Steven Grant, of Richards, celebrates a strike during the South Suburban Red Conference meet Jan. 11 at El-Mar Bowl in Bridgeview. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Second place was just fine for Steven Grant.
A junior bowler at Richards, Grant led the Bulldogs to the South Suburban Red title on Jan. 11 but finished just nine pins behind Argo’s Michael Arlos for the individual championship.
For Grant, the team title was all that mattered.
“You can’t win every single time,” he said. “I’m just happy I placed. I’ve been in the top 10 in all the tournaments I’ve bowled in this season. It’s been a good year. I’m happy to see our team do so well.”
Indeed, it’s been a strong season for Grant, who totaled 1,350 pins over six games at the Red meet at El-Mar Bowl in Bridgeview, helping Richards capture the title with a total of 6,177 pins to Oak Lawn’s 5,931.
In addition to that day’s accomplishment, Grant finished sixth at the Oak Lawn Invitational, tossed a 255 game and 493 two-game series in a dual win against T.F. North, had a 236 game and 471 two-game series in a dual victory over Oak Lawn, and finished with a 465 two-game series in a dual win over T.F. South.
“I just try not to put too much pressure on myself and have fun bowling,” Grant said. “My teammates really help me out, too. We all encourage each other and cheer each other on.”
Grant and the Bulldogs are on a mission. After finishing ninth in the state in 2011-12, Richards did not qualify for state last season.
The Bulldogs want to make their return to the big stage. Regionals were scheduled for Jan. 18, and the sectionals are Jan. 25.
“This year, the kids have all really showed up,” Richards coach Kari Vanderjack said. “They’ve bowled well all year. Going into (the conference meet), they were all worried about bowling at (El-Mar Bowl). They came out and did great. I think they even surprised themselves.”
Right behind Grant at the conference meet was senior Tyler Hancock, who finished third with 1,319 pins.
Other team members include seniors Akia Lewis, Mike Lively, Louis Simik and Justin Woods and junior Mike Pierce.
“It’s been great to have such a good team my senior year,” Hancock said. “Winning conference as a senior is huge.”