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Westside coach inspired by Unified Bowling team

January 31, 2023


The Westside Unified Bowling team is all about uniting kids of all abilities. Melissa Lingerfelt is in her second year as a coach of the Unified Bowling team.

Lingerfelt joined the bowling league when she started teaching special education at Westside High School. When the Unified Bowling coaching spot became available Lingerfelt volunteered right away. Once she heard about unified and its mission, she was sold.

 “I was inspired by what we get to do through unified activities.” Lingerfelt said. 

Last year was Lingerfelt’s first year coaching the team. Her favorite part was when the team went to the District meet. Before the competition Westside athletic director Tom Kerkman joked to Lingerfelt that she could keep her coaching position if they did not finish last. They finished second out of five teams. They didn’t get last place this year as well and finished fourth.

There are many positives about coaching unified sports. The simple principle of training together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

“The best part of coaching is watching my team become friends and support each other,” Lingerfelt said. 

Lingerfelt actually never planned to become a coach. But after seeing the students come together as a team, she was thrilled to be their coach.

“I am not very athletic so I never thought I’d be a coach during my teaching career, I surprised myself,” Lingerfelt said. 

The Unified Bowling season starts in October and runs through early December. Coach Lingerfelt plans to be back again next season.

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