've had the chance to coach several great bowlers over the years and his work ethic is unbelievable. He's great to coach. He's a player who loves the game so much. He deserves everything he earned."
Rusnack especially earned the admiration of his teammates in the 10th frame of the sectional meet. He had to strike out for Clark to win and he did, leading the Pioneers to a 20-pin victory. When Rusnack qualified for an individual at semistate, he rolled a 590 - despite that fact that almost every shot was in the pocket.
"The 590 that Jeremy bowled at semistate was the best I've ever seen," Zatorski said. "He was dead in the pocket for all but one shot. What can you say? The kid's accuracy is uncanny."
Yet, like with any emerging talent, the road has been a progressive one for Rusnack. He entered the season admitting that he needed to improve his spare game. By season's end, he felt that he had definitely accomplished that goal.
"I'd say my spare shooting was a five on a scale of 1 to 10 at the beginning of the season," he said. "I would say I'm at about a seven or eight now. Coach (Zatorski) stresses spare shooting, and I would definitely say that is the most improved part of my game."
When it comes to spares, Zatorski's philosophy is simple.
"Strikes win games, but spares win championships," Zatorski said. "And for Jeremy that was a key. That's been his game. The 590, he had three opens: two splits and he missed one 10-pin. That 590 could have been a 700 with a few carries."
Rusnack also said he's learning to modify his way of playing the lanes, obviously depending on the type of oil condition and how it breaks down in the midst of a tournament.
"I'm learning to play up the lanes instead of crossing my shot," Rusnack said. "Sometimes I needed to cross boards when the oil dried up fast - like at regionals. But there are times where you have to keep things simple."
Zatorski said that Rusnack's growth in that area of his game is a definite work in progress.
"Jeremy sometimes throws the ball 8 to 18 (boards)," Zatorski said. "I'd rather him swing the ball three boards. But he also throws his shots so consistent, and he definitely knows when to make the necessary moves. He's one of the best, if not the best, at reading the lanes."
And when it comes to moral support, Zatorski said Rusnack is always there for his teammates and always positive.
"When one of the teammates throws an open, he's never down on that kid," Zatorski said. "He's always supportive: That's true leadership because he leads by example. It's like having a third coach. He helps us all out. He's by far the best team leader I've ever coached.
"Of course he still has a lot he still has to learn, but he has already shared so much with so many. That's what I really like about Jeremy. There's not a selfish bone in his body. It's exciting to see the whole team come along as well as Jeremy."
Rusnack said he's takes on a different mode when he's bowling singles.
"I'm more to myself when I bowl singles," Rusnack said. "But I'm always trying to get the team going. I cheer them on to make their shots."
Zatorski sees only bright days ahead for Rusnack for his senior year and whatever he endeavors to do in college and beyond.
"I think he peaked at the right time, and a lot of credit has to be given to my assistant coach Tom Legg (Jeremy's uncle) who has worked with Jeremy over the past seven years," Zatorski said. "Jeremy's the real deal, and his potential is unlimited as long as he stays positive."