Boys Bowling: Andrew looking to repeat state championship feat
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media January 23, 2013 8:26PM
Oak Lawn's Ken VandeWerken. | Supplied photo
WHEN: Friday and Saturday
WHERE: St. Clair Bowl, O’Fallon
SOUTHLAND TEAM QUALIFIERS
Andrew: Mike Dertz (Jr.), Justin Finnen (Sr.), Nick Ghilardi (Jr.), Nick Guziak (Soph.), Brad Kawulia (Jr.), Kyle Krol (Sr.), Pat Mahoney (Soph.), Joe Rymsza (Soph.). Coach: Mark Lobes.
Lockport: Matt Davis (Sr.), Brian Hodolitiz (Sr.), Jonny Kamba (Sr.), Patrick Karli (Sr.), Shane Matejcek (Sr.), Larry Novak (Sr.), Alex Wilmsen (Sr.), David Wysocki (Sr.). Coach: Jeff Wyatt.
Mount Carmel: Jordan Elder (Jr.), Ryan Hernandez (Sr.), Ajani Marsh (Sr.), Mike Stepanovic (Jr.), Christian Whitaker (Jr.), Richard Ybarra (Sr.), Lorenzo Zamora (Jr.). Coach: Steve Gorches.
Oak Lawn: Cody Bulow (Soph.), Ryan Campin (Sr.), Cody Hanson (Sr.), Joe Kamenske (Soph.), Ryan Kirby (Soph.), Kyle Rodda (Sr.), Matt VanderGriend (Jr.), Ken VandeWerken (Sr.). Coach: Kevin McKeown.
T.F. South: Justin Abston (Soph.), Devin Brand (Sr.), Kurt Clancy (Soph.), John Guider (Sr.), Kalin James (Soph.), Byron Leach (Sr.), Anthony Pena (Sr.), Taveon Roberson (Jr.). Coach: Eric Valiska.
SOUTHLAND INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS
Argo: Gerald Regep (Jr.)
Lincoln-Way East: Brandon Nathan (Sr.)
Lincoln-Way West: Josh Glover (Jr.)
Marist: Pete Switalski (Sr.)
Sandburg: Tyler Knight (Sr.)
St. Rita: Tevin Kimble (Jr.)
Tinley Park: Jeff Nichols (Sr.)
Updated: February 25, 2013 12:38PM
For three straight years at the Boys State Bowling Tournament, at least one piece of championship hardware has returned to the Southland.
The area has produced the individual champion three straight seasons, with Sandburg’s Joey Kopera taking the crown last winter after Lockport’s Kyle Anderson won back-to-back titles.
Andrew added to the local haul by capturing the team title a year ago.
Five Southland teams and seven individuals are headed to St. Clair Bowl in downstate O’Fallon for this year’s meet, which begins Friday morning and concludes Saturday, intent on continuing the trophy run.
The contenders are led by Andrew, which is primed to make a strong run at winning back-to-back titles for the second time in program history.
Andrew took consecutive crowns in 2005 and ’06, the only time in the tournament’s 10-year history a school has gone back to back.
“Our kids know the lanes (at St. Clair Bowl) like the back of their hands,” Andrew coach Mark Lobes said. “We have a lot of experience at state that a lot of other teams don’t have and that’s what’s going to help us. The biggest keys are to make spares, be consistent and have good teamwork.”
Seniors Justin Finnen and Kyle Krol have the most state experience, having bowled in all 12 games at state in 2012. Junior Nick Ghilardi led the Thunderbolts at Saturday’s Sandburg Sectional, finishing second with 1,348 pins over six games.
Juniors Mike Dertz and Brad Kawulia also will be heavily counted on by Andrew, which had the third-highest sectional score in the state with 6,397.
“We’ve been there and we know what the atmosphere is like,” Ghilardi said. “(Finnen and Krol) have bowled a lot in that atmosphere and under that pressure. It should help a lot.”
While Andrew is a perennial contender, Mount Carmel will be making its first state appearance since 2003, and coach Steve Gorches said this one feels more legit.
“In 2003, we only made it because another team got disqualified,” he said. “This time we earned it. It’s exciting. The kids stepped up; we bowled our best game in two years in the sixth game of sectionals to get here.”
Senior Ryan Hernandez, who competed at state as an individual last season, is the Caravan’s emotional leader.
“I’m hoping to pass on my experience to my teammates,” he said. “I’ll just tell them not to be overwhelmed. There’s a lot of people and a lot of good bowlers, but you have to stay calm and focused.
“It’s a so much better feeling to go as a team this year. Our main goal is to make it the second day.”
Oak Lawn, which won its own sectional behind senior Ken VandeWerken and sophomore Ryan Kirby, will be making its ninth appearance at state. VandeWerken and senior Ryan Campin will bowl at state for the third straight year.
Lockport and T.F. South take plenty of momentum into state. The Porters are coming off a win at the loaded Plainfield North Sectional, while the Rebels rallied from a 141-pin deficit in the final game to advance out of the Sandburg Sectional.
T.F. South’s Devin Brand had the top sectional score among local individuals with a 1,365.