Lockport celebrates super bowling championship
By Susan Demar Lafferty email@example.com February 3, 2013 7:54PM
Updated: February 3, 2013 10:09PM
Super was the word of the day Sunday.
As Super Bowl parties celebrated a day of championship football, Lockport Township High School celebrated with its own team of Super Bowlers — its state championship boys bowling team.
Teammates, parents and fans paraded from Richland School in Crest Hill to the high school, where they partied with cake, posed for pictures and passed out championship T-shirts and sunglasses.
“It’s a super Sunday, a super team, and we recognize their super effort,” Lockport Township High School District 205 Supt. Todd Wernet said.
The state title was a first for the boys bowling team — the girls team won in 2009, when the boys took second. It was also the first time the school claimed an individual state champion — Shane Matejcak — along with the state title, athletic director Brian Goff said.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment. Many teams have built a reputation here, but their legacy will continue for years to come. Maybe we’ll be back here next week,” Wernet said, referring to the girls’ chance to win another state title this weekend.
“The program is getting better and better all the time,” coach Jeff Wyatt said. “It was the best team I ever had in my 11 seasons.”
He urged the younger students who will be stepping up to fill the void left by these eight seniors to “keep up the hard work.”
As assistant coach Roger McDaniel high-fived all the guys and led them in a rousing version of “We are the Porters, the mighty, mighty Porters ..., ” parents snapped photos.
“This is the best. It’s just the best. It’s something they will never forget. And it’s so great that they are making a big deal of it,” Kim Davis, mother of senior Matt Davis, said. “They are the greatest kids. They are a team. No one tries to outshine the other.”
Matt Davis likely spoke for most of the team and fans when he said the highlight of the season was coming from 12th place and making up 300 pins to win the title.
For LuAnn Matejcak, it was an “overwhelming” experience to have the team championship and her son Shane be the individual champ.
“They qualified as a team. They won as a team. It’s hard to win as an individual if your team is not there,” she said.
Four of the eight seniors have been bowling together since they attended Homer Junior High School, she said. Shane has bowled since he was three years old, she said, recalling how his grandmother would set up pop cans for him and he would “roll whatever he could find.”
For Shane, the team trophy was more important.
“We worked so hard all season. It could not happen to a better group of seniors,” he said.
“It’s just amazing. I could not be prouder of all of them,” Jill Kamba, mother of senior bowler Jonny Kamba, said. “They play well together. They support each other. They did an awesome job.”
The state tournament and the celebration drew members of the girls bowling team, fans and parents whose children have since graduated.
Cathy Humphrey, whose two children graduated in 2004 and 2005, went to the state meet on Saturday after having surgery on Friday.
“Once you’re a Porter and a bowler, it’s in your blood,” she said.
Celeste Walker has watched Lockport Township High School’s bowling program develop. As owner of Strike ‘n’ Spare II in Lockport, she has hosted many meets and knows the high school bowlers personally. She even posed for a picture with the boys and their trophy.
“It’s not a simple sport,” Walker said. “These boys work hard at throwing at the 10 pin just as much as basketball players practice free throws. They get it down to a science.”
“I’m so proud of them. They really worked together and worked hard.”
Walker said her husband started the Lockport girls bowling team in the 1980s and worked hard to get bowling to be a recognized sport. The boys program followed, she said.
Walker said she now hopes the Lockport girls bowling team will follow the boys as state champs.