By Mark Jurgena
COLLINSVILLE — It was a big week for the Collinsville girls bowling team.
They started the week by winning the conference tournament and ended it with another regional title.
“We’re far from done,” said CHS coach Sean Hay. “They are in a good headspace. I was pretty happy with the regional we were in because it’s the most challenging around here for sure. The top four teams from our regional are the top four ranked in the area.”
The Kahoks won the Belleville East Regional at Bel-Air Bowl with a pinfall total of 5,933 to outdistance second place O’Fallon who finished the day with a six-game total of 5,524.
Mascoutah was third with the host school claiming the final qualifying spot for the sectional by five pins over Columba.
Every Kahok bowler finished in the top 12. All five of them were within 100 pins of each other.
Collinsville’s Laila Jaoko and Kellen Stephens finished second and third at the regional.
Jaoko, a sophomore, put up a pinfall total of 1,233 while Stephens rolled a 1,233.
“Laila was able to get things corrected for the back half and then she really poured it on,” said Hay. “Those two girls were fun to watch. Kellen was on her spare game like no other.”
Caici Buckman took fifth place with a total of 1,088.
“She was in the running for the top four,” said Hay. “She was really throwing the ball excellent. She made great ball transitions.”
Taylor Mordis finished with a total of 1,140.
“Taylor, her whole demeanor was different than i’d seen in her entire career,” Hay said. “She’s a very humble person and very reserved and she’s been that person forever. She let a little emotion out which was really neat to see. You could see the other girls responding to it too. It was fantastic.”
Livia Montgomery finished with a total of 1,137.
“Livie struggled a little bit, but when she struggles she averages a 190,” said Hay. “Things happen, you have your good days and your bad days. As we started talking with what she was throwing and where she was putting the ball I think she was getting into it and understanding.”
Collinsville won yet another conference title after winning the final two days of the four-day meet.
“Earning the conference championship was obviously one of our team goals when this season started,” began Hay. “To accomplish this even with an early loss is honestly a really great achievement as this championship requires long-term dedication both before and during the season. Every athlete on this team faced tough matches and struggles and came out on top despite those. They all took turns being the hero and it took a team effort to win.”
On the final day of the tournament at Bel-Air Bowl Stephens had a 228 and a 233. Montgomery had a high game of 225 while Mordis rolled a high of 236.
For the record
The regional championship was the eighth for the Kahoks in school history. It was also the 13th conference title since Hay came to Collinsville in 2000-01.
The girls will compete at Carterville’s SI Bowl on Saturday in the sectional tournament.