Girls Bowling: Waubonsie Valley breaks through at Strikefest
Updated: December 10, 2011 9:31PM
Waubonsie Valley’s girls bowling team had never even come close to winning the prestigious Strikefest Invitational, which is considered to be the toughest tournament in the state.
But the Warriors captured the 19th annual version of the 44-team event Saturday at Town and Country Lanes in Joliet, overcoming difficult lane conditions to post a 5,373 pinfall. Lockport was second with 5,218 and Oswego third with 5,156.
Sophomores Julia Bond and Rachael Felton led the way for Waubonsie, which placed four bowlers among the top 27 in the 164-girl field.
“We’ve had a really good start actually so we didn’t really come in here saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to win this,’ but we had the mentality that we were going to try our best,” Bond said. “When we started we were bowling pretty well so as the games went on we were like, ‘We have a chance.’ By the time we got to the second half we were all rooting for each other.”
While some bowlers had competed with the tough oil patterns before, Bond had not. Despite that, she rolled a six-game series of 1,171 to finish second, 107 pins behind senior Sammi Hagerman of reigning state champion Harlem. Hagerman was sixth at last year’s state finals.
“I’m pretty happy about it because I had a terrible start this morning,” said Bond, who after opening with a 219 rolled games of 156 and 154. “So coming back and winning second actually makes me feel pretty good about myself.”
Felton rolled a 605 series in the morning and wound up sixth with 1,128. Junior Marianna Guerrieri was 18th with 1,075 and senior Kaylene Felton – Rachael’s sister – placed 27th with 1,054.
“This is probably the toughest shot I’ve ever had,” Rachael Felton said. “We’re lucky enough to have a great coach who knows what he’s doing. He was able to line us up based on what everyone’s ball was doing and we would watch each other to see how their ball would react. That’s how we would line ourselves up.”
Waubonsie Valley coach Martin Miller, who bowled on the PBA Tour in the 1980s, was thrilled with his team’s victory.
“We worked really hard in practice and I’m so proud of them,” Miller said. “This was not easy. They stayed tough. I kept telling them the same thing – winners want the ball when the game is on the line.”
Waubonsie Valley must now be considered one of the top teams in the state and the championship was particularly noteworthy because it came at the same house where the Plainfield South Sectional, which will include the Warriors, Lockport, Oswego and Oswego East, which was eighth Saturday, will be held in February.
“We’re really happy with how our season has been going,” Rachael Felton said. “We came into this with high expectations for sectionals and our goal has always been to go down to state. A lot of these teams are in our sectional, so we’re really excited that we were able to pull this one out.”
Senior Lauren Troha paced Lockport by taking seventh with 1,115, while juniors Bri Zabierek (1,079) and Megan Szczepanski (1,067) were 15th and 21st, respectively.
“We made some good adjustments today and I was happy with our adjustments,” Lockport coach Art Cwudzinski said. “That’s the most difficult thing. We bowled in three tournaments in a row last year with this shot, so they kind of knew a little bit more this year what they were walking into. Last year we were eighth and this year we’re second. We’re getting better every week.”
Joliet West sophomore Julianne Kowalski was fourth (1,147) and Oswego senior Courtney Petoskey took fifth (1,142). Rounding out the top 10 were Minooka senior Courtney Johnston in eighth (1,108), Oswego sophomore Cheyanne Valdez in ninth (1,107) and Plainfield North junior Lauren Streba in 10th (1,105).