The Collinsville girls bowling team placed fifth at last weekend’s IHSA State Bowling Tournament at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
They finished with 11,736 pins, only seven pins out of fourth place. Belleville East finished third. Lockport won the state title with 12,353 pins.
“We had some individuals step up at different times but unfortunately this has kind of been a characteristic of our team this year. To have all five firing at the same time has eluded us all year long. To win the state finals, it’s almost a requirement, you have to have your big guns firing and then you need your support players rising up to that level, ” said coach Sean Hay.
Junior Brandy Stewart and Sophomore Courtney Baer finished tied for 23rd place with 2,417 pins each. Junior Ashleigh Thilman finished just behind in 25th place.
Stewart, who was in 41st place after Friday’s competition, had a high series of 636 at the event on Saturday afternoon. She also rolled her high game during that series with a 235 on her fourth game of the day. On Friday, her high game was a 224.
“She just quietly goes about her day. At that tournament her greatest asset is her spare picking. She has the ability to throw strikes like nobody on our team. She throws a lot of big scores. She was slow and steady (at state) the whole time,” said Hay.
Baer shot her high series for the tourney Saturday morning with a 629. Her high game was a 233 in her third game on Saturday. Friday her highest total was a 224.
“Courtney has been making some physical adjustments to how she holds the ball and a little bit about how she rolls the ball toward the end of the season. She started noticing her ball speed picking up and noticed her rotation getting better and she started carrying a little bit more. Even though I think her season average was a 187, I think the back half of things she’s averaged well into the 200s,” said Hay.
Thilman totaled 2,406 pins for the event. Saturday morning saw her high series with a 637 and high game with a 229. Her highest game on Friday was a 212.
“She came back from a rough first day. Since she had bowled so well in that house previously, I think she was looking to come in and make a big splash. She just put a little too much pressure on herself. She bowled well for sure though,” Hay said.
Junior Caitlyn Ennis finished in 61st place. Friday afternoon saw her high game with a 227. Her high series was a 549 during the initial morning session.
“She was in and around the pocket the whole time, she really was,” said Hay.
Senior Mackenzie Hunter had a high series of 640 with a high game of 244, both of those occurred Friday morning. Saturday afternoon she rolled a 241.
“She bowled like a senior this weekend. She stepped up better than I’ve ever seen her throw. She finally accepted that she’s a better bowler than what she envisions herself to be. She gave herself a chance and threw better this weekend than I’ve ever seen her throw in her life. It was an absolute joy to be around. We’re going to miss her for sure,” Hay said.
Freshman Sophie Tottleben rolled two games at the tournament with a high game of 169.
“I told them at the end of it all, I didn’t care what place they finished as long as they functioned as a team and they supported each other the entire time. The truth is if you put your best effort forward you’re going to be satisfied,” said Hay.