Balance key for Bulldogs bowlers
By Steve Millar Correspondent February 19, 2014 9:26AM
Jessica Kimbrough, of Richards, is greeted by her teammates after bowling a strike for the Sandburg Regional Girls Bowling Championship at Orland Bowl, Saturday, February 8th, 2014, in Orland Park. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
For Richards High School’s girls bowling team, it’s all about teamwork.
Depth has been a key for the Bulldogs all year, leading to a strong season.
“We definitely feel like we have a lot of bowlers we can count on,” Richards coach Lindsey Gierman said. “We don’t just rely on one or two girls.
We know the whole team is capable of putting up good scores.”
The Bulldogs placed four bowlers in the top 17 at the Sandburg Regional at Orland Bowl in Orland Park earlier this month, leading to a second-place finish and a trip to sectionals, which were scheduled for Feb. 15.
The state finals are Feb. 21 and 22 at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, and the Bulldogs were hoping to qualify with a strong showing at their sectional.
Junior Jessica Kimbrough led the way in the regional with a sixth-place finish, knocking down 1,192 pins over six games for a 199 average. She topped out with a 234 in the fourth game.
Then came a trio of bowlers who nearly matched each others’ scores all day. Sophomore Natalie Fadden was 14th with 1,084 pins, senior Sara McNeilly tied for 15th with 1,083, and Jordan Battles was 17th with 1,079.
The Bulldogs finished with 5,629 pins, behind only Lockport in the 11-team field.
With the strong performance, the team continued its late-season surge.
Richards captured the South Suburban Red title a week earlier.
“We’ve been bowling big recently,” Gierman said. “The girls have all been doing a great job.”
Depth was a key at the South Suburban Red meet as well. Evergreen Park had the top two individuals, but the Bulldogs were able to edge the Mustangs out for the team title by placing four bowlers in the top 10.
Kimbrough (1,209) was third, McNeilly (1,179) fifth, Battles (1,170) seventh and Fadden (1,131) 10th.
Richards has also been bolstered by the addition of freshman Sarah Coffman.
Coffman was the South Suburban Red champion at the freshman/sophomore level, totaling 1,113 pins at that tournament.
Brought up to the varsity team for regionals, she began the day on the bench but subbed in after the first two games.
Gierman’s lineup change paid off as Coffman averaged a whopping 232 over the final four games, putting up scores of 254, 204, 226 and 244.
“We have some really talented young bowlers,” Gierman said. “We have freshmen who can really help our team out. (Coffman) was huge.”