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By Mark Jurgena
For the 21st time in school history – and the 18th time under current coach Sean Hay – the Collinsville High School girls bowling program is headed to the state final tournament.
CHS qualified by taking second place in the Belleville (East) Sectional at Bel-Air Bowl Saturday.
Mascoutah won the team title by 56 pins over the Kahoks. Carterville and Freeburg also advanced to state.
“We started off well in the morning and pretty much stayed in second place,” said Hay. “I don’t think we were ever in third and I know we never moved up to first. Mascoutah had a really good first game. Their first game compared to our first game was pretty much the difference between our totals.”
In that opening game, the Indians rolled 1058 while the Kahoks fired a 956.
While Collinsville sat near the top of the standings all day it did not mean they were without troubles especially in the final three games when the shot dried up and the lanes became tricky.
But it was the Kahoks ability to pick up spares that helped them to their top two finish.
“Yesterday was the validation of what we do,” said Hay. “As we were picking up spares on very difficult shots, we looked around left and right and saw people missing spares they would normally get. But when the lane conditions turn terrible it becomes guesswork. Our system takes the guesswork out of play. We are 100 percent committed to spare balls on both sides of the lanes.”
Picking spares helped several Kahoks to solid places in the individual standings.
Sophie Tottleben finished in sixth place with 1226 pins finishing 126 behind the sectional champion Samara Henry and her 1352 day. Lauren Hunter of Freeburg placed second only ten pins behind.
Tottleben rolled three games above 200 including 246 and 232 in her fifth and sixth games of the day.
“In the morning Sophie bowled ok, but in the afternoon she kicked it in gear,” said Hay. “She came just short of getting a medal as an individual.”
Caici Buckman was next on the list for the Kahoks with a six-game set of 1140. She fired 218 in her fourth game and 216 in her opening set. She finished in 17th place.
Livia Montgomery was next on the Kahok list with 1112 for the day. She rolled 217 twice which helped her claim 24th place.
Laila Jaoko at 951 and Emily Dahl at 911 were the next two CHS bowlers on the list. Joanne Palmes subbed in and rolled a 147 taking advantage of her opportunity.
“Joanne came in and did a great job of cleaning that game up,” said Hay about the Freshman who filled in at the last minute on the varsity due to an illness. “For being in that situation, it was crazy. I’m really grateful she came along.”
Hay indicated that the solid showing by Palmes was indicative of the whole team Saturday.
“Every time someone would have a bad game someone else would have an exceptional game and balance it out or two people would have an above average game and balance it out,” he said. “It was a pure team. It was awesome.”
Queen of Hearts Tourney
Collinsville competed in the Queen of Hearts Tournament at Poplar Junction in Highland on Feb. 8. The Kahoks came back tourney champions with a score of 3183.
CHS had the individual champion as well in Livia Montgomery. She fired a 680 series with a high game of 266 in her third game.
The Kahoks will travel up to Rockford to compete at The Cherry Bowl this Friday and Saturday in the State Finals.