Bowling with the boys

Austin bowler Lauren Schabert stands out amongst the Austin bowling team not only because of her skill but the fact that she is the team's only girl bowler as well. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

When Austin senior Lauren Schabert hits the lanes for the Packer bowling team, she’s not always the only girl out there.

But she’s definitely one of the few.

Still Schabert, who has bowled for Austin for five years, is unfazed. In fact, she doesn’t mind going head-to-head with the opposite sex.

“It’s more competitive, so I like it,” Schabert said. “It’s coming easier to me this year.”

Schabert is one of the top bowlers for Austin, which won the Southeast Conference this year. But it wasn’t always so easy for her to blend in with her teammates.

Having no brothers in her family, Schabert was a little shell shocked when she first started playing with the Packers, who have no other girls on the team.

Eventually she learned how to hold her own.

“Keeping the guys in line is the hardest part,” she said. “They’ve got dirty jokes, but I keep up with them. I was pretty quiet at first, but those guys changed that.”

Austin bowling coach Jim Juenger said that Schabert, who has started for the past two seasons, is a key player in the Packers’ success.

“Lauren is a big piece of the team and she’s one of the guys,” he said. “The boys watch over her, but they don’t cut her any slack either. She fits in well and in her own way she kind of tames them down a little bit once in awhile.”

Juenger said that the Packers have always had at least one girl on the bowling team and they once had as many as four girls on the roster, but most of the bowlers have been boys as of late. There are three other girls who bowl in Austin’s league.

Schabert, who also bowls in a girls league in Albert Lea, said she’s learned to embrace bowling as a fun sport that fills her competitive drive.

“It’s a really social sport,” she said. “It’s competitive and relaxed at the same time.

The Packers will play in the Southeast tournament in Red Wing Dec. 3 where they will qualify for the state tournament if they take first. If they don’t win that tournament, they’ll get an opportunity to play in a qualifier tournament to get a second chance at making to state.

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