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Girls State Bowling: Sandburg’s Powell works hard for medal

Nicole Powell Sandburg high-fives teammates Friday during afternoround girls bowling state finals Rockford. | Dave Shields~For Sun-Times Media

Nicole Powell, of Sandburg, high-fives teammates Friday during the afternoon round of the girls bowling state finals in Rockford. | Dave Shields~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 11, 2013 6:34AM



Nicole Powell’s Sandburg career didn’t end with the state title she dreamed of since finishing second last season. Her journey to a second straight state medal sure was a heck of a ride, though.

After finishing Friday’s opening two rounds in 30th place, Powell worked her way up to 21st after Saturday’s morning session then, boosted by a 267 that included strikes in the first nine frames in the penultimate game, improved to an eighth-place finish at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford.

Powell bowled a 199 in the finale and was unsure if it would be enough to remain in the top 12 and earn a medal. When she found out it was, she jumped for joy.

“I had a rough day (Friday),” she said. “I wasn’t getting any carry. I made a lot of spares, but (Saturday) was all about striking. To move up 22 spots in one day and get a medal, I’m happy.”

Powell finished with 2,580 pins over 12 games (215 average), 147 behind champion Giselle Poss, of Oswego East.

In the 267 game, Powell took a perfect game into the 10th before leaving the seven pin on her first shot of the final frame.

Powell will continue her bowling career at Vanderbilt University.

“My freshman year, I averaged 190,” she said. “Now I’m at 220. My overall outlook at bowling and life has improved so much. I’ve closed one chapter and I’m ready for another to begin.”

Lockport, which began the day tied for the lead with Rockford Jefferson, slid to fourth place.

A 908 in the final game of the morning session put the Porters in a hole they could not dig out of and they finished 64 pins behind Jefferson for the third and final trophy.

Lockport totaled 12,126, 386 pins behind champion Waubonsie Valley.

“My feeling walking out of here is we bowled really good today but we needed to be great,” Lockport coach Art Cwudzinski said. “This is the most talented team we’ve ever had here and I hope the girls can leave with their heads high.”

Megan Szczepanski (13th, 2,520) and Ashley Hostert (15th, 2,508) led Lockport. Bri Zabierek (23rd, 2,483), Allyson Ware (46th, 2,371) and Nicole Troha (2,244) also contributed.

“Finally making it to state my senior year was like a dream becoming reality,” Szczepanski said. “Right now, it’s frustrating to be one spot shy of a medal as a team and as an individual but I’m sure I’ll be able to look back in a week and be proud.”

Lemont’s Kyra Udziela (2,474) was 28th.

Morgan Flaherty (2,425), of Lincoln-Way West, the 2012 state champion, was 33rd.

Oak Lawn’s Shannon McGuire (2,411) finished 37th.



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