Girls Bowling: Lincoln-Way West’s Morgan Flaherty in state title talks
Updated: February 10, 2012 11:06PM
Most bowlers would be happy to start their day with a 201.
That’s what Lincoln-Way West junior Morgan Flaherty did Friday during the preliminary round of the girls bowling state finals at Cherry Bowl Lanes in Rockford. It turned out to be her lowest score of the day.
Flaherty, who was making her state finals debut, showed no sign of nerves and she steadily improved, rolling games of 247, 241, 221 and 242 before finishing with a 278, the second-highest score in the tournament.
That left Flaherty in first place with a 1,430 total (238.3 average). She leads Joliet West sophomore Julianne Kowalski by 32 pins and Leyden sophomore Reba Hall by 43.
“The lanes started to break down after the first game and then we had to make adjustments from there,” Flaherty said. “I didn’t know where I was [in the standings] today and I just bowled as good as I could.”
Flaherty is the first bowler of either gender in school history to qualify for state. Now she has a great chance to become Lincoln-Way West’s first athlete to win an individual state championship. Her performance was not a surprise to those who know her.
“Absolutely not,” Lincoln-Way West coach Scott Jablonski said. “She’s one of the best bowlers in the area. Her family has instilled in her as much bowling as possible with lessons and leagues. She has worked hard and that has paid off.
“She stayed calm and cool all day. I feel if we can keep her calm and collected there will be no problem at all [Saturday].”
Flaherty is excited, not nervous, about being the leader, but she said she’s not going to look too far ahead.
“This is a big deal and I really want to do well,” Flaherty said. “I’m having fun today and I just hope that I can do that again tomorrow. I’m not going to worry about my standing. I’m just going to stay focused and bowl the best I can.”
Chicago-area schools are well-represented in the team standings. Andrew leads with a pinfall of 6,240, while Minooka is second with 6,163 and Waubonsie Valley is third at 6,149.
Senior Ashley Stefanski led Andrew and is fifth individually at 1,365, while junior Nicole Zopf is ninth (1,336) and junior Cassie Boat is 17th (1,288).
Minooka had four bowlers top 1,200, including senior Courtney Johnston, who is 16th at 1,294. Senior Danielle Musgrave (1,254), juniors Alison Warwick (1,246) and Allyson Lakota (1,203) and sophomore Emily Koulis (1,166) also contributed for the Indians.
Waubonsie Valley was paced by junior Charley Barbary, who is sixth at 1,361, while senior Kaylene Felton shot 1,224, sophomore Rachael Felton fired a 1,215 and junior Marianna Guerrieri recorded 1,146.
The other area teams who advanced to Saturday’s final round were Leyden (sixth, 6,077) and Oswego East (seventh, 5,953). Sandburg junior Nicole Powell and Oswego East junior Giselle Potts are tied for 10th with O’Fallon’s Jordan Kasza at 1,317.